Sabbatical Week 2 – An urban conversation: meeting Stephen Kneale in Oldham

Friday 6th June meant a train and tram trip up to Oldham which, headlines as the most deprived town in the England, where Stephen Kneale is pastor of Oldham Bethel.

The area (Glodwick ward) was originally white working lass but has seen first of all afro-Caribbean immigration and then in the 1970s Bangladeshis and Pakistanis meaning that there is primarily a Muslim area. It’s typical of a lot of inner city areas, terrace houses and Mosques -are church buildings are also there but how full they are on Sunday and how much the reflect the local population is open to question. Continue reading

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What is a friend? – A quick response to a good friend

Stephen Kneale has written a response to my first article about Jordan Peterson.  You can read it here. I’m relieved that Stephen is not about to unfriend me on social media!  I’m also grateful that he has given me the opportunity to respond and clarify. This is not least because part o f a conversation is about realising when the first response you put out just doesn’t cut it. 

I think the best way to respond is to probably take a little step back to some first principles. In my first post, I talked about choosing your friends carefully. Now, if you read my first post and you’ve met Jordan in real life or on social media and you happen to think he’s a nice guy and you could get along with him then I’m not telling you that you can’t be friends. He may prove to be a fantastic, loyal friend in that sense. Additionally, because I don’t know him and because I’ve not heard anyone who does know him say this explicitly, I don’t know whether or not he is a brother in Christ. I am picking up some hints in the secular media. There may be stuff elsewhere. So again, if Jordan is a professing believer, I’m not saying that you should disfellowship him. Continue reading