Tax Justice and the Spirit of the Law

Justin Thacker writes: The spirit of the law matters. It seems obvious to say that but, in doing so, I’m not referring to the third person of the Trinity, I’m referring to the unwritten, uncodified aim or purpose of our legal instruments—especially as they relate to taxation. Of course, both Jesus and Paul recognised the significance … Continue Reading

What was ordinary life like in the first century?

Bruce Longenecker is Professor of Christian Origins and W. W. Melton Chair of Religion at Baylor University, Waco, Texas. He has a long-standing interest in the cultural context of the early Christian movement, and has just published In Stone and Story, an exploration of the Roman world of the first century, and how Christian faith engaged with, … Continue Reading

Has Christmas been hijacked?

Whilst we are in the Christmas season liturgically, the main busyness of Christmas is over. Presents have been bought and given; Christmas cards and letters have been written and read; and services have been planned and executed. But in terms of Christian ministry, I have been struck this year once again by the oddness of … Continue Reading

The Beatitudes in Luke and Matthew

This Sunday’s lectionary reading is Luke 6.17–26, this gospel’s version of the Beatitudes. One of the most obvious questions arising from the reading is how they relate to the Beatitudes as recorded in Matt 5.1–12. This might seem like a distraction to preaching on the passage itself, but I think there are three reasons why … Continue Reading

What did Jesus have against goats?

The parable of the sheep and the goats in Matt 25.31–46 isn’t actually a parable (since there is no suggestion that ‘the kingdom of heaven is like this’), and isn’t really about sheep and goats (as we shall see). But it is very well known, and is most commonly interpreted as an encouragement for followers … Continue Reading

Three Christmas Surprises

Christmas is a time for celebration, for feasting and for relationships. But it is also a time for a mild engagement in iconoclasm, as we peel back the layers of accreted tradition and recover the origins of the Christmas gospel. In that spirit (and Spirit) I offer three Christmas surprises for you to unwrap at … Continue Reading

What’s wrong with Comic Relief?

We were subjected once again to the annual ritual of Comic Relief, where it is demanded that we oscillate between the emotions of laughter and grief in order to reach a fund-raising target. There seems to be more criticism of the event this year then in previous years, not for its ends but for its … Continue Reading

Why I won’t be watching the Olympics

For the next three weeks, our TV schedules are going to be dominated by ‘the greatest spectacle on earth’ that we call the Olympic Games. There is no doubt that there will be extraordinary feats of courage and endurance, and inspiring stories of individuals winning against the odds. Clergy will be on the lookout for … Continue Reading