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Showing posts from March, 2013

John Webster: Preacher *and* Theologian

It's not at all intended as a snide remark when I emphasise the *and* in the post-title: not all theologians are good preachers, and anybody who has been to church regularly for any length of time can tell you that not all preachers are competent theologians. John Webster, Professor of Systematic Theology at Aberdeen University (formerly Lady Margaret Professor at Oxford), is genuinely both. So I'm really excited about the arrival of this book with the postman this morning:


The Grace of Truth (Farmington Hills, Michigan: Oil Lamp Book, 2011) is a collection of 26 of Webster's sermons, mostly delivered when he was Canon of Christ Church, Oxford. Having only so far read the first couple I can't say too much with authority yet, but what I have seen is a rigorous attentiveness to the scriptural texts, and a keen eye for their application in human lives. There's also a great deal of creativity on display here too, which is as refreshing as it is intriguing: so, for examp…

When religion stops us seeing clearly...

I spent a few minutes after morning prayer on Saturday wandering around the church building, enjoying the silence. I also had a look at the stained glass windows - most of which are Victorian. It's something I don't get to do very often because I'm too busy. My favourite window in our church building is very recent, only three years old, and is a brightly coloured rendition of Jesus welcoming children to himself. It is in the baptistry, an appropriate place for welcoming children into the family of God.

I discovered another window today too, which I've never really noticed before - something that surprised me because ours is not an overly large building. It is a large plain window, with clear glass. You can see straight through it to the outside world: across the grave yard to the A-road that runs through the middle of the parish, and on to the homes beyond. I stood for a while watching people heading to the shops, the saturday morning traffic held up by the changing l…