Q Marks the Spot 132 (October 2019)

Sacred Treasure A friend who pastors in Hong Kong tackles the church's divisions in the face of political turmoil and social unrest. We would do well to listen, here in Brexit Britain...The Simple Pastor draws on some fascinating Pew Foundation…

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Coming Soon: Why on earth do they think THAT?!

In a couple of months, I'll be leading a study day here in Maidenhead on postmodernism and stuff, revamping and updating old material that led to writing A Wilderness of Mirrors. It's been a while since I worked on it,…

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Q Marks The Spot – Treasure Map 125 (March 2019

Sacred Treasure How many people view the recent death of missionary John Chau  Emma Scrivener writes, as potently as ever, about the power of the gospel to counteract a self-harming mindset And then she followed it up with this blinder…

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Q Marks the Spot – Treasure Map 119 (September 2018)

Many apologies for the temporary suspension of Treasure Maps over the summer. Normal transmission should now resume! A few extras here to make up for lost time... Sacred Treasure Emma Scrivener has a wonderful post, Play to your weaknesses Jake…

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Deep (?but not stuck) in the frozen wastes of winter faith: Brueggemann on Beck on Freud & James

Q regulars will be aware that issues related to depression come up here from time to time. One or two have encouraged me to be a bit more open about such things and to pick up a few things that others might find helpful, or at least a resonance.

So here are a couple of extended quotations from Walter Brueggemann’s most recent book, Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks. These paragraphs jumped out at me from his middle section on the need for prophetic grief in the face of contemporary suffering, In this he echoes the mourning of Jeremiah and Lamentations in particular. (more…)

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The humiliation of incarnation… Iain Banks somehow, surprisingly, gets it… sort of

Iain Banks (known as Iain M Banks when he’s writing science fiction) had the most extraordinarily fertile imagination. It was one of the reasons his books have been so loved and respected. His last SF book before he died of cancer in June at only 59 was The Hydrogen Sonata, in his Culture series. I’d not read any of his books before but was very struck by the way people talked about him over the summer, and so decided to make amends. Well, I certainly dived into the deep end.

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The Rebellious Privacy of God: Rowan Williams on Narnia in “The Lion’s World”

I’d heard good things of this book: Rowan Williams’ surprisingly readable appreciation of CS Lewis’ Narnia, The Lion’s World. It seemed appropriate to move on to this having relished Francis Spufford’s recreation of his childhood delight in Narnia. And there are loads of good things about it for he is simply seeking to be an exegete of Lewis’ creativity. I especially appreciated this comment on how the whole experiment works (and thus why it is inappropriate to squeeze details too much into an allegorical mould).

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60-second adventures in religion

I can’t remember who told me about these, but they’re fab. The Open University Religious Studies is obviously plugging its wares – but fair enough. The results are wonderful and very useable in all kinds of places I suspect – wryly humoured animation with the added bonus is the wonderfully-suited satirical voice of David Mitchell. (more…)

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Cynicism or Criticism? Developing an integrated mind at University

This is an update of a talk I gave nearly 15 years ago to some students back in Sheffield. My aim was to help them avoid the classic polar mistakes of either avoiding the intellectual challenges of university or being swamped by them altogether. There are all kinds of other joys, opportunities and challenges when people first go to uni, and so intellectual development is only one aspect of what needs thinking about. But I fear it is often overlooked altogether.

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