Posts by brian

Hope’s Beautiful Daughters…

Posted by on Aug 1, 2019 in Blog | 4 comments

Hope’s Beautiful Daughters…

St Augustine suggested that hope has two beautiful daughters, anger and courage. Without these, Augustine argued, hope comes to nothing. Why these two daughters? (And although off the point, why daughters? Don’t we usually see anger and courage as male qualities? Clearly Augustine didn’t, and perhaps his 5th century wisdom should cause us to reflect on where we most often spot valid expressions of anger and courage).  Returning to our question – why these daughters? Take anger… Instinctively we default back to the status quo. While we might quietly wish that things were...

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Sorry, I’ve no time. Really?

Posted by on Jun 20, 2019 in Blog | 2 comments

It’s often said that while we are a wealthy society, we are time poor. Now the first claim is undoubtedly true, but the second should have a serious question mark placed alongside it. Time poor – in comparison to who and when? Certainly not the ancient Hebrews. They worked a six day week from sunrise to sunset – on average a 72 hour working week. Indeed, a 70 hour plus working week has been the norm for most of human history. Robert Whaples, professor of economics at Wake Forest University has demonstrated that in the 1800’s a work week of 70 or more hours was common in the US, while Robert...

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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 | 11 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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