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]
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]
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]
A few years ago my wife bought me a fitbit watch. She’s subtle like that. It has proved to be a great present though. I like having a daily target of steps a day. And when I reach it, I enjoy seeing the little congratulatory fireworks display which goes off on my watch screen. And… Continue reading Actually reading the Bible
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]
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
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’?