Whoever you are, the forces running the world are on your side
Parthians, Medes, Elamites… Cappadocia… the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene… If you have ever stood up in church to do the Bible reading on Pentecost, you will remember. How did you get on pronouncing all those place names? This post argues that we should now add Lesbos, Kos and Calais to the list.
I’ve been reading two very different arguments for Britain to stay in the EU. One is the pretty booklet spread round the country by the Government, Why the Government believes that voting to remain in the European Union is the best decision for the UK.
Nudge nudge wink wink. Some of the Government believe this. Others – a very substantial proportion – believe otherwise. But those others won’t have the option of sending a booklet to every house in the country, funded by the taxpaying recipients.
There was an excellent talk on Meister Eckhart at St Brides Liverpool this morning. The talk was given by Dr Duane Williams of Liverpool Hope University. We had time to ask questions, and after the service we carried on talking about it as long as we could – until the Annual Meeting took over.
I went home puzzling over what it has to say about modern attitudes to possessions and wealth.
What does the Bible teach? Well, pretty well anything, depending on who is speaking. Do we just accept what we were taught when we were young, or recite a few favourite texts and ignore the rest, or feel well and truly turned off by all the claims?
Here’s my potted history of biblical meaning. It is derived from a number of biblical scholars, the main one being John Barton.
This post is at Laura Sykes’ request. In a Facebook dialogue she published a cartoon, as below, mentioning that bishops move diagonally.
I haven’t completely forgotten my chess-playing days, so here is some more information. It may or may not be a helpful meditation on episcopacy today.
Posted in Churches
Tagged Bishops, chess
Jesus nailed to the cross, detail. Ralph Hammann, 2015, via Wikimedia Commons
This is the last of four posts on whether Jesus died for our sins. There are three main theories. One is that he won a victory over the devil, along with paying a ransom. Another is that he offered himself as a substitute for humanity, which deserves eternal punishment in hell. The third, which I focus on here, is more down to earth, with less going on in heaven and more for us to do. Jesus’ death was an example for us to follow.
William Holman Hunt: The Scapegoat, 1854. Detail.
This is the third in a series of four on ‘Did Jesus die for our sins?’ The first is here and the second is here . This one is about the idea that Jesus died as a substitute for the punishment the human race deserves for its sinfulness. This is the theory most popular among conservative evangelicals today.
In the ancient world most people believed the forces making life possible were gods. So when things go wrong – plagues, floods, droughts – what are the gods up to? They must be angry. Somebody must have offended them. There were priests who were experts at finding out which god was offended and how to make amends. Sometimes they said that the gods demanded the death of the guilty people, but often a god would accept an animal as a substitute. So by killing the animal you calm down the god’s anger and re-establish a positive relationship. That’s substitutionary sacrifice.
The devil. Codex Gigas, c. 1220, via Wikimedia Commons
This is the second in a series of four posts on the question ‘Did Jesus die for our sins?’ The first, introductory one, is here .
The Christian tradition has produced three main theories about this, and this post looks at the theory that says we won. Jesus, by dying, paid a ransom, and in that way achieved a victory. Mark 10:45:
the Son of Man came not to served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Leaf from the Gunda Gunde Gospels, Ethiopia, c.1540. Anonymous
Jesus died to take away our sins. What does that mean? If you are not used to it, it sounds odd. If you are, you may well have been introduced to a cruel and punitive God.
This is the first of four posts on the Atonement. The series is based on talks and discussions at St Brides Liverpool, and aims to give people the means to make their own judgements without tears. The Christian tradition has produced three main theories. This post introduces them. The next three focus on each in turn.
The debate is hotting up. Or at least, the Prime Minister is. Will Britain vote to leave the European Union at the forthcoming referendum? Are we choosing between two lousy options, as Yanis Varoufakis argues?
I for one am much less enthusiastic about the EU since it has turned itself into an agency of neo-liberal economics, squeezing its poorer countries into ever deeper poverty. However if that’s a reason for Britain leaving the EU, it is an even stronger reason for Liverpool leaving Britain. But – oh, we’re British, aren’t we?