The Generation Game

What do we pass on to the next generation? I remember sitting in a group where a grandma, mother and daughter were present as we shared testimonies. Grandma told us how she had grown up finding church boring and legalistic as a child and into her early teens. Then God miraculously saved her. Mum gave pretty much an identical testimony and then guess what, daughter told her testimony and it was the same. It was lovely that all three had been saved but we were also left wondering if there wasn’t a cycle that could do with stopping. Continue reading


On church culture and the different things we disagree about

This is more an observation than anything.  It’s based on Stephen Kneale’s latest post  on whether you should wear a suit/shirt and tie in the pulpit  Continue reading

The Goldilocks Zone

goldilocks zoneAs you will know, it is just under one year ago since Mike Ovey, Principal at Oak Hill died suddenly.  Mike was principal whilst I was at Oak Hill, He had such an influence on my own theological formation but like so many people have commented, Sarah and I were also indebted to his love, care and kindness to us. So I’m really encouraged to see that Chris Green is bringing out an edited collection of his writings.A more detailed review of the book is available  here but in the mean time I wish to strongly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in knowing God’s Word and God’s World better.

Mike was a brilliant communicator of Gospel truth and this shines through in the volume. He also had a sharp analytical mind with the ability to pull apart false, crooked and woolly thinking, lovingly but firmly. You will also see  a model of true academic gifting, the ability to take complex issues and explain them simply.

Continue reading

Music, Culture and Church – a postscript

Here are some further thoughts and clarifications (as much to my own thinking as anything). Stephen Kneale has posted here a response. There are some useful points in there and I’ll come to them in a second. The article if it is a response seems primarily to focus on the spirit of this point from my earlier article “But overall, what we sing in church seems along way away from what people are listening to outside.”  Stephen’s response is:

  1. That our primary focus with congregational singing should be whether or not something is appropriate in terms of is it singable and because they help us to remember the truths contained.
  2. That we should not assume that rap reflects all urban contexts.
  3. That if music is not culturally neutral then we have to consider whether or not the background and associations of a genre bring other connotations into church life.
  4. That there are a whole host of other preferences that have not been considered.

Continue reading

Music, culture and urban church

This week a couple of rappers have caught my attention.  First there was this by Flame drawn to our attention after a Learning Community discussion on contextualisation.  Then there was John Piper’s comments on Lacrae which we picked up on here.

I want to just pick up on one or two (not completely connected) thoughts that struck me. Continue reading

The Female Doctor and a message about gender

So, what do you make about the choice of a female to play the role of Doctor Who?

  1. Couldn’t care less
  2. Delighted -this is the change the show has been crying out for to bring it fully into the 21st Century
  3. Disgusted – this is ruining a great show.

All three of those viewpoints have been expressed since the announcement. Indeed, given that a female regeneration has been the worst kept secret for a while, the delight and outrage in equal measure has been going on for much longer. Continue reading

Learning to See – pastors preachers, missionaries and planters

In earlier posts I’ve talked about the preachers need to exegete or understand 3 things before preaching: God’s Word,  The Congregation and himself (see towards the end of this post). What I mean by this is that we don’t just look at the text in isolation.

1. We need to apply it so we need to think carefully about the congregation- what is the application they will need in their pastoral circumstances and what will stop them from hearing or obeying.

2. We need to be aware of ourselves. What is in my own heart? What might prevent me from hearing, communicating and applying God’s word truthfully and Effectively?

I want to expand on this in two ways. Continue reading