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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 21:  Protesters hold signs calling for justice for the victims of the Grenfell Disaster and shout slogans as they march towards Westminster during an anti-government protest on June 21, 2017 in London, England. A series of protests are held in the capital in response to the Queen's Speech including a "Day of Rage" organised by the Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary.  The Clement James Centre helping residents of the Grenfell disaster have emphasised that they do not want their grief hijacked for violent means.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Prayer, anger and Grenfell Tower

Following the appalling disaster of the fire at Grenfell Tower, local people planned a ‘Day of Rage‘ to protest at the injustices and cost-cutting that appears to have led to the catastrophic failure of fire regulations in the tower—and almost all others like it clad in a similar way. The immediate response from many Christians […]

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Zen stones in water

Is ‘mindfulness’ Christian?

Mindfulness is the topic of the moment. The father of one of our daughter’s friends was seriously injured in Iraq, and he has only been able to recover a sense of stability in life by means of mindfulness. (He was part of Gareth Malone’s Invictus choir at the Rio Paralympics.) Mindfulness is increasingly being seen […]

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How often did Jesus and his followers fast?

How often did Jesus and the first generation of his followers fast? Was it an occasional thing, focused on specific events or causes? Or was it something more habitual and regular, an integral part of their devotional life? As most studies of the subject point out, fasting in the Old Testament was associated either with […]

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calledtocommunion-com

Is John 17 about unity?

If I was given sixpence every time I heard someone quoted John 17.21 ‘…that they might be one…’ then I’d have a lot of change that I wouldn’t know what to do with. It is commonly suggested that, in this, Jesus’ ‘high priestly prayer’, we see his last desire expressed to his heavenly Father, and […]

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Praying Hands

So what do we do now?

We have woken up to the biggest decision in British politics for the last 40 years. Many will be gratified; many will be shocked or surprised; many will be bitterly disappointed. It has resulted immediately in the resignation of the Prime Minister; it will have repercussions across the EU, and might begin a process of […]

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Sermon on the mount by Bloch

Poetic structure in Jesus’ teaching

In doing some research on Matthew’s portrait of Jesus, I have been struck afresh by the poetic structuring of Jesus’ teaching. Noticing this raises interesting issues both about our engagement with the texts and our understanding of them, but also some questions about how the texts have come to us in their current form. A […]

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Four prayers for the New Year 2016

I am not really convinced by the idea of New Year’s resolutions. Although it is good to reflect on life, our goals and priorities, resolutions have never really worked for me and I don’t think they work for many others. (January is the biggest time for new gym subscriptions—but the gym habit doesn’t last for most […]

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Is the Lord’s Prayer offensive?

While I have been in the States for the weekend, I gather that back in the UK you’ve been experiencing a little local difficulty in relation to prayer, free speech, and the cinema. Digital Cinema Media (DCM), owned by Cineworld and Odeon and controlling about 80% of cinema advertising, decided not to screen a 60-second […]

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Liturgical year

Having the lectionary to hand

The lectionary is not a perfect way to read the Bible. Passages are sometimes edited in an odd way; the choice of coverage is at times frustrating; the way the gospels are presented is not always convincing. But it is a good deal better than not reading the Bible at all, and if you are […]

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Sermon on the mount by Bloch

The Poetry of the Lord’s Prayer

I have previously written about the poetic structure of Jesus’ teaching, drawing on examples from the Beatitudes and Jesus’ eschatological teaching at the end of Matthew. In particular, I highlighted David Wenham’s study of the Lord’s Prayer, where he identifies the careful structuring of the prayer as a poem in two parts: 6 words Opening […]

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