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How do we make sense of the Beatitudes?

The Beatitudes—the collection of sayings that introduce the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matt 5, with their parallel in Luke 6—are amongst some of the most memorable of the teachings of Jesus. They are often cited as favourite texts, and are referred to as a key element of Jesus’ (challenging and puzzling) radical social ethics. […]

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How do we make sense of (Jesus’) commandments?

A couple of days ago I read the following Tweet: Jesus only gave us two commandments, and both of them were positive. The reference is, of course, to Jesus’ reply to the ‘lawyer’ who was ‘testing’ him. The passage comes in all three Synoptic gospels, though in quite different places. Matthew 22:34-40 Mark 12:28-31 Luke […]

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Personal disclosure within preaching

How much should I share of my personal experience in the context of preaching? This is a perennial question facing anyone in ministry in the local church—and relevant to speaking on other occasions too. My first encounter with the issue arose when I was a teenager. I remember one of the lay preachers in the […]

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The precious value of vocation

For some time I have been toyed with writing a blog post about what education and medicine need—amateurs. What I mean by that is that in both professions there has been an ‘industrialisation’ of what should be a relational task. So children become products of learning, educational widgets if you like, and through the mechanical […]

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Inclusivity and discipleship

During Easter Week I enjoyed saying the Easter Anthems in Morning Prayer. This is a set of eight versicles drawn from three passages in Paul; they used to be a weekly option in ASB, but in Common Worship they have been relegated to p 634 and used only seasonally, which is a loss (but that is […]

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Michael Gove is wrong—again

I don’t disagree with Michael Gove on everything he says. Learning in any context is always a combination of knowledge acquisition and the development of skills, and I have some sympathy with the notion that the balance in secondary education has moved too far to the latter and needs more of the former. Acquired knowledge […]

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Personal disclosure in preaching

How much should I share of my personal experience in the context of preaching? This is a perennial question facing anyone in ministry in the local church. My first encounter with the issue arose when I was a teenager. I remember one of the lay preachers in the church I attended making some point and […]

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Can women teach? part (iii)

I am in the process of writing a Grove Biblical booklet with the title ‘Women and authority: key biblical texts’ which aims to explore all the key texts in 28 (or more likely, 32) pages! Due out this month. I am aiming to cover Gen 1, 2 and 3, Luke 24, John 20,Acts 18, Romans 16, 1 […]

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Can women teach? part (ii)

The root of this word cannot mean ‘silence’ in the sense of not saying anything, since in it used in Acts 11.18 and Acts 21.14 immediately followed by something the people then said, and so is translated ‘quietened down’ or something similar, and signifies the people ceasing their objections. … ‘I am not permitting …’ As some have noted, the construction here is unusual, in that Paul uses a first person present tense (‘I am not permitting’) rather than either an imperative (‘they must not…’) or a third person present tense (‘it is not permitted to…’) both of which come in 1 Cor 14.34.

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