Blog

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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When heaven is now…

Posted by on Sep 30, 2019 in Blog | 9 comments

I’m greatly enjoying Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, All the Light we cannot See – a moving exploration of life set against the Second World War. One chapter is entitled “Heaven” and in it Marie-Laure, blind since aged six, is picnicking with the ailing Madame Manec. It is a rare and brief respite from the war that is raging around them, and they begin to discuss whether heaven is real, and what it will be like. One poignant insight follows another, and the chapter ends: The grasses toss and shimmy. The horses nicker. Madame Manec says, almost whispering, “Now that I...

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Cultivating a spacious heart…

Posted by on Sep 19, 2019 in Blog | 4 comments

I don’t know if you can remember a time when your heart was filled with love. Perhaps you thought, “I don’t think I could ever love more than I do now.” It might have been on your wedding day, or on the birth of a child – or even when you first met your puppy! For me it was certainly on my wedding day. As Rosemary glided down the aisle, I knew this was a forever thing. My heart was bursting with love, and I was intensely grateful. That love has never left – actually, 39 years later, it continues to grow. Five years after we married, our first child was...

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When you say “Pastor”: What Images of Clergy tell us…

Posted by on Sep 13, 2019 in Blog | 1 comment

Don’t know if you have ever thought about the collective nouns for various professions. Some are perceptive, others tongue in cheek. Apparently one should speak of a “rash of dermatologists”, a “shower of meteorologists”, and a “boast of barristers”. When it comes to clergy the best I could find was “a rumble of clergy” – most were less flattering. What do you think of when you hear the word “pastor”, or “priest”, or “minister”, or “clergy”? The images that spring to mind are likely to...

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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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