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


Some thoughts on culture shock

What happens when someone moves from one culture to another? We are especially concerned about this when thinking about cross cultural mission. Whilst this primarily applies to Christians moving from one country to another, it might also include moving between communities in one country. Examples might include: Continue reading

Why Penal Substitution Matters

I write first and foremost as a pastor. I’m aware from my own context and from other pastors that day to day ministry means we are looking after people who at any one time may be Continue reading

Unfinished business, legacies and racism

On Sunday I preached about unfinished business between David and the Gibeonites (2 Samuel 21). . We saw how Saul’s actions a generation earlier were still having an affect under David’s reign. We saw that superstitious concepts about generational curses are wrong but that there is a Biblical principle that our actions can have far reaching consequences. Continue reading

The Two Vital Questions that pro abortion campaigners need to answer

A number of UK politicians and journalists are now pushing hard on the back of the Republic of Ireland’s Abortion referendum to change the law in the UK.

MP Stella Creasy said on twitter

“And now not to leave the million of our own citizens behind without access to their reproductive rights @10DowningStreet? Say
you will give a free vote on 21st century abortion laws and our democracy can
do the rest to show in this day and age we #TrustAllWomen …”[1

She is specifically talking about Northern Ireland where abortion remains a devolved matter and remains illegal.

Continue reading

Silencing the voice of the voiceless (Reflections on the abortion debate part 2)

In part 2 of this discussion, I want to pick up on the nature and tone of the debate. First of all, I want to speak to Christians.  Sometimes when we engage with ethical issues, we forget that this is not just a public theology issue, it’s a pastoral one too. This means first of all, that if we are simply applying the sharpness of our minds to solve a problem without love then we are missing something. It also means that angry marches, ugly banners and protest picket lines may do a job in stopping things from happen (though the jury is out) but may forget that there are vulnerable, frightened, guilt burdened people seeing and hearing who are not seeing much by way of grace. It means that we need to do as much thinking about what happens after someone has had an abortion, or chosen not to. 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