Posts by brian

Towards a 21st Century Church (2): Time for the 500 year Rummage Sale?

Posted by on May 2, 2019 in Blog | 6 comments

In my earlier blog post “Towards a 21st Century Church”, I discussed four assumptions we should challenge if we are to make a constructive journey towards the future. In this post I explore Phyllis Tickle’s contested but thought provoking thesis that roughly every 500 years a “great emergence” occurs within Christianity during which a new and “more vital” form of faith emerges. Roughly stated, Tickle’s big idea is that every five hundred years the Church cleans out its attic and has a giant rummage sale. This enables the church to reevaluate and sometimes discard forms of faith she...

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Towards a 21st Century Church: Four Assumptions to Challenge

Posted by on Apr 23, 2019 in Blog | 10 comments

Now that we are almost a fifth of the way through the twenty first century, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the church can no longer act as though it is still the twentieth century. People give various reasons for why significant change is needed – some of the more common contenders being that we now live in post-Christendom (and the church therefore no longer operates from a platform of privilege, nor can it assume that people have a basic understanding of the Christian faith); or that the postmodern turn in society has rendered everything relative, making the truth claims of the...

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Counting our more complicated blessings…

Posted by on Apr 18, 2019 in Blog | 0 comments

You’ve probably been taught to count your blessings. It’s good advice. When we count them we usually discover there are far more than we initially imagined, and it is certainly more refreshing to be in the presence of a grateful person than one who feels cheated and bitter. But what are we to make of what William Sloan Coffin has called “our more complicated blessings”? The expression is found in a challenging prayer from Riverside Church which Gil Rendle cites in his excellent new book on leadership, Quietly Courageous (2019) p11. Here is an excerpt from it: And, grant us to count our more...

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Beyond Tut Tut: Thinking Through the New Zealand Massacre…

Posted by on Mar 19, 2019 in Blog | 8 comments

Friday March 15, 2019 was indeed, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described it, “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”, for on that day a gunman, (his name best left unspoken), killed 50 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, and injured many others. It was an attack that represents so many things… for the families of victims, a long term journey with grief, sadness and probably rage – for many of them it will never ease; for New Zealand, the loss of innocence, for it has now not been spared the violence present in many parts of the world; for the world, a...

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When a Cardinal Sins: Reflections on the conviction of George Pell

Posted by on Mar 1, 2019 in Blog | 7 comments

For those not in the loop (and they must be a very small number), Cardinal George Pell has been found guilty of child sexual abuse, and is  being held in detention while his sentence is awaited. As he is the most senior cleric in the world to be convicted of this crime, it is deeply unsettling. He could have become the Pope – having been a serious contender (though not the front runner) when Pope Benedict resigned in 2013. Until stepping down from his role at the Vatican to face trial in Australia, he was the third most senior figure in the Roman Catholic Church (far and away the...

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