Changing a blog

Welcome to the new home, and the new design, of my blog. When I launched this blog, in 2007, I called it ‘Shored Fragments’. The name comes from a line at the end of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, ‘These fragments I have shored against my ruins’. I chose it because I loved the poem – I still do – because I loved the name – I still do – and because it captured what I thought I was doing in launching a blog. My original ‘About’ page spelt this out. For years I have been in the habit of typing up brief (500-2000 words) summaries of a thought that has struck me. These got saved on my various computers with filenames like ‘Fragment on Universalism.’ The blog was going to be a place to put them up in public, to invite others to help me to sift and...

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Of a troublesome comma in the Creed

The morning office I presently use to structure the first part of my prayers invites me to recite the Apostles’ Creed each day. Famously, the Christological clauses of that Creed begin: I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, he suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried… The comma at the end of the second line has become rather notorious; it is apparently sufficient to summarise the entire earthy ministry of Jesus, and that is regularly held up as an indication of  the weakness of the Creed as a summary of the Christian faith (focused as it is on Jesus); sometimes it is held up as an indication that the traditional formulations of...

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Another myth about gender and church leadership

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the regularly-heard assertion that embracing the ministry of women led to a slide into liberalism, and pointed out that there was simply no evidence to back this up. Today someone told me that a certain well-known pastor from Seattle had spoken at a church leaders conference in the UK and insisted that one proof of the rightness of denying preaching and leadership roles to women was that denominations that did were growing and denominations that did not were shrinking. It struck me on hearing this that I had heard the same argument four or five times in the past few weeks – sometimes as a broad assertion, as my phrasing above; sometimes phrased more anecdotally (‘I have encountered very few churches pastored by...

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Gay relationships in the Bible?

I have been reading the new edition of Jeffrey John’s book, now titled Permanent, Faithful, Stable, Christian Same-sex Marriage,in preparation for writing a couple of pieces on human sexuality. In the course of his discussion, Canon John makes brief reference to the miracle of the healing of the Centurion’s servant in Lk. 7:1-10 // Mt. 8:5-13, and draws on Theissen and others to suggest that ‘[a]ny Jew … would almost certainly have assumed they were gay lovers.’ (p. 14) On this basis, and because ‘the possibility that the relationship was homosexual would not have escaped Jesus, Matthew or Luke’ (15), Canon John argues that ‘it is a real question whether we are intended to see Jesus deliberately including a gay...

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The Los Angeles Theology Conference

If you’ve not already heard, Oliver Crisp and Fred Sanders have organised the first in what promises to be a series of conferences on Christian theology, to be held in LA, CA, 17-18th January, 2013, on the theme of ‘Christology: Ancient and Modern’. The models are avowedly the Wheaton theology conference and the Edinburgh Dogmatics Conference – I am on the organising committee of the EDC – which suggests an intention to engage seriously with classical Christian dogmatics. The choice of plenary speakers only reinforces this impression: George Hunsinger, Katherine Sonderegger, Alan Torrance, Peter Leithart, and Oliver Crisp. This promises to be a significant addition to the presently available contexts for really serious theological...

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