I know many pastors who prefer preaching a sermon to leading a service, who would gladly choose the carefully prepared discipline of reflecting on Scripture over shouldering responsibility for the other elements that constitute public worship. This is most likely an issue for those of us who are non-liturgical by tradition and/or conviction, where there … Continue reading The pitfalls and potential of leading in prayer
The 'Ashers Case', in which a Christian-run bakery refused to provide a cake because of its gay marriage affirming message, has become a worldwide sensation. The idea of a 'gay cake', the cultural context of Northern Ireland (known for its politicised Christianity), and the seeming inevitability of the McArthur family finding themselves declared guilty of … Continue reading Half-Baked Logic: some immediate thoughts on the Ashers Case Outcome
Our bereavements become entwined with times and seasons, so that the turning of the leaves or the feel of a month can bring back strong and stirring memories. It will soon be the 14th anniversary of my Dad's passing away, and every time it comes around I can feel that loss in the fibres of … Continue reading Pitied by my Father
In calling out a people to salvation God does not limit himself to a singular demographic, ethnicity, or age group. A healthy local church will bear at least some reflection of the breadth and diversity of backgrounds which a locale enjoys, and this is a blessing as it precludes the generational exclusivism which marks so … Continue reading 3 myths about elderly Christians
Christians talk a lot about the Enlightenment, in the same way that dwellers on the Pacific coast might talk a lot about a past tsunami. The intellectually tectonic shift which the thinking of philosophers such as Immanuel Kant rendered to the Western mind can scarcely be quantified. The theistic roots of our culture's epistemological and … Continue reading The end of Enlightened sex?
When contemporary poet Edward Clarke turned 40, he set himself the task of reading through the Authorised Version of the Bible in one year - half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening. The outcome of this was a project which takes the Psalms as a poetic starting point, and … Continue reading A society without Psalms
Yesterday in morning worship the first words we sang together were those of Psalm 100, unaccompanied. Around 100 people lifted their voices, some spontaneously assuming the 'parts', with a blend of voices old and young. It was a moment of beauty, spiritually and aesthetically, an articulation of our mutual ownership of the Old Testament's songbook … Continue reading Surprised by the Psalms