Jesus is my favoured suitor? Erotic spirituality in earlier ages

A good-natured, entertaining, and informative discussion occurred a week or so ago online, sparked by Carl Beech and Vicky Beeching, concerning the perceived ‘feminization’ of worship songs, resulting in a ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ spirituality in (some strands of) contemporary worship which (it is argued by some) might keep men away from the church. I don’t want to argue the subject at hand particularly, but some historical context occurred to me. I was typing up some songs for our evening service this afternoon, and came across a query from our musical director with reference to Isaac Watts’s ‘How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds.’ One verse, in Newton’s original, read: Jesus, my Shepherd, Husband, Friend, My...

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Baptist Times to close, apparently

ABP report that the Baptist Times is to cease publication from January here. At the time of writing, there is nothing about this on either the BT‘s own website, or on BUGB’s, but the report seems to quote the right people and when I queried it on Facebook Ian Bunce from Didcot assured me it is true. It’s not news that the BT has been losing money, and has survived only through financial support from BUGB; nor is it news that the print media are struggling, particularly daily and weekly newspapers, in the internet age. Most other smaller denominations in Britain (even the CoS) have gone the way of a glossy monthly publication. Monthlies, however, fulfill a different role: good at features; much less good at reporting news or at providing a forum...

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British/European theo-bloggers

For reasons explained in the previous post, I would like to start to construct a list of British and European blogs with theological content. Nominations are hereby invited. I guess we need to define ‘theological content’. I would go for something like this: ‘a majority of the posts would be interesting to someone, educated to higher degree level, who is generally interested in theology and wants to keep abreast of contemporary developments and discussions.’ So a blog that offers informed and reasoned posts on a particular theological topic, and a blog that serves to alert its readers of upcoming publications, lectures, and conferences, both make the cut. I would generally like to err on the side of generosity, also: it is a list inviting...

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‘Hooded hoardes swarming…’

Not quite four years ago, when I began this blog, I put a blogroll in the right gutter; it seemed the thing to do back then. I have been conscious for most of those four years that the blogroll was out of date, but unsure how to reform it. Recently, I deleted some dead links, but otherwise I have not changed it since the initial creation of the blog. My problem has been knowing what a blogroll is for. Two traditions are visible out in the blogosphere. The first is to list all the blogs one reads. That makes very good sense if your blog is somehow a record of your life. This site, for me, however, has never been a personal diary; there are important parts of my life never mentioned here (trivially, my love for cricket; centrally, my children). (That sentence is...

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True Christian manliness? CVM & The Code

Back in the day, I led my share of Boys’ Brigade parade services. Now, I’ve nothing at all against the BB (I’ve known, indeed chaplained, companies that worked astonishingly well as Christian youth organisations), but that bit in the service where we went through the organisation’s old object, ending with ‘and all that tends towards true Christian manliness’ was, I confess, always a struggle. With some rehearsal, and a resolute refusal to look at certain friends in the congregation, I got through each time without collapsing in helpless laughter; without even smirking, indeed. The aim of that ‘object’ was truly noble, but the wording was, shall we say, not phrased in the vernacular of this generation (or the last...

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