Moving On

Over the past fortnight we’ve seen (at least) two major debates blow up on social media , one about doctrine and the other about practice resulting from public statements made by prominent Christians.

The general structure of those debates tends to follow the following lines:

  1. There is an initial emotive reaction – this might be positive, negative or both at the same time.
  2. This is followed by some people attempting a thoughtful critique of the issues involved
  3. More debate and discussion follows. Those who critique and disagree with the original statement are sometimes accused of being churlish, pedantic, unloving. In turn, the supporters are told they are naïve (sometimes both of those charges have a level of truth – but not always).
  4. Somewhere along the line the message goes out that we are meant to shut up and move on. This particularly comes from those who wanted to be generous.

Continue reading

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Dave’s Reading List – God, Love and Sacrifice

Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon at the Royal Wedding opened up a whole conversation about  what God is like, what it means to say that God is Love, what love is and why exactly Jesus came -is it enough simply to say that his death was sacrificial? What does this mean, was it simply an example, a demonstration of love or something more? Continue reading

Reacting to the Royal Wedding Sermon – pausing to engage with each other and learn from different perspectives on a controversy

Sometimes something gets us thinking about how we:

                -Preach the Gospel -not just the content but style and engagement

                – Talk about God, Creation, Humanity, New Creation etc – in other words about doctrine.

When that happens, sparks fly!  Sometimes we disagree and that can lead to controversy and heat. However, we also can learn a lot from these touch points.

The Royal Wedding Sermon has been just one such occasion. I notice that Steve Timmis on twitter has suggested that this is one of those times when it might be worth pausing and reflecting. So as a contribution to that, I thought I’d try and put some links together of some of the key articles on the subject here. Continue reading

Reacting to the Royal Wedding Sermon – The Gospel Gap

So, for all of those positives in Bishop Curry’s sermon, why did so many people express concerns about it? Were they just being kill-joys or theological pedants? In this third article I want to look at what those concerns were.

  1. Love is …. ?

The Bishop talked a lot about love, the power of love and the redemptive power of love. At one point he said “We were made by a power of love and our lives were meant and are meant to be lived in that love.”[1]

This meant that the sermon opened and the context was set by an ode to love, an ode to an emotion, an ode to an abstract concept. Describing God as “a power of love” certainly leaves me feeling uncomfortable. I’m not uncomfortable because of the word “love” but because of the loss of personality in that phrase which actually destroys any meaning to the word love. It seems to equate God with the concept/attribute. God is defined in relation to the attribute.  This is wrong because God is not “a power.” God is a person. God is all powerful. God is love. Do you see the difference? Continue reading

Reacting to the Royal Wedding Sermon -What’s to like?

So, some people were excited and encouraged by what they heard in the Bishop’s sermon and I’m not just talking about those who found all the stuff about love and fire, especially in the hands (or mouth) of a moving orator uplifting.

I’m talking about those who said -the Gospel was there.

So, if you are going to critique the sermon, don’t miss this. Continue reading

Reacting to the Royal Wedding Sermon

Well, Bishop Curry’s sermon at the Royal Wedding has certainly been provoking some reaction. If a measure of a sermon’s success is its ability to get attention and a response, job done!  The reaction appears to fall into 4 main categories Continue reading

God doesn’t need me to change his mind – and that’s a good thing

Remember that age old question about whether or not God ever changes his mind and the case study of Abraham interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah/ Lot? Well it came up during our fantastic and lively Faithroots Live session yesterday.

The assumption is that God plans to wipe out the city and this means Lot, Abraham’s nephew will be killed. This moves Abraham to intercede for Lot and the result is that his life is saved. Continue reading