- Did God Betray You? Really helpful piece about suffering and faith.
- We’re all sadists now: Carl Trueman on provocative but insightful form
- Tim Neufeld on cracking form about U2’s current tour: Ancient Psalms for a State-of-the-Art Tour
So here are all this week’s Black Dog posts linked in one place…
William Nicholson wrote Shadowlands, the play (which became the film) inspired by C.S.Lewis’s extraordinary testimony A Grief Observed. In it, he gave Lewis this lovely line, one he never actually uttered, but may as well have done.
We read to know we’re not alone
As I wrap this little sequence of ruthless self-exposure up, various omissions and oddities have occurred to me, so the easiest thing is probably to string them together in a miscellany that’s almost Pauline in its randomness (though naturally without his claims to authority). Read more
I’m glad. In fact, if you didn’t, I’d be quite concerned for you! But be warned. This isn’t for the faint-hearted. It will try your patience and frustrate your sympathies. You’ll definitely have days when you’ve had enough. Perhaps months. So you’ll shrug that you did everything you could but to no avail. [There are only so many hours in a day, and you’ve got your own issues.] So you’ll assume it needs someone else to take up the baton. If that’s the case, then may I make a gentle plea with you? Don’t get involved in the first place… Read more
So here’s the 3rd Q Combination. I don’t know how well known these two geniuses are beyond British shores – but they are true 20th Century greats. In their different ways, both articulate a deeply earthy, incarnated spirituality. Read more
So where does it all lead? Well, that’s precisely the problem. It can often feel like the road down has only one conclusion. Or perhaps terminus is the better description. Which is a terrifying thought. Not to mention taboo… Read more
I touched on the surprisingly physical reality of the black dog yesterday. It’s surprising, because, of course, depression is as much about emotional pain and scars as anything else. But here’s the really weird thing: the emotional anguish actually feels physical at times. I think I really get now why people talk about feeling heart-sick. It is a piercing constant, perhaps a little like having emotional toothache. Read more
The thing about volcanoes is that they’re as immovable as mountains. Rock solid in fact. But of course that’s the deception of appearances. And in geological terms, they’re savage beasts, easily provoked to ire by invisible tectonic interference.
It probably seems a totally incongruous metaphor for the Black Dog – but probably only to those whom he’s never pursued. Because there is something so irrational, so mysterious, so dark even about so-called depression that it is as destabilising as a major geological event. Read more
Poets and artists have had it. Leaders and teachers have had it. Normal and extraordinary people have had it. For all I know, even educated fleas have had it.
All kinds of stats get flung around about the black dog (1 in 4 so they say??) but who knows? What matters is not the exact numbers but how commonplace it is – and yet how extraordinarily varied. Read more
- Prof Gary Habermas has made his 90-page book, Evidence for the Historical Jesus available as a free pdf.
- Gabe Lyons and Andrew Sullivan have a remarkable conversation about the pain of Church/LGBT (can’t they find a vowel!!?) relations
- She doesn’t mince her words here – it’s necessarily shocking – but this is important – Gail Dines TED talk on Growing Up in a Pornified Culture
- Ding Dong the witch is dead: if you’ve missed this, it is a must read – a harrowing account of a pastor who is a survivor of horrendous child abuse
- Turkish Armenians with previously hidden Christian heritage are returning to Christianity from Islam
- Phil Whittall has a very good piece on the issue of transhumanism (after the discussion between Peter Thiel and NT Wright)
- Philip Yancey has a good piece on the value of small churches… he also passes on a lovely John Ortberg story about a bus driver in San Francisco.
- Eddie Arthur has a consistently thought-provoking blog – this piece particularly good: Go to where God is Not at Work!
- Krish Kandiah on 7 reasons why preaching is dead and 7 reasons why it lives
- Tolkien and the Long Defeat: this is such a powerful piece from Dec 2013 – so counter-cultural in our utilitarian world.
- Phil Whittall makes some helpful points about the strong tides of ethical change
- Did the early church believe in substitutionary atonement? Michael Kruger has a look
- 9 Traits of Church bullies – sadly very true
But still it didn’t sink in. Not immediately. And it wouldn’t, would it. After all, dead men simply don’t rise. They just DON’T. OK? Read more
- Emma describes how she and her husband Phil found themselves planting a church in Stockholm
- Cranmer has a bold but perceptive take on the Phobia culture that we find ourselves in
- Google CFO retires with an important challenge about work/life balance
If you’re from a certain corner of the global harvest field that is the church, then Charles Haddon Spurgeon will be a familiar, if not revered, name. The ‘prince of preachers’ (as he was known) was perhaps the world’s first megapastor – but the wonderful thing about him was that it never went to his head, he wasn’t corrupt, he was a character of whom it could certainly be said that ‘what you see is what you get.’ A far cry, in other words, from the smooth-talking, chiseled and attractive megapastors of today. Read more
- Josh Byers over at Visual Theology has produced a GREAT infographic summarising all the arguments for the historicity of the Resurrection
- Cranmer rightly notes the increased levels of Christian engagement in the next UK General Election (see last month’s Q treasure). And here’s his great reflection on Andy Flannagan’s book Those Who Show Up.
- Ian Paul covers the ground on Stephen Fry and God
I was asked by the fab 40Acts team over at Stewardship to contribute a short piece for their Do Lent Generously campaign – which is a creatively positive twist on the standard give-up-something-for-Lent routine.