Ethics & Christian living, Films & music

Zuzu’s petals and the pandemic: reminders of what is most important

In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, the main character George Bailey faces bankruptcy and scandal. After a life of service and sacrifice, someone else’s negligence takes him to the brink of ruin. On Christmas Eve, in the midst of his angst and desperation, George goes home and sees his family. His young daughter, Zuzu,… Continue reading Zuzu’s petals and the pandemic: reminders of what is most important

Theology & Church

Fishin’ 4 Religion: the Arrested Development of faith

Way back in 1993 when I was a student, the band Arrested Development released their first album 3 years, 5 months and 2 days in the Life of... It sold 4 million copies and was pretty much the only hip hop album I ever bought. Part of what I liked was how spiritual many of… Continue reading Fishin’ 4 Religion: the Arrested Development of faith

Personal

My friend Stuart Ryland, 1969-2020

Today was the funeral of my friend Stuart Ryland.  Stu was a great friend and Christian brother and his passing has devastated me. Stuart’s younger brother Andrew has been one of my best friends since I was 7, so for many years I saw him mainly as ‘my mate’s big brother’.  Stuart was always nice… Continue reading My friend Stuart Ryland, 1969-2020

Ethics & Christian living

In Honour of Mary’s Song – by Dave Andrews

At my church this week, I am speaking about Mary's Song from Luke 1. The German pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, wrote: 'This is not the gentle, tender, dreamy Mary whom we sometimes see in paintings… This song has none of the sweet, nostalgic, or even playful tones of some of our Christmas carols. The… Continue reading In Honour of Mary’s Song – by Dave Andrews

Ethics & Christian living

Its Christmas-time, there’s no need to be afraid?

Rembrandt 'The adoration of the shepherds' The opening line to Band Aid's Do they know its Christmas? in 1984 were sung by Paul Young: ‘Its Christmas-time, there’s no need to be afraid’ Many people may find it hard to sing along to these lines in Christmas 2020. This year there is probably a longer list… Continue reading Its Christmas-time, there’s no need to be afraid?

Recommended books, Theology & Church

Is the biblical God a misogynistic bully?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvd2MNT642Q Since lockdown I have listened to a lot of podcasts whilst out walking. One of my favourites has become Unbelievable which hosts debates on matters of faith and belief. The show attracts high profile authors and activists and often pits Christians against atheists. These debates could easily become pointless and bitter, like listening to… Continue reading Is the biblical God a misogynistic bully?

Ethics & Christian living, Politics

‘Here Are Your Gods!’ by Christopher Wright [Review] – Greg Smith

This is a short and easily readable book, aimed at a student or educated lay Christian audience. The author is an established Old Testament scholar and missiologist, working for the Langham Partnership.  It offers a clear, conservative exposition of key biblical texts about idolatry, with a radical, practical and political application in today’s world. Political idolatry The… Continue reading ‘Here Are Your Gods!’ by Christopher Wright [Review] – Greg Smith

Social commentary

Finding Light in Deepest Dark – by Corin Pilling

After a challenging year, we're all adjusting to new expectations of Christmas. The year has taken its toll and even as we rally for the celebrations, many of us are exhausted.  The run up to the end of 2020 has been incredibly hard, impacting our emotional and mental wellbeing as we struggle to respond to… Continue reading Finding Light in Deepest Dark – by Corin Pilling

Social commentary

Blokes, beer & banter. But can we talk about things that really matter?

Covid-19 has ruined many things. It has taken loved ones, destroyed livelihoods, damaged mental health, disrupted education and suspended much of the family and community life we hold precious. But there has been some silver linings. And for me, one of these is how much more time I have spent with my oldest group of… Continue reading Blokes, beer & banter. But can we talk about things that really matter?