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Showing posts from January, 2012

Leadership, Priesthood, and Ministry: Some Reflective Statements

I have been thinking a bit about ordained ministry this week, and the shift of emphasis to leadership - "Church Leaders" - that has happened in recent years. It is a very strong notion in Liverpool Diocese, I suspect because of its evangelical heritage (where the concept seems to be very strong). It is a theme that I have come back to many times in the last ten years or so.

I have so far avoided blogging on this topic because I have struggled to articulate my thoughts coherently. I'm not now claiming to have gotten to that point, but I feel able to get a few things down and perhaps get some feedback that will help me think more clearly about the area of leadership and priesthood. (When I say priesthood here I really mean ordained ministry - for those of you not from a traditon that calls its presbyters priests.) It is something that genuinely bothers me - not in the sense that I am profoundly disturbed by others' opinions, but because I haven't landed my own tho…

Floor tiles, theology, and divine interruption

Today I have had quite a cultured day: we had a family trip down to the Tate Gallery at Liverpool's Albert Dock. It was a welcome relief after a long and difficult week. One of the exhibits at the gallery got me thinking - as I guess art should - and also got me chuckling. Finally it got me theologizing. The exhibit was this:



It is, as you can see, a series of floor tiles laid out in a square pattern. It's called "144 Magnesium Square" by American artist Carl Andre (b.1935). If you are thinking that there must be more to it, you are wrong. That's it. Tiles laid out and cemented to the floor (not exactly very well either - my dad, who is a professional tiler, would not be pleased). And that's what got me thinking and chuckling. The inevitable question to ask when you witness something as plain and ordinary as floor tiles is "is this art?" For many people viewing the exhibit alongside me today, it plainly wasn't: they were saying so quite audibly.…

If Jesus had a CV...

I'm leading a Bible study on this passage tomorrow night -- the first meeting of our new home group! I'm very excited, and really enjoying preparing the study notes.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. I've been pondering different ways of approaching a text like this, and I think I may have settled on one novel way to get people thinking. …

Primate Crisis...Attenborough observes

I really hope this doesn't lose me my job, but I thought it was too funny not to share. Enjoy!

Godpod and theological resources

I have had a great evening listening to a whole stack of theological podcasts from St Paul's Theological Centre, London, UK. There are over 60 podcasts available from the St Paul's website or on iTunes that cover a whole range of topics in Christian ethics, spirituality, systematic theology, history, Christian biography etc.with experts from across UK.

The format is pretty simple: a three way discussion between Dr Jane Williams, Revd Dr Mike Lloyd, Revd Dr Graham Tomlin and a special guest or two each session (I've listenind to Prof. Nigel Biggar, Prof. NT Wright, Dr David Hilborn, Prof. Andrew Walker, Prof. Alister McGrath, and a hosts of others so far). Each lasts a bit less than an hour, but there's plenty to think about and chew over. If you're looking for some really good input, and some fun theological discussion from leading evangelical thinkers, then head over to St Paul's Centre and their Godpod page.

Happy New Year

Those of you who have been following this blog through 2011 may or may not be pleased to know neither I nor it has(ve) died, and will be carrying on in 2012 -- though as you might have guessed, my workload will need managing in order to write more often! No-one mentioned that the final quarter of the year would be so busy for clergy...I probably ought to have worked it out earlier. Anyway, now that Advent and Christmas is over, and Epiphany is underway, I have had some time for reading and thinking and thought I would share a bit of what I'm reading.

As far as academic work goes, I've been reviewing four books over the past few months. Three of them have been on the subject of Christian ethics, and the fourth another account of the meaning of the atonement. Of these the ethics books have been the most interesting: Neil Messer, Respecting Life: Theology and Bioethics published by SCM (2011); Edward Dowler, Theological Ethics also published by SCM as part of their core texts ser…