The spirituality of doctrine?

Renovar√©, the organisation founded by Richard Foster (Celebration of Discipline, et al.), have recently published a book entitled 25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Definitive Spiritual Classics. The list can be seen here (you’ll need to scroll down a little). I’ve read most of them, and at least some of almost all of them (as it happens, the only one I’ve never opened is Nouwen’s Return of the Prodigal Son; I know it’s wonderful; there’s even a copy in the house, as Heather’s homegroup worked through it a few years back; other things just keep getting in the way). The title is, I take it, deliberately provocative; such lists always generate argument, and an argument that leads to people being exposed to...

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Nativity creativity

A few videos from around the web which I’ve tripped over, and which could be useful to some over the next few weeks. Most have appeared on my FB feed before now, but gathering them in one more permanent place, with details of where to get them from, seemed worthwhile. First, two films from Youth for Christ, which are available to download for free from iTunes (this link should open iTunes to the podcast page if you have it). The first is called ‘Disengaged’, an award-winning one-header of Mary’s experience of the build up to the nativity. The production values and acting are alike excellent, the script good, the setting modern, the tone gritty – not many laughs here. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RP4S5nJCiig]   Also...

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Justice and the gospel: Bruce Longenecker on Paul and the poor.

Joel Willits offers a review of my former colleague Bruce Longenecker’s recent book Remember the Poor: Paul, Poverty, and the Greco-Roman World (Eerdmans) over at Euangelion. I have not yet seen a copy, but Bruce was working in these directions before he left St Andrews for Baylor, and I think I can guess something of how the argument goes: although there is not an enormous amount of emphasis in the NT texts on Paul’s ongoing concern for the collection for the church in Jerusalem, or for caring for economically-disadvantaged members of the community, there is some; if we consider the then-prevalent assumption amongst devout diaspora Jews (like Paul…) that charity was an essential component of acceptable worship, then we can reconstruct on the...

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Could the evangelical gender debate be depolarised?

A conversation that some of us have been involved in privately has spilled over into the blogosphere and twitterverse in the last few days. It concerns attempts to get past the hard lines on gender roles in (family and) church that are being drawn within British evangelicalism. (There is of course a similar discussion in America; it seems to me that the lines are rather differently drawn there, however.) Krish Kandiah has published a couple of blog posts here and here; Jenny Baker has made some comments in response here; Vicky Beeching has commented here and here; Hannah Mudge, who I don’t know, links to a number of other posts here. I won’t attempt to link out the twitter debate… I have also seen comments to the effect that it is astonishing...

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Contemplative prayer and contemporary worship

A recent conversation with our pastor, Andrew Rollinson, about those spiritual practices which I find useful/generative/satisfying/whatever the right word is, brought to mind a blog post from Vicky Beeching which noted that she, as a leading worship leader in the contemporary evangelical style, finds broadly contemplative practices of spirituality most nourishing for her personal spirituality. I had indicated to Andrew that charismatic worship and contemplative prayer were the two places where I most regularly experience connection to God and personal transformation by God. This in turn brought to mind an argument I gestured at in a footnote of a paper on contemporary worship (a paper that is currently under review by a journal), and had intended to develop more...

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