From the monthly archives:

April 2012

The way, the truth and the life

by Richard on April 30, 2012

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
This is the verse that drives so much Christian evangelism. “No one comes to the [...]

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Faith Forward: How to live as a Christian without believing the impossible
OK, so there’s a fair bit of stuff to take issue with. But it seems to me that the central point of the article is right on target: Christianity is both simpler and harder than most people make it out to be.

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Musical interlude

by Richard on April 30, 2012

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BNP idiocy

by Richard on April 30, 2012

Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP, sometimes likes to present himself as a statesman-like figure. So I was surprised by his comments on Twitter during Friday’s hostage-taking incident in London.

Especially as, according to Hope Not Hate, the perpetrator of the crime stood as a candidate for the BNP in the 2010 elections.

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Getting used to a new hymnbook

by Richard on April 30, 2012

Partly prompted by a Facebook conversation
For the last few months I’ve been trying to get used to the new hymnbook of the British Methodist Church, Singing The Faith.
I’m struggling.
Partly it’s to do with familiarity. The last new book came out just as I was starting out as a preacher. It was a long way short [...]

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on April 29, 2012

WHAT shall we offer our good Lord,
Poor nothings, for his boundless grace?
Fain would we his great name record,
And worthily set forth his praise.
Dear object of our growing love,
To whom our more than all we owe,
Open the fountain from above,
And let it our full soul o’erflow.
So shall our lives thy power proclaim,
Thy grace for every sinner [...]

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The Observer reports
The Co-operative Group has become the first major European supermarket group to end trade with companies that export produce from illegal Israeli settlements.
The UK’s fifth biggest food retailer and its largest mutual business, the Co-op took the step as an extension of its existing policy which had been not to source produce from [...]

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Alternet:
The self-made myth is one of the most cherished foundation stones of the conservative theology. Nurtured by Horatio Alger and generations of beloved boys’ stories, It sits at the deep black heart of the entire right-wing worldview, where it provides the essential justification for a great many other common right-wing beliefs. It feeds the accusation [...]

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The ups and downs of crowd-sourced news

by Richard on April 27, 2012

Many regular readers will be aware that my friends in the United Methodist Church have been meeting in Tampa, Florida (lucky things!) for the four yearly General Conference. They have followed the lead of the British Methodist Church by having a live video feed of proceedings and, perhaps more importantly, there has been a lot [...]

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Trading in the souls of men

by Richard on April 27, 2012

Rowan Williams on the commodification of life
Should people be paid for donating blood? In the United States, there is a mixed economy of free donation and the sale of blood through commercial blood banks. Predictably, most of the blood that is dealt with on a commercial basis comes from the very poor, including the homeless [...]

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Musical interlude: Going Underground

by Richard on April 27, 2012

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Berlin by bicycle

by Richard on April 26, 2012

A visit to Faith and Theology is almost always rewarded with some of the best writing you’ll find in the ’sphere. Ben is spending some time in Berlin, and his reflection from the city today is a real treat. Here’s an excerpt:
There are some things that are corrupted by proficiency. The expert lover, the slick [...]

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Scouting: BSA should think again

by Richard on April 26, 2012

Scouting is an international movement. Although it began in Britain, it very quickly spread to other countries so that now there are more than 30 million members of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. (And lets not forget the 10 million members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts)
From its [...]

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Suppose someone were taught: there is a being who, if you do such and such or live thus and thus, will take you to a place of everlasting torment after you die; most people end up there, a few get to a place of everlasting happiness. — This being has selected in advance those who [...]

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Prof James Lovelock, most famous for his Gaia hypothesis, has been in the news for his change of heart over climate change.
“The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time … it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising - carbon dioxide [...]

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The Manchester Rambler

by Richard on April 24, 2012

To mark the 80th anniversary of the Kinder Trespass, here’s a classic slice of Ewan Maccoll.

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1000 years of greenhouse gases

by Richard on April 23, 2012

From Desdemona Despair
1000-year records of southern hemisphere background concentrations of CO2 parts per million (ppm – orange), N2O parts per billion (ppb – blue) and CH4 (ppb – green) measured at Cape Grim Tasmania and in air extracted from Antarctic ice and near surface levels of ice known as firn.
Global CO2, methane (CH4), and nitrous [...]

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‘The Ecumenicist’, by James Forrest

by Richard on April 23, 2012

Thanks to Jason Goroncy for this splendid poem.
‘The Ecumenicist’, by James Forrest
I caught an Ecumenicist
And kept him in a yard.
I fed him up on sugar-beet
With olive oil and lard.
I kept him effervescent
With the aid of sherbert-fizzers,
And snipped his budding principles
With ecumeniscissors.
In ecumenisentiments
His training was intense;
With ecumeniscience
And ecumenisense;
As he greedily devoured
All the Acts of Convocation
To stimulate [...]

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Hymn of the day

by Richard on April 22, 2012

All ye that seek the Lord who died,
Your God for sinners crucified,
Now, now let all your grief be o’er!
Believe, and ye shall weep no more.
 
The Lord of life is risen indeed,
To death delivered in your stead;
His rise proclaims your sins forgiven,
And shows the living way to heaven.
 
Haste then, ye souls that first believe,
Who dare the [...]

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Bishop Alan talking sense on gay marriage

by Richard on April 21, 2012

I can’t do any better than quote him
…the highest duty of the Church is not to preserve institutions, but to be, simply and completely, good news. The gospel isn’t “good news/bad news” or “good news as long as you buy it properly.” It isn’t even “what would Jesus do?” It’s “What is Jesus actually doing [...]

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