Posts by brian

4 Fields of Listening: To God, to Others and to Self

Posted by on Aug 31, 2021 in Blog | 10 comments

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com Most of us prefer to be listened to than to listen. However, as is often noted, God made us with two ears and one mouth, perhaps indicating that we should listen twice as much as we talk. Are there ways to listen that are more rewarding and which might tempt us to lean in to what others are saying, rather than impatiently waiting for our turn to dominate the conversation? C. Otto Scharmer (of “Theory U” fame) suggests that there are four fields of listening, and in this post I’d like to very loosely interact with his ideas, applying them to how we...

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It says what! Making sense of impossibly difficult Bible passages…

Posted by on Aug 3, 2021 in Blog | 4 comments

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com In my recent post On Being a Progressive Conservative, I mentioned that I had drawn the short straw on our preaching team and had to speak on some impossibly difficult Bible passages from Deut 19-26. Several of you asked what I landed up saying, and so I thought I would post the notes from the message. Actually it went surprisingly well, and many people said they found it helpful. Most commonly cited was the insight that when we read scripture we should pay more attention to the concern behind a passage than to its specific instruction. What to do...

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Signs of a healthy relationship

Posted by on Jul 22, 2021 in Blog | 2 comments

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com I’ve been asked the question often enough, “How can we be sure our love will last? How can we know if our relationship is more than infatuation?”  Many decades ago I was helped to explore the question by Anthony Kosnik’s (ed) work Human Sexuality: New Directions in American Catholic Thought. It provoked more than a little debate when it was first published in 1977, which explains why the reviewers on Amazon who give it four or five stars, are countered by those who give it a scathing one star. As I say, many considered it extreme when it first came...

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On being a progressive conservative (or a conservative progressive)…

Posted by on Jun 30, 2021 in Blog | 26 comments

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com Is the world so simple that we can quickly attach a valid label to everyone? We often act as though it is – or certainly we do in the world of theology, where we try to separate between those who are theologically conservative and those who are progressive – although we might use slightly different language, and suggest someone is a liberal or a fundamentalist or an evangelical or whatever. Single descriptors (conservative or progressive) usually make the error of assuming a world without nuance, a world where things fit tidily into a box… but when...

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Original Goodness: Taking our First Creation Seriously

Posted by on May 28, 2021 in Blog | 6 comments

I often listen to the theology podcasts from Yale Divinity School. Their by line asks a question: “What is a life worthy of our humanity?” I love it. It reminds us that although we might talk about original sin, God’s first word after the creation of humans was that they were very good, and indeed, that they were made in God’s own image. To bear the image of the Creator is a lofty status and provides a hint at how much is involved in leading a life worthy of our humanity, a life blessed by original goodness. The reason why we strongly object to poverty, slavery and injustice of all forms is...

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