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The Spirit and critical study (2)

In my previous post, I highlighted the dilemma we find ourselves in when there is a dissonance between our experience of hearing God speak through Scripture and our experience of engaging in more reflective study of the same texts. I characterised these two sets of experiences as follows:   Immediacy — Delay Clarity — Ambiguity Relevance […]

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The Spirit and critical study (1)

There is a widespread view that the work of the Spirit and the work of critical study of the Bible are like oil and water—they simply don’t mix. This is reinforced from both directions. People who read the Bible devotionally often look distinctly nervous when the subject of ‘academic’ study of the Bible comes up. […]

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Work, power and fruitfulness

Earlier today, I read a blog post which started by mentioning ‘one of the most powerful Christian leaders in the world.’ I don’t think I read much further. What on earth could such a comment mean? I was particularly struck by because of a conversation I had had a couple of weeks earlier. I visited […]

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'Rev gives us no hint of the rich diversity in the Church of England.'

Responding to Rev

Jeremy Fletcher thinks there should be no more blog posts about Rev—so this, I promise, will be my last (of only two!). But my reflection here is less on Rev itself, and more in reactions to it, and why they have been so polarised. This was shown starkly in comments on my Facebook post. I […]

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I’m not busy

Three times in the last week or so, I have received a communication from someone which says ‘I know you are very busy…’ and these have stuck in my mind. One of these said ‘I am sure you are very busy—I know that I am.’ A couple of things struck me immediately. The first, and […]

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The one thing missing from ‘Rev’

Having missed (though recorded) the first episode of the new series of Rev, I managed to catch the second episode last night…along with (it seems) half of the Church of England clergy. Not surprisingly, the main plot line followed Adam Smallbone’s convoluted attempts ‘not’ to marry a gay couple in his church, but simply say […]

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What are people ‘really’ doing at Christmas?

There’s been a lot of nonsense recently on the radio about what people are ‘really’ doing when they celebrate Christmas. There was a programme on Radio 4 exploring the origins of the tunes of carols. For example, the tune for Good King Wenceslas was originally a spring carol celebrating the fertility of nature. It is […]

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What the church needs now

This short essay under the title ‘The future of the Church in the UK’ won the LST/EA ‘Rising Theologian’ competition. It is written by Matt Walmsley, leader of Agape Student Life, part of Agape UK. We stand at the greatest moment of opportunity for the church since the Second World War[i]. However, recent church PR hasn’t been […]

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Nine reasons why you should fast

1. Jesus said so Jesus didn’t command fasting as a spiritual discipline as such, but he appears to assume that that is what his followers will do. In the so-called ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matt 5–7, he says ‘When you give…’ (Matt 6.2), ‘When you pray…’ (Matt 6.5) and ‘When you fast…’ (Matt 6.17). […]

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The Spirituality of John part (i)

It feels like a natural thing to be reflecting on the spirituality of St John’s gospel; after all, it has been referred to as ‘the spiritual gospel’ since the early church. Mark’s driving narrative presents us with Jesus as a man of action, making clear who he is through what he does. Matthew’s organised presentation […]

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