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Showing posts from June, 2014

Making the Most Of Life: July Magazine Article

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Written a bit quickly this month, but this is something I've been reflecting on while reading What's Best Next by Matt Perman (which is excellent so far!).

Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV)
In his very helpful book Don't Waste Your Life American pastor John Piper recounts a story from Readers' Digest of a couple who retired in their fifties so that they could cruise on their 30-foot trawler, play softball and collect shells. He asks us to imagine them, as they stand before Jesus on the day of judgement to give an account of their lives. What will they say about those years of retirement? What will they offer to Jesus? Their shells! His point, is to challenge us about how we use our lives. How should we live? What should we do?
In Ephesians 5:15-16 Paul takes us to that very question and gives us the answer. Our lives are a sequence of choices an…

Reading the Apocrypha

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A while back I mentioned that last year as part of my Bible read through I'd read the Apocrypha.  It was part of the reading plan in my NRSV and it was something I was intrigued by.

The Church of England, like all protestant churches, does not include them in the canon of Scripture.  Of the Apocrypha, Article VI says:
And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine which it is worth noting is in deliberate distinction to the Roman Catholic church whose position was and is still that these books are part of the canon of Scripture (see paragraph 120 of Catechism of the Catholic Church).  It is also different from the Eastern church (with some variation of who accepts what - see the NRSV introduction to the Apocrypha for the details).  For some history and discussion on this position see Bray's The Faith We Confess (pp.44-47) and Thomas' The Principles of Theol…

Urban Ministry: Racism, Christianity and UKIP

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So there was apparently an earthquake in politics a few days ago with UKIP making surges forward at both local and European elections.  Alongside this there were the, perhaps inevitable, charges of racism and general nuttiness which seem to have always dogged UKIP.

As someone who works in a majority Asian heritage area at the moment and who worked in a what might have been described as a white flight area for the four years prior to my current post, the questions of immigration and racism have been on my mind for a few years now.

It's worth saying that I think the issues are especially urban issues, although of course everyone has an opinion.  It seems to me that the tensions between different races, cultures and communities are played out in urban areas where different people groups often live close together.

So here are some of the things I've been thinking.

1. Communities are often very divided

Someone recently described the situation in towns like Rochdale and Blackburn as…