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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‘Happy’ Reformation Day?

I have been (electronically) wished ‘Happy Reformation Day’ a remarkable number of times this morning. Each time, it has jarred slightly.

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Church responses to equal marriage legislation

I see no less than seven different positions concerning the introduction of SS/E marriage that were/are on the table from the churches in the UK. My point here is not to defend or to demolish any of the arguments, just to make clear that different positions were/are in play, and that they led/lead to different attitudes to the bills.

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Celebrating Lynn Green’s election

Today, the Revd Lynn Green has been elected as General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. (Report here.) On one level, this news is distant from me. It happens that I do not know Lynn – we have met, more or less in passing, but I certainly cannot claim any close relationship with her. And it is eight years or more since our family moved to Scotland, and so I transferred my ministerial accreditation from BUGB to the Baptist Union of Scotland. That said, BUGB is the denomination into which I was baptised, which tested and affirmed my call to ministry, which ordained me, and in which I began my ministerial service. The two General Secretaries before Lynn are personal friends, as are several other national and regional leaders. I owe BUGB more...

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On feeling valued

Yesterday I travelled down to the Westminster Faith Debate on same-sex marriage. The Religion and Society programme had booked my train travel first class (complete with confirmation from a university travel service announcing in big letters ‘CHEAPEST FARE OF xxx REJECTED. SAVING OF xxx COULD HAVE BEEN MADE. REASON GIVEN FOR REJECTION: “vip passenger”.’ which I enjoyed, and which says far too much about the general state of university support services in the UK). I have never actually traveled first class over any distance before, apart from occasional overnight sleeper trips on a promotional ticket, so I was looking forward to this experience, and ended up laughing about odd details with some Twitter friends. Then I was met at the debate...

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