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Bringing the cloud of witnesses close (cloud christianity)

A word cloud of famous Christian leaders and saints

Tomorrow is All Saints Day, a day to remember and honour all those who put their faith in Christ and have gone before us into glory.

As a result, it seems the perfect time to develop some ideas that I first put forward at the recent Christian New Media Conference. The more I think about the Communion of the Saints, the more I think that the Internet is opening up new dimensions theologically for that Communion. Check this out from Hebrews… Read more

It’s been emotional (Olympics, part 1)

A photo of Vinny Jones from Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels

I have scanned the memory banks but I honestly can’t think of a month in which I have ever been in such a heightened state of emotion.

It started with my older son getting ‘Achiever of the Term’ award at school, but it really took hold with the opening night of the Olympics a week later.

It really hasn’t take much to set me off with tears this month. As my wife will testify, Read more

Atheist Delusions

Photo of the book jacket for Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart

As a Curate, along with the rest of my mentor group of Curates, I’ve just finished reading David Bentley Hart’s 2009 book Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies.

I must admit that it’s not the sort of book that I would have naturally chosen to read if my mentor group had not made me. However, I’m glad that I did take the time with this American Eastern Orthodox theologian, philosopher, writer, and cultural commentator.

The book is pure polemic in which Bentley Hart takes on the so-called “New Atheists” of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and even Philip Pullman. I think it’s more than fair to say that he doesn’t have very much that’s good to say about them. One of the real marks of this book is how incredibly and deliciously rude he can be about his opponents. Check this out from p220:

‘The best we can hope for [in the contemporary debate] are arguments pursued at only the most vulgar of intellectual levels, couched in an infantile and carpingly pompous tone, and lacking but the meagerest traces of historical erudition or syllogistic rigor [sic]: Richard Dawkins triumphantly adducing “philosophical” arguments that a college freshman midway through his first logic course could dismantle in a trice, Daniel Dennett insulting the intelligence of his readers with proposals for the invention of a silly pseudo-science of “religion”, Sam Harris shrieking Read more

Bringing it all together

Image of the book cover for Holding Together

One of the key reasons why I chose to go to Ridley Hall to study for ordination was because Chris Cocksworth was the Principal. I had come across Chris through my work for Church House Publishing whilst he served on the Liturgical Commission and he struck me as a very wise man. I was particularly attracted to the way in which he, an unashamedly evangelical and charismatic Christian, seemed to hold that stream of church life together with a deeply ‘catholic’ view of the Church and a definite and strong loyalty to the Church of England.

Of course, Chris has now gone on to become the new Bishop of Coventry. Ridley’s loss is most definitely Coventry’s gain. Still, Chris’ approach has made a big impact on me in the last few years. One of the ways in which that happened was getting the chance to read some of the draft chapters of Chris’ latest book Holding Together before the book was published. Now that it’s hit the streets and I’ve been able to fit some reading in around other commitments, I’ve finished reading the entire book and I wanted to blog about it since I would definitely recommend it to others.

Chris is never easy reading. It’s a big book that will probably take you some time if you take it seriously but it is a very deep book and worth spending time in. Chris holds out a vision and tries to engage with the issues that result from an attempt to be gospel oriented (evangelical) in the power of the Spirit (charismatic) but with a firm commitment to the Church (catholic).

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When you wish you could’ve been somewhere else

Life is generally a bit ‘odd’ at present. Everything feels very new – settling into a new house, a new rhythm with the family, trying to find a level of discipline personally when there isn’t a job to run your days, waiting for term to start, trying to manage that process and discover so much new there, trying to manage our old house and make sure the new tenants are okay for us new landlords.

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 “You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” The Matrix, 1999

I am loving this whole blogging thing and finding out how deep the rabbit-hole goes. Today I have discovered Jonny Baker’s blog.

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