Under the Sun

One classical assumption about Ecclesiastes is that it offers a negative view of life because Qoholet embarks on a thought experiment with certain constraints that will lead to a negative outcome. Specifically, he limits his observations to life “under the sun.” This is sometimes read as suggesting that he is only looking at life in natural terms, “under the sun” is treated as excluding “heaven” and God from the picture. Life within the bubble is “meaningless” or “empty.” Continue reading


Do we really want free speech? If so, why?

The question of free speech has been in the news a bit recently. First of all, there was the case of Facebook deciding to ban Britain First. Then a  comedian was prosecuted for making an offensive joke on YouTube. The issue with the joke was that it was racist/anti-Semitic. Continue reading

The danger with character studies

What was it like for Barabbas as he walked out of that prison cell, not to his execution but to freedom? What motivated the women to stick close to the cross and be the first at the empty tomb after the men fled? What happened to the centurion who called Jesus  ” Son of God.” Did he become a believer? And what about Simon of Cyrene? What was it like to carry the cross for Jesus? Have you ever wanted to step into the shoes or get into the heads of those at the Cross.  Continue reading

Discipline and enemies (Preaching 2 Samuel 14 -24 part 6)

When we started looking at how to preach 2 Samuel 14 -24, we saw that there is a lot of narrative with sparse evaluation in terms of either the author’s assessment of things or a direct prophetic word from God. The temptation may be to spend a lot of time trying to second guess who does right and who does wrong. Was David wrong to mourn Absalom or was Joab insensitive? Was Mephibosheth or Ziba telling the truth? I think we can work out those things to some extent from clues but we shouldn’t get bogged down in second guessing the text. Continue reading

Vapour (The Enigma Sermons part 1)

Fog Forest Mist Mysterious Vegetation ForeOne word can stand out as iconic making a whole passage or book memorable. It can shape how we think about that passage or book, how we read it, how we understand it.

One such word is “vanity” and the book is Ecclesiastes. Continue reading

But we are not from the UK – A message to non-UK readers about the urban partnership challenge

A considerable number of our readers are not from the UK including the US, Asia, South America and a number of African countries. We appreciate having you come along and read the articles here. You may have read my articles about encouraging urban mission in the UK and thought “I’m not sure how much this has to do with us and what we can do.” Continue reading

Reasoning in an uncertain world – The Enigma Sermons and Straight & Crooked Thinking

When we started faithroots.net we said that we had two key purposes. First, this is a teaching and training hub. Our aim is to help equip people to be better able to serve the Gospel. Secondly, we also said:

“This website is for people living in a messy world.  The evidence of the mess is all around us.  I grew up towards the end of the Cold War and remember the day that the Berlin Wall came down.  We were promised that this would usher in a new era with a peace dividend.  One writer even claimed that we were seeing the end of history.  We seem to be a long way from that day now.  9/11 shattered those hopes so that we now live once again under a shadow of war and terrorism.”[1] Continue reading