‘These are the days of Rebekah’

My friend Natalie Collins was on Twitter tonight bemoaning a youth resource that claimed to cover the whole Biblical story in 32 sessions (!…) but that managed to mention only one woman who appears in the Bible in that survey, that woman being Eve. I don’t know the resource, and Natalie didn’t elaborate, but I’m guessing that Eve was not given a positive write-up. I have three daughters who are in youth and children’s programmes at church; it would be nice to think that the people who write the material they will access were actually working to make sure they are aware of the many positive female role-models there are in Scripture, rather than erasing all women except Eve from the story of God. In this spirit, I offer a parody I...

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‘A love I seemed to lose with my lost saints’: Mission and evangelical identity

This weekend passed was our church mission weekend; it was excellent. It was led by Eddie Arthur of Wycliffe Bible Translators, ably supported by Sue Arthur, Judy and Iska, two of our members who spent seventeen years in Papua New Guinea working with Wycliffe, and continue to be involved in Bible translation from their present home in Fife, and Hilary and Peter, who worked with Wycliffe in South Asia and now work in the UK office, and with whom we also have long-standing links. I have, I think, three reflections as a result that I would like to blog about: one on the place of mission in evangelical identity; one on conversion; and one on the Bible. One of the wonderful things about the weekend was the connections: these are our people; we know them and love them;...

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A mother in Israel

I was out preaching at another church this morning; I’d planned the sermon some weeks ago, before I realised it would be Mothering Sunday. This week I’ve struggled again with a commercialised festival that constructs a romanticised picture to celebrate, ignoring the pain this heaps on so many who for whatever reason cannot fit that picture. Pete Greig tweeted a wonderful litany this morning which captured this remarkably well; my response was to tell a story in the ‘children’s talk’ slot that explored a rather different vision of ‘Biblical motherhood’ than is usually offered. The style is visibly, to me, a second-rate Bob Hartman rip-off, but here it is: ‘A mother in Israel’ There are lots of mothers in the...

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Serious thinking does not always lead to the same conclusion

Steve Chalke was kind enough to tweet a link to my piece on his invitation to a global conversation; in the same tweet he linked to a piece by Brian McLaren on the same theme. Brian’s piece was entitled ‘The Biblical cat is out of the fundamentalist bag’, which mostly left me straining to think of mentions of cats in the Bible (I don’t think there are any – several lions of course…); the piece was mostly a series of links to interesting posts elsewhere; at the end, though, McLaren writes: …the real question is this: in the privacy of people’s own hearts, will they (will you, will I?) have the courage to think, rethink, question, and consider the possibility that the conventional view of the Bible is in need of...

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A global conversation on the Bible?

I was told some while back that Steve Chalke was writing a piece on the Bible, and invited by someone to give a response; I refused on grounds of friendship – I did a formal response for someone else last time Steve published a position paper, and I don’t want to make it a habit… …when I read Steve’s piece, however, I confess to being puzzled; I’ve now read it more than once, and I remain puzzled. So this is just me, responding as Steve asked us to, not with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, but with a ‘why?’ Because I’m puzzled. On the Oasis site where Steve’s paper is posted it is introduced with the line ‘Steve Chalke calls on the world-wide church to have an open and honest dialogue...

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