- This is serious – Turkish Protestant churches sent death threats – directly affects a number of churches that I’ve regularly spent time with in Turkey. PRAY.
- My former All Souls colleague Jo Jackson has written a couple of great posts about weakness: 1. Willingly Weak and 2. Wonderfully Weak
- Phil Whittall (aka the Simple Pastor) has a great post on ‘We are alone in the universe‘
- 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
- 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
Paul Arnold, the coordinator of the Church and Media Network (MediaNet), kindly invited me to write a post this week to point to how Wilderness engages with media issues. So here is the result:
When Jeremy Paxman gave his MacTaggart lecture at the 2007 Edinburgh International Television Festival, he actually created his own headlines. After a spate of scandals at the time, he described how his employer, the BBC, had been left with “a catastrophic, collective loss of nerve,” with the bigger question of whether the corporation “itself has a future.” Those comments are even more relevant today, with many seeking to exploit its insecurity. The precariousness is indicated by the fact that big celebrity guns have been marshalled to speak out in its defence. Read more
- 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
- 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
- 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
RANT ALERT (This is v abnormal for me, but I’m quite exercised about it!)
I’m getting tired of people complaining about immigration, and just wish politicians would have the courage to speak up for it. The UK has ALWAYS been a country of immigrants – you just have to look at the history of London’s East End over the last 5 centuries to see this. Read more
- Show up: a fantastic campaign endorsed by scores of different outfits – to encourage Christian involvement with politics generally, and May’s General Election specifically.
- It isn’t a battle; it’s a pilgrimage: helpful wisdom for anyone, not just those struggling with porn issues
- Michael Wenham is someone with Lou Gehrig disease and so uniquely qualified to consider the Stephen Hawking movie, Theory of Everything.
We could call them the ‘pastor’s power pitfalls.’ There are many. Too many. It’s actually scary how much power a pastor wields – for good… and ill. It’s one of the key issues that has preoccupied me a lot about in the last few years while writing my culture of suspicion book (out VERY soon at all GOOD bookshops!). And I’ve witnessed (and struggled) under power-trip pastors. The worst thing, though, is how blissfully unaware they are of it. As one friend said of a church boss he struggled under for several years, “he’s like a drunk driver who never looks in the rear-view mirror.” Read more
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Have a fab 2015
watch this space because there are some big changes afoot for Quaerentia in the coming months…!!
- AN Wilson on cracking form: it’s the Gospel truth – so take it or leave it
- Ministry through the dark night: very helpful consoling piece by someone (!?) about depression and despair in ministry
- Interesting piece in the Washington Post: Gay Christians choosing celibacy emerge from the shadows
Hurrah! Q Treasure Maps have reached a 3/4 Century!
- I know a number of the people involved in making this doc on Jesus’ claims to be the Son of God – made in Turkey for those from that part of the world. Looks great!
- The Pope draws in Tom Wright, Rick Warren, Michael Nazir-Ali and others to the discussion about family. Unprecedented?
- In particular, here is fmr UK Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks’ remarkable speech in full.
- Ros Clarke is an old friend who recently completed a PhD on the interpretation of the Song of Songs – she’s set up a great website to offer the fruit of all her labours more widely.
- Emma Scrivener on form yet again her: lovely piece on the Both/Ands of the Christian life.
- She’s also got a great A-Z of Christianity – check it out!
- Nell Goddard writes beautifully and poignantly on When Christians cause the suffering
- The importance of plural leadership – yet another interesting thought from Chris Green
- C S Lewis on Friendship
- Are the Apocryphal Gospels true? Ian Paul picks up Simon Gathercole’s address at the recent British NT conference
- If you missed it, this is an extraordinary episode of BBC’s Panorama about the Christians working in North Korea for Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (30 minutes – definitely worth watching in full).
At last year’s launch of veteran travel writer Dervla Murphy’s remarkable book, A Month by the Sea – Encounters in Gaza, she made a simple but telling point. “The Palestinians’ predicament is that they are the victims’ victims”. Of course, in Faith in the Face of Empire, an equally remarkable book by a Palestinian Christian pastor, victimhood (despite its postmodern attractions) is a dangerous mantle. Read more
U2 can be pretty shocking. If you’ve followed social media recently, you’ll know they’ve caused global offence by giving away their Songs of Innocence album for free (oh, and a nice tidy cheque from Apple for $100 million). I do think that the sum is pretty obnoxious. There’s no way that anyone needs that kind of cash, least of all the world’s most successful band in history (more or less). I’d say it represents, at the very least, a rather grim error of judgment. I have enjoyed some of the memes that this has provoked, though (esp Who is U2 anyway?). But even though that all now seems rather an inadvertent PR disaster, the album contains some genuine shocks which are clearly more artfully deliberate.