Electric guitars, drums, and music with a beat are commonplace elements of modern Christian worship, but such things were unknown just a generation ago. How and why did it change? The ‘why’ question is easy to answer. We’ve moved on a generation or two, and tastes in music, whether religious or secular, have changed. The … Continue reading When the music changed
Fashionable “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” This claim became fashionable in the second half of the 20th Century and remains so, but how valid is it? Words change their meaning over time, but this isn’t just about words – it’s about values. When we use the word “spirituality” in opposition to religion we are separating … Continue reading Spirituality that works
An old Italian proverb, “traduttore, traditore” meaning that a translator is a traitor is as applicable to Bible translations as to any other text. Each language arises from a culture, with its individual traditions and images, which determine the precise meaning of even the simplest of terms. When a country lady from Bavaria says “haus” … Continue reading Luther’s deliberate mistranslation
After each incident of ‘Islamic terrorism’ someone is likely to remind us that ‘Islam is a religion of peace’. Christianity is founded on a message of “peace on earth and goodwill to all men” but has to face disturbing facts about times when the church acted in ways that didn’t match that ideal. Even Jews, … Continue reading Small Gods
A brief aid to making a prayer list: "The answers to these questions Direct my supplications"
Two successful businessmen and community leaders were secret admirers of Jesus. Consider their dilemma as they helplessly watched events unfold during one fast-moving and fateful week. (This poem may be used as a meditation for Easter season.)
To declare that Jesus wasn’t a Christian is not just a familiar truism – Christ couldn’t be a follower of Christ. But I want to challenge another oft-repeated truism. People say, with apparent wisdom, that Jesus didn’t found the church. I disagree – and Bethany is part of my reasoning. Most Christians believe that the … Continue reading A church like Bethany
If this isn’t the strangest story in the gospels, it must come close. Apart from the unusual setting, the limited audience, the peculiar light, and the mysterious appearance of two long-dead men, Jesus capped the mystery by telling his companions not to tell anyone what they’d seen. In the face of such an extraordinary story the shortage of apostolic references to it is surprising and provokes several questions.
Fundamentalism is a risky strategy for maintaining faith in the Bible because one tiny hole in a rigid belief system could deflate the entire balloon.
The year was 1967, the location was Westminster Central Hall in London, the 2500 strong audience were mostly teenagers, and the event was a Sound Vision concert, featuring the best-known Christian bands of the period. Five bands had already played, when the compere announced, “not only the best, but also the loudest Christian group – … Continue reading The volume of silence