Book reviews

‘The Church and Its Vocation: Lesslie Newbigin’s Missionary Ecclesiology’ by Michael W. Goheen [review]

In 2009 I attended a conference in Birmingham to mark a 100 years since the birth of Lesslie Newbigin. I found it a disappointing experience. The conference engaged with Newbigin as a theologian and thinker but neglected the thrust of his life as a missionary.  There was a lot on his views on modernism and… Continue reading ‘The Church and Its Vocation: Lesslie Newbigin’s Missionary Ecclesiology’ by Michael W. Goheen [review]

Book reviews, Politics

‘The Ministry of Truth: a biography of George Orwell’s 1984’ by Dorian Lynskey [review]

When Donald Trump took his oath of office as US President in January 2017, his press secretary claimed the crowd present was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration. Later, when challenged on what plainly seemed to be a lie, she described her statement as ‘alternative facts’. Over the next 4 days, sales of… Continue reading ‘The Ministry of Truth: a biography of George Orwell’s 1984’ by Dorian Lynskey [review]

Book reviews, Politics

Understated inspiration – Citizen Clem: A biography of Attlee by John Bew [review]

There is no shortage of contemporary analysis about the depressing state of UK politics. But the best political writing I have read recently has been a biography of a politician who died over 50 years ago. Reading Citizen Clem by John Bew truly inspired me. Incredible career Clement Attlee had an incredible career. After growing up… Continue reading Understated inspiration – Citizen Clem: A biography of Attlee by John Bew [review]

Book reviews, Theology & Church

A great gift to the Church: ‘Paradoxology’ by Krish Kandiah [Review]

The Bible is central to the Christian faith. But it’s also long, complex and parts of it are offensive to many people. And that includes a lot of Christians… I have always found much of the Old Testament difficult, especially books like Joshua which contain so much God-instructed genocide. What are we to make of… Continue reading A great gift to the Church: ‘Paradoxology’ by Krish Kandiah [Review]

Book reviews, Social commentary

Head over heart: the case against emotional empathy

In the mid-1990s, I worked in a large hostel for 140 homeless people. One resident (lets call him Brian) had incredibly strong body odour. His lack of personal hygiene and reluctance to wash his clothes became a real issue. It led to snide comments from other residents and frustrations grew among those who shared the… Continue reading Head over heart: the case against emotional empathy

Book reviews, Social action

Is the Church just ‘an NGO with a pointy roof’?

Vincent Donovan was a Catholic missionary who worked among the Masai tribes-people in Tanzania in the 1960s.  He became increasingly concerned about the state of missionary work. After a 100 years of missionary activity in East Africa, the Catholic Church was very busy, running several schools, a major hospital and health outreach over a vast… Continue reading Is the Church just ‘an NGO with a pointy roof’?

Book reviews, Social action

‘For Good: The Church and the Future of Welfare’ – Samuel Wells with Russell Rook & David Barclay [review]

In the 1990s, I used to buy just about every book I could find on Christian social action. Around the turn of the century though, I had to become more selective. One reason was because the number of books published on the subject increased so much. But also I had a nagging guilt about spending too… Continue reading ‘For Good: The Church and the Future of Welfare’ – Samuel Wells with Russell Rook & David Barclay [review]

Book reviews

Eugene Peterson’s Subversive Spirituality

The pastor and writer, Eugene Peterson, died this week. Tributes have poured in about the impact that this wise and humble man had on millions of people. Bono dedicated a song to him at U2's gig in London describing him  as 'a beautiful spirit who opened up the Scriptures.' Peterson is most well-known for writing The Message version… Continue reading Eugene Peterson’s Subversive Spirituality

Book reviews, Ethics & Christian living

Re-discovering Narnia and rinsing out stale thinking about Christianity

I grew up in a Christian home as the son of a vicar. In retrospect it gave me loads of things that I am grateful for, but in many ways I disliked being the ‘vicar’s son’ in a large church. People treated you differently: Sunday school teachers really did say things like ‘I would have expected… Continue reading Re-discovering Narnia and rinsing out stale thinking about Christianity