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
It appears that our world is retreating into tribalism, that there is an inexorable shift towards unhelpful varieties of identity politics. Whether it be our carefully selected followers and exemplars on social media, or the increasing polarity between left and right in political and cultural discourse, it seems that 'them' and 'us' is increasingly the … Continue reading The local church, coalition, and community
As Christians we minister and witness in the realm of unlikelihood; humanly speaking our work is always against the grain and against the odds. The idea that sinful people could be reached through sinful people, via the medium of insignificant, politically disenfranchised, local churches is a material absurdity. If we were to take the components … Continue reading The improbability of ministry
In today's Times newspaper, James Marriott has a fascinating article about the sharp decline in the reading of novels in the past twenty years, and the ultimately detrimental effect that this has on individuals and on society at large. As part of his piece he quotes the novelist Sally Rooney, who opines that books and … Continue reading Books as a middle class fetish
Over the summer months I have been enjoying the combination of annual leave, and a portion of the sabbatical leave which the church I serve in has kindly granted me for this year. Over the course of two months, I haven't preached, and have only undertaken essential visitation. This has been a novel experience for … Continue reading Reflections from a place of rest