On the reception of the 2014 gender stats for Christian conferences

In reviewing last year, I looked at a list of everything I had ‘delivered’: writing sent off for publication; teaching done; students submitted; talks given; … I find it helpful: it is too easy to remember the stuff I didn’t manage to do, of which there is always much, and focus on that. (For the first time I also had a heading for things I had intentionally stopped doing, which wasn’t a long list, but is something at which I intend to work harder.) One of the things that gave me most satisfaction to note was the public launch of Project 3:28, a small collective of people working towards gender justice in the church, who have come together to do some specific things. It came out of Natalie Collins‘s collation of statistics on...

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Thought Leaders: Coleridge, the Clerisy, and Catalyst Live

It was a privilege to be a part of the ‘Catalyst Live’ event organised and sponsored by BMS World Mission a few weeks back. The vision, the mix of speakers, and the organisation, were each simply excellent; I got asked to give a couple of talks, but also to engage personally with Jürgen Moltmann. Hearing him tell his own story, of discovering the hope that is in Christ as he read the Bible whilst a prisoner of war in a camp in Kilmarnock, was profoundly moving; talking to him at some length as we planned the interview sessions – well; I have disagreed with aspects of his theology in public, and I stand by those points; but his personal graciousness, gentleness, and humility were utterly captivating and disarming. (At one point, as we shared a...

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Once again: on being unapologetically charismatic

‘Are you a closet charismatic, Steve?’ I was having lunch with someone I like and respect greatly when he threw this one at me a month or two back. My response was heartfelt and immediate: ‘What do you mean, “closet”?’ On this issue, I’m out and proud – although hardly uncritical of the movement as a whole, or in its various strands. Because of this, I initially looked seriously at the first reports from the ‘Strange Fire’ conference that happened across the pond a while back; I have to admit that I quickly lost interest: there are some serious theological criticisms to be made of the charismatic movement, but there was no-one on that platform capable of making them. I picked up a farrago of...

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‘Hate something? Change something!’ On gender bias in conferences

I have a recurrent experience with car ads, which I think is their fault not mine: I can often, years later, remember every detail of the ad except which particular car it was advertising. I suspect this is a result of the mismatch between the grandiose claims made by marketeers and the tiny differences between actual cars. One ad, years back, ran under the slogan ‘hate something? change something!’ – as best I recall one manufacturer or another had improved their diesel engine slightly in some particular, and the marketing department decided to make this an example of world-transformation up there with the American Civil Rights movement or the ending of apartheid… I love the slogan, though. For myself I translate it as ‘don’t...

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Rutherford House Blog Competition

An announcement from the Research Committee of Rutherford House: The 2013 Rutherford House Edinburgh Dogmatics Conference will take place on September 2-5 (details here); the subject will be ‘The Doctrine of Scripture’. To promote engagement with the topic around and beyond the conference, we are pleased to announce a competition for the best blog post on the topic of the doctrine of Scripture published between now and 31st August; the prize will be six books from Rutherford House, likely to be proceedings of previous conferences, which feature essays by Bruce McCormack, N.T. Wright, Richard Bauckham, John Webster, and others (but we’ll negotiate with anyone who already has a complete set!) Rutherford House will feature links to some entries on its Facebook...

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