I was in Cambridge for a few days speaking for some events that took place far too late at night for me (carol services at 10pm!!). So naturally, my mind wandered from time to time while the shepherds were watching. And my gaze settled on this memorial which was just above my head. It looks like any other, and is quite wordy. But those words definitely bear close reading. For this particular plaque testified to something far greater than the usual pieties of such things.
This has been a very hard and sad letter to write - but it does seem the right thing. Rather than give further explanation or input, I'll just leave it to speak for itself. It was sent to the church council over the weekend and is now going out to the All Souls church family.
- Katherine Welby was wonderfully open and honest about her depression and faith here
- LivingOut: This is a remarkable new resource for people living with unwanted same-sex attraction
- Don Carson gives 6 excellent reasons not to abandon expository preaching
- CS Lewis arrives in Poet's Corner
- Prompted by recent death of Sir John Tavener, an Interesting piece from Charles Moore about how a brush with death draws people for religion.
So, there's been seriously long radio-silence from Q in recent weeks. But this is not the result of inactivity. Far from it. Regulars will be pleased to hear that my book is seriously under way - with 5 out of 10 chapters now completed in draft. Phew!! There's going to be lots to blog on when it's done - but I don't have the energy or brain to do both at the same time! Nevertheless, I've been keeping up reading and stuff. Here are a few reviews of recent freebies I got on the Amazon Vine programme. There might be something of interest to someone...
- Really good article on Lord Kelvin (he of the temperature scale) and his integration of faith and science
- A Concise Theology of Voluntary, Principled Book Purging - a painful read for bibliophiles!
- Is Gravity the perfect film for our godless times - a great piece from Justine Toh of the Centre for Public Christianity
Again as part of our Uncover apologetics series, I looked at the issue of God and suffering on Sunday (my previous in the series was on the historicity of the gospels). For many, this really is the big one today. Belief in the divine seems palpably absurd in a suffering, chaotic, apparently uncontrollable world of forces, reactions and atoms.
I came across this remarkable, inspiring story at the end of David Smith's excellent The Kindness of God, a plea for a new missiology appropriate to these troubled times. It comes a professor friend of his who has ministered for many years in Jos, Plateau State in northern Nigeria. Jos sits on Africa's great faultline between the Muslim north and Christian south - and thus has faced terrible things in recent years.
A small group of us is currently reading through Paul E Miller's The Praying Life this year, just taking a chapter or so a week. Was really challenged by this observation on Psalm 23. Miller makes the simply point that:
Our modern, secular world has removed the Shepherd from Psalm 23. Look what happens to the psalm when you remove the Good Shepherd and everything he does:
As part of a new series to prepare for/coincide with UNCOVER happening at All Souls over this year, I did a talk on Sunday evening on the question of the historicity of the gospels. It's a contentious issue, full of mantraps and perilousness, not least because of the short length of time available to address it. But I had a stab, and aimed to touch on what I sense are the key issues, in the hope that the serious inquirer or thinker will follow whichever (or all) of them is important to them.