N.T. Wright in St Andrews

So, as I type, Tom Wright is giving a lecture down in town entitled ‘Can a Scientist believe in the Resurrection?’ This is the first of the Gregory lectures on Science and Religion, an excellent venture which my colleague Prof. Alan Torrance has organised. Me? I’m ferrying children to and from a primary school Christmas disco. I’ve been trying to think of some pious comment about the importance of children in the Kingdom, (or even some sarcastic Baptist comment about bishops), but actually, I’d much rather be listening to Tom. Oh well. Ben Witherington is with us for three lectures next month, and I should be able to make at least two of those.

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A less than devotional thought that crossed my mind whilst celebrating the Eucharist in a medieval chapel in NE Scotland in December

Say what you like about Baptist architecture; at least we have central heating…

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St Samthann

No, I hadn’t heard of her either. We have a weekly college eucharist here in St Mary’s, organised by our student society, and I was celebrating this week. Although it was the last of term, I did not want a Christmas theme, so I glanced at a couple of lectionaries I had handy for readings. One of them noted it was the feast of St Samthann yesterday, although other resources place her today. She was the adopted daughter of an Irish king, and like so many of the female Irish saints was delivered from an arranged marriage by a miracle and then devoted herself to serving God as a nun. Various miracles are recorded in later years, but she was known mainly for her wisdom: she gave guidance and advice to many, including the teacher Dairchellach and Maelruin,...

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Learning to preach from Graham Norton

The preacher left me cold, although I could tell the, mostly elderly, people around me were enjoying it. I began to analyse what was going on. He was an able preacher, in a style I recognised, the message carried by good-humoured anecdotes. Then it struck me—it was like listening to Ned Sherrin (a comedian and raconteur who formed his style in the 1960s, although he was active in broadcasting until his death in October). I pursued the thought: the preachers we admired fifteen years ago when I was at college could be compared to Ben Elton doing stand-up—the style was loud, brash, fast, and political, just like ‘motormouth’ had been. So, I have a prescription for good preaching (in Britain) today: be like Graham Norton. This is only half a joke. Preachers need to...

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Bruce McCormack’s TFT lectures (2)

Bruce McCormack’s second lecture, ‘Passibility in Mutability: The Failure of the Older Kenoticism,’ focused on the nineteenth-century kenotic Christologies of Thomasius and Gess, and on Dorner’s critique. The British kenoticists (Forsyth and Mackintosh), and Baillie’s objections, were there, but the treatment was slightly more cursory, I think because Bruce thinks that Herrmann’s critique of metaphysics should have been found decisive, and so no-one should have developed a kenotic Christology after it. ‘Kenotic Christology,’ for those who don’t know, takes its cue from the Christ-hymn in Philippians 2, which affirms that Christ ‘emptied himself’ (heauton ekenosen, hence ‘kenosis’ and ‘kenotic’). A kenotic...

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