Blog

When Confidence is a Curse..

Posted by on Aug 28, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

Swamped as we are with endless courses aimed at enhancing our self esteem and confidence, it might seem passing strange to suggest that confidence can be a curse. But it can! True, lack of confidence can also be a curse, but for a while ponder the other side of the equation – for although our many self esteem courses might suggest that the absence of a worthy self image is a wide spread problem, the hard evidence suggests otherwise. David Brooks in his book The Road to Character notes that in 1950 when asked if they considered themselves to be a very important person, 12% of high...

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On Quoting Shakespeare and Scripture…

Posted by on Jun 4, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

A delightful post widely circulated on Facebook highlighted how many English expressions originate from Shakespeare. Here is a taster: “If you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I was dead as a doornail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then — by Jove! O Lord! Tut, tut! For goodness’ sake! What the dickens! But me no buts — it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.” (Bernard Levin) Even Prince Charles has got in on the act, and in this YouTube clip...

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Faithful Improvisation: Following Jesus Today

Posted by on May 20, 2020 in Blog | 1 comment

I’m currently reading the revised edition (2018) of Samuel Wells’ book, Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics. It’s a great read, and tries to answer the question of how we should play our part in the drama of God’s work in the world when we have no closely worded script, and when we are constantly facing new challenges. What follows springboards both from ideas in the book as well as from insights in a Nomad podcast with Samuel Wells on 6 May 2020. Wells draws his key idea from the theatre, and in a similar way to Tom Wright suggests that though we don’t...

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Praying the journey…

Posted by on May 6, 2020 in Blog | 5 comments

My Sabbatical leave is almost over, and what an unusual season it has been. I spent part of it at Carson Newman University in Tennessee, and after seven wonderful weeks close to the Smoky Mountains, Rosemary and I had to dash back to Australia to avoid being locked out, potentially for many months. It did make for an abrupt end, though the major task for my Sabbatical, remained. That was to make significant progress on a book on the formation of spiritual leaders, which is my current writing project. I am now at the two thirds through stage, so am pleased about that. Naturally because I am...

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Is sin passé? David Brooks and The Road to Character

Posted by on Apr 30, 2020 in Blog | 8 comments

I’m surprised at how much I am enjoying reading David Brooks’ motivational book, The Road to Character. Amazon classifies it in the “personal transformation/ self help” category, and knowing how flooded and shallow this market is, I am only reading it on the strong recommendation of someone whose work I respect. First thing to note about this book – don’t think shallow and trite. An easy read, yes, but shallow and trite, no. And while an easy read, it is unsettling and inspiring at the same time. And for a book that makes no claim to be Christian, it is...

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Remembering the Friday…

Posted by on Apr 10, 2020 in Blog | 2 comments

We are sometimes a little uncomfortable with Good Friday, and tend to rush past it to arrive at Easter Sunday as quickly as possible. Yet unless we feel the weight of the Friday, we will miss much of the mystery of Easter. If you are a theologian you might say that a theology of suffering must precede a theology of glory, lest the latter becomes trite and superficial. So this Good Friday I have been noting the things I need to remember… I need to leave the last supper and walk to the Garden of Gethsemane. I need to pause – is that Jesus, crying out to God, “Father if it is...

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COVID – 19 and Complicated Blessings…

Posted by on Mar 28, 2020 in Blog | 16 comments

I am writing this at a little after 3 in the morning, my jet lagged body refusing to accept that now is the time it is supposed to be asleep. Like many travellers around the world, I have been through a complicated process of rushing home as national borders close, and almost all international flights are cancelled. True, Rosemary and I had been so enjoying my sabbatical leave at Carson Newman University in the USA that we were tempted to miss the last flights out, and thought that there could be worse fates than being trapped on Carson Newman’s beautiful campus in Tennessee. But...

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As a decade begins…

Posted by on Jan 1, 2020 in Blog | 21 comments

With the twenty teens recently ended, I thought I would post a bit of an update about the blog, fill you in on an exciting new venture I am part of, add some reflections about the start of the twenties, and close with a prayer I have found meaningful. This site has carried 359 posts since it officially launched in August 2015. Some have been picked up by other sites and reposted over and over again, yet others have made it onto the reading list of a variety of courses and are sometimes quoted back at me, and yes, some have been read by only a smattering of faithful followers, before quietly...

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Why leadership matters…

Posted by on Dec 18, 2019 in Blog | 6 comments

Leadership guru Peter Drucker once said that only three things come naturally to all organisations: friction, confusion and under performance. Everything else requires leadership. It’s worth thinking about. My observation is that those in church circles have an uneasy relationship with leadership. They are conscious of how easily it can be abused, and of how some leaders embark on toxic quests for power and control, using the nobility of the mission of Jesus to mask their naked ambition. Consequently they are quick to point out that genuine Christian leadership is different, and they are...

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From FOMO to hello to here…

Posted by on Dec 11, 2019 in Blog | 2 comments

Do you, like me, often want to be somewhere else? It’s not that I’m unhappy where I am, it’s just that in a world filled with many options and possibilities – well, why wouldn’t you explore them all? Those younger than me tell me it’s FOMO, aka fear of missing out. Here’s the irony. FOMO can actually see you missing out, and get you to overlook what you already have. Recently I’ve been reading Padraig O’Tuama’s book In the Shelter. O’Tuama is the leader of the Corrymeela community in Northern Ireland, and brings a refreshing and hopeful perspective to Christian spirituality. He suggests we...

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