Fasting from voices like mine

My Lenten discipline this year will be fasting, as far as I can, from voices like mine (white, male, Western, straight, able-bodied, cisgendered). The idea came talking to a colleague about the problem of gender imbalance on our reading lists. She (rightly, of course) stressed intentionality, which got me thinking about process. If I am writing an entire new module, I will think intentionally about reading lists, but I’ve done that once in the last three years. Far more often—like, more weeks than not—I give ad hoc advice. A student or colleague asks ‘what’s good on X?’; I reply with stuff that’s in my head. Most of the time, the authors I mention are all white, male, Western, straight, able-bodied, cisgendered (Can I offend against all aesthetic...

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U.A. Fanthorpe, Not the Millennium

Wise men are busy being computer-literate. There should be a law against confusing Religion with mathematics. There was a baby. Born where? And when? The sources mention Massacres, prophecies, stars; They tell a good story, but they don’t agree. So we celebrate at the wrong midnight. Does it matter? Only dull science expects An accurate audit. The economy of heaven Looks for fiestas and fireworks every day, Every day. Be realistic, says heaven: Expect a miracle. From U.A. Fanthorpe, Christmas Poems (Enitharmon Press, 2002), p. 61

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I heard a girl singing

Everyone I know agrees that 2016 has been a bad year. Too many good people died (one a close friend of mine) and too much rubbish happened. 2016 should not have been, or so we all seem to think. But as the year came to an end, I heard a girl singing, and I think it might turn out alright. And it’s not that I’m ignoring the rest. I’ve heard the racist slurs that we wanted to have left behind in the seventies, and the economic forecasts, and the bombs going off, and the bulldozers in the jungle, and the bells tolling—so many bells tolling—the bells that seemed not to stop tolling all year. I’ve heard it all. And grieved for our losses. And despaired for our futures. But then I heard a girl singing, and I began to hope again. She was a bit younger than our...

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True Christian Manliness: On the Acts of St Andrew

Here in St Andrews, oddly enough, we mark St Andrews Day in various ways—this year I shall be at a graduation ceremony and, in best Hobbit style, at two formal luncheons. To mark it on a blog, I turn the to apocryphal Acts of Andrew, or rather to what we have left of them. Attributed by Pope Innocent I to a pair of ‘philosophers’ named Xenocharides and Leonidas, and a century and some earlier by Pilaster of Brescia to ‘disciples who followed the apostle’, we have a set of fragments in various languages, together with an apparently-garbled Latin summary by Georgius Florentius Gregorius, which together were reconstructed in the 1980s into two slightly different versions of the text by Jean-Marc Prieur (whose edition is published in CCSA 5 & 6) and Dennis...

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An Evangelical approach to sexual ethics

I am just back from the annual meeting of the American Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in San Antonio, TX. It is only the second time in my life I have been to the ETS conference, but they offered a slot for us to launch a book, Two Views on Homosexuality, that I’ve contributed to, and I decided quickly that I owed it to the publishers (who have been very generous) and to my fellow contributors (who in the process of arguing our points have become friends) to be there. I don’t suppose that it is a state secret that we were offering the launch around the conferences. If we’d got at slot at AAR/SBL, Wes Hill and I, who argued the conservative side of the question, would have been under fire, and would have looked to Megan DeFranza and Bill Loader, who argued...

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