Corporate Repentance?

Over the past few weeks I’ve been writing about the challenge facing our churches as we recognise our failure to reach people from working class and ethnic minorities with the gospel and to grow churches that in terms of attendance, membership and leadership reflect ethnic and class diversity.

I’ve noted that there have been a number of calls for repentance for past failure and past sin and the possibility of “corporate repentance”. In a previous article, I talked about the need some of the challenges with this, specifically, how do you bring people together collectively and who speaks for them. Continue reading

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An ongoing conversation about discernment and judgement

Stephen Kneale has kindly published a “letter to the editor” from me today.  This was in response to his article yesterday. Go across to his website and have a look at it and then spend a bit of time reading some of the other fantastic articles he has written.

I also want to draw your attention to this because I think it reflects how we can helpfully discuss and debate in order to reach greater clarity.  This is of course in the context of some conversations appearing on social media that seem to be going less well. Continue reading

Who really believes in a trickle down effect?

The trickle down theory, is the concept that if the wealthy are free to get wealthier then there will be a trickle down of that wealth to the middle and working classes so all benefit. This means if you cut taxes at the top, then eventually all will eventually benefit. The approach is particularly associated with Thatcherite and Blairite economics. Continue reading

Don’t self impose a spiritual hosepipe ban

Every 20 years or so we have a blazing hot summer. It’s a rare event in the UK and the clues are not that hard to spot. First of all, it’s ages since we’ve had a summer like this. Secondly, it tends to be preceded by a hard winter with an exceptional amount of snow( don’t take that as scientific fact,hits just my perception). When one of those summers come as it has this year, we start to get warnings about conserving water, about taking showers instead of baths and the ominous threat of a hose-pipe ban is raised. At the same time, newspapers publish articles about the amount of water lost to leaks by the water companies. They argue thaf we don’t really have a water shortage problem in the UK in the same way that other countries do. We just aren’t every good at managing the water we have. Continue reading

Judgement, discernment, the heart and the Gospel – updated

In my article “When things get nasty” I commented on the reaction to David Robertson’s article “An open letter to Vicky Beeching.” One particularly controversial part of his article was this bit: Continue reading

Preaching without a script

It’s one of the perennial debates among preachers. Is it better to preach with a full script, notes, or no notes at all. A little while back my friend Stephen Kneale wrote an article in defence of the full script. It was as much a reaction against the legalistic and at times competitive approach to minimal notes. You can read it here.

My intention here is not to insist that you should preach without notes or with minimal notes but to give a few tips for those who want to try this way. I do have a personal preference for minimal/ no notes for the following reasons. Continue reading

When things get nasty

The other week, Vicky Beeching’s coming out story “Undivided” was published.  You may have read my responses and review to the book. If not, the links are available in the footnote below.[1]

Quite a few other people have provided their responses and reactions, some agreeing, some disagreeing, some trying to speak gently, others using more robust language. The two that maybe unsurprisingly have drawn the most attention and the most flack are  one from the Evangelical Alliance and one from David Robertson.

As I’ve suggested by referring to flack, there’s also been a lot of noise on social media too with twitter and face-book comments flying around.  How do we find a way through the emotional minefield -especially when things seem to get nasty, not just with this specific book but also because big things like this are often reflected in micro-pastoral situations in the church. I want to share a few more reflections here on the reviews and reaction as well as on the original book and message they are responding to. Continue reading