The problem isn’t just Boris

Drawing of Boris Johnson

‘It’s time for Christians to speak out against Boris Johnson’ declares George Pitcher in an article in the Guardian.

This post summarises Pitcher’s argument and argues that it applies to the political establishment as a whole, not just one person.

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The biblical power of the moon

The moon, pointing

According to Matthew’s Gospel some of the people Jesus healed were moonstruck.

Needless to say, the people who translate the Bible into English don’t use this word. They usually translate ‘epileptic’. But epilepsy is a modern diagnosis. Like most modern diagnoses, it has no ancient equivalent. So are the translators misleading us, and what can we realistically expect from the Bible?

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Healing, wholeness and being accepted

This is my sermon for 26th May, published now in case any other preacher wants to pinch bits. You won’t want to pinch it all.

It’s based on John 5:1-9, the story of the invalid at the pool in Jerusalem, and describes how Jesus did his healings.

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British exceptionalism and attitudes to Europe

Map of the European Union with a bright pink Britain superimposed on it

Britain votes again today, for Members of the European Parliament – to the dismay of people who hoped to have left the EU by now.

This post is mainly about identity and British exceptionalism. Is being British a way of being European, or is it different? How do we identify ourselves? Do we identify ourselves in helpful or harmful ways? I conclude with a reflection from a liberal Christian perspective.

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Myths, facts and values

Fracking rig
Fracking rig

The British Government has produced a standard response to opponents of fracking. It takes the form of ten pairs of ‘myths’ and ‘facts’. You can read them here. Friends of the Earth has produced a rebuttal.

I have written on fracking before. This post looks at how the rhetorical use of words like ‘myth’ and ‘fact’ is used to suppress major questions of priorities and divert attention to minor details. I focus on this particular document because it is a clear example of an all-too-common tendency in our superficial society. We spend our time tightening up a few nuts and bolts when we should be asking whether we bought the wrong machine.

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Power, responsibility and voting

Remains of an ancient Athenian kleroterion, a system of randomising allocation of state offices to citizens
Remains of an ancient Athenian kleroterion, a system of randomising allocation of state offices to citizens

Local elections today, and in a few weeks we are, after all, to elect members of the European Parliament. Is this anti-democratic, in view of the 2016 referendum, or is it very democratic as it uses a better voting system than the UK’s biased First Past the Post system?

And we may yet get a second referendum on membership of the EU. Would that be a betrayal of the clearly expressed will of the people, or an opportunity for the people to express their will now that we know more about it? Does the welter of conflicting claims about what is, or is not, fair reveal an underlying awareness that our democracy isn’t democratic? Are there better ways for decisions to be made?

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Resurrection, miracle and Harry Potter

God raised Jesus from the dead, according to the gospels. For some, it has become the whole point of Christianity.

But what it means has changed. Today Christians often interpret the Resurrection as a miracle that breaks the laws of nature – something you can only believe if you also believe in the laws of nature. Here I argue that treating it like this trivialises it.

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Amoral or differently moral?

Dollar sign

The failure of our governing elite is technical and political, for sure. But it is also moral. They have short-changed the public for so long that they don’t know any different.

So writes Aditya Chakrabortty in a recent article in the Guardian, arguing that ministers act in their own financial interests rather than the interests of the country. This post asks what kind of moral failure we’re seeing.

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On responding to tragedy

Fig tree

This is my sermon for this coming Sunday, in case anyone wants to pinch it – or bits from it.

It’s based on the Gospel reading Luke 13:1-9. Jesus responds to a couple of tragedies with some pertinent comments and a story about a fig tree.

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Mass shootings: how to respond?

Yet another mass shooting. We used to think they were unique to the USA. Now they can happen anywhere. Why?

And how should we respond? Do our public responses only make things worse?

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