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Ancient-future lessons (CNMAC 2012 seminar)

An image showing an icon of St John of Damascus

This is the transcript of my seminar today at the Christian New Media Conference. Thanks to those who came to the seminar and for all your encouraging and positive interaction and feedback. For the accompanying Powerpoint, you can download it (.ppt, 7.9 Mb)

Now, as someone who has lived his Christian life through both the Anglican and evangelical traditions, images of God is not something that comes very naturally to me. I am sure we all know the Ten Commandments instruction to not make graven images (perhaps better translated as not making an idol) and not to bow down or worship them.

Indeed, the protestant churches (from which I’m guessing a good proportion of us come) generally draw their heritage from Read more

Forgiving God

Forgiveness is not something we do for other people. We do it for ourselves - to get well and move on.

It is one of the abiding privileges of being a Priest that I am asked to accompany people as they face the last days of life and prepare to die. For those with a strong Christian faith or even just a tantalising sense of the grace and love of God, such moments are always beautifully coloured by the knowledge that one day things will be set right.

For a watching world that frequently doesn’t want to engage or think about such things, it might sound ironic or even inappropriate. Read more

It’s been emotional (Olympics, part 2)

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

On the 20th February 1982, my dad and I travelled to White Hart Lane for the very first time. I was eight years old. We watched Tottenham Hotspur beat Manchester City 2-0. My hero Glenn Hoddle scored both goals and a young blistering Scottish talent, Alistair Dick, made his debut as a 16 year old.

I had watched Spurs famous 1981 Cup Final win the year before and been mesmerised by 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

Letters after your name

A photo of a 10 metre swimming badge

It is a long way from first achievements and ten metre swimming badges. Every time I do get a certificate or qualification, I’m always reminded of a scrawny but proud seven year old with his first swimming badge. I don’t know why.

Anyway, those thoughts came again this week for two reasons. Firstly, I got my Post-graduate diploma in Ordained Ministry courtesy of my IME 4-7 (Curacy training). It can now sit nicely with my other Post-graduate diploma in Christian Theology that I received while at Ridley Hall.

Don’t ask me why I need two. I don’t… long story.

Then I also found out that I passed my Masters in Pastoral Theology (also started whilst at Ridley) with distinction. Read more

Ahead of the game…

Book jacket for Grown Up Digital by Don Tapscott

Norman Ivison is someone I worked with when I was at Church House Publishing. Norman is now Fresh Expressions’ Director of Communications and has a relatively new blog up and running.

In his latest post, he talks about Don Tapscott’s Grown Up Digital, a book I reviewed a year or two back. It’s great to see someone else plugging Tapscott’s work in a church context since we’re not always willing to apply insights from other knowledge bases and experts beyond the Christian world.

Norman has applied Don’s insights to write a post entitled ‘8 ways to keep young adults out of your church‘ and it’s definitely worth a read.

If it was me, I’m starting to think I’d say no…

A word cloud on the subject of women bishops
Word Cloud by Rt Rev David Hamid

Anyone keeping an eye on the Church of England will not need me to tell them that in July this year, General Synod will be given the chance to provide ‘Final Approval’ to the legislation that will finally allow women to be bishops. I appreciate it is likely to be a close run thing anyway and it’s by no means certain that they will get two-thirds approval in each of the houses of bishops, clergy and laity in order for it to pass.

That said, with something of a heavy heart, I think General Synod should say no and reject ‘final approval’ and thus throw out the possibility, for now, that women can become bishops.

Let me be clear. I support women’s ordination. I think that it is self-evident that they should be in the House of Bishops as well. I can construct a solid, biblically-based argument, to say that women have been leaders from the very earliest days of the church and that Read more

There are good men in the House of Bishops

Bishops at General Synod

There are some good men in the House of Bishops.

There, I said it.

With the decision of the House of Bishops to amend the draft legislation for women in the episcopate, all sorts of stuff has been written about this particular bench of bishops. Little of it complimentary.

This is the first of two posts I’m going to make about the proposed Final Approval for women in the episcopate, but before I say what I want to say about that, I want to Read more

Congratulations Nick

A photo of Nick Knisely

I was very pleased to hear of an announcement in the Twittersphere earlier this week when Nick Knisely was elected on 2 June to be the 13th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island. Assuming all goes well in the process, he’ll be purple-ized later this year.

I wanted to cover this news here because Nick has been someone who I’ve followed at a semi-distance for some time. I first met him through his work for the Episcopal Church in the USA on communications and he was part of a ‘futures’ group that I helped to convene in Dublin a good few years ago now while I was working for Church House Publishing.

I remember sitting at breakfast with him and another American priest, Andy Thayer, while they discussing dimension theory and having not the foggiest clue what they were talking about! I decided to keep quiet and focus on my hotel English breakfast!

Nick is a physics professor, in his spare time, and a blogger. Read more