St Patrick’s Day is a Saint’s day. There is nothing wrong with celebrating saint’s days, though there is nothing particularly right either. As our Apostle says: “One man esteems one day as better than another while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5).
Legendary stories make it hard to know the truth about early saints. We do not know anything about some saints, like St Valentine, and what we know about other famous ones, like St Nicholas, is contradictory and confusing. Even for some Biblical saints there is very little information, like St Matthias or St Bartholomew. (more…)
I’ve been pondering the unwelcome reality of disagreements with friends.
My recent Briefing review of Michael Jensen’s book on Sydney Anglicanism* reflects a difference of opinion between Michael and me that we are still in the midst of discussing. I’m also in the process of writing something in response to John Dickson’s ebook on women and sermons, and this too will highlight disagreements with John about some important issues. (more…)
What I’ve written here is not all that can be said about suffering: far from it. But I’ve published it, somewhat hesitantly, because I think suffering will drive all of us to this point sooner or later.
flickr: Pink Sherbet Photography
I sit there stony-faced, staring out the windscreen, driving in automatic, lips pressed together. I’ve had enough. I don’t want it any more: this struggle and these doubts and these unanswered prayers. I’ve had enough. It’s been a long week – a long year! – and there’s nothing left. I’ve had enough.
My 12-year-old son sits next to me. (more…)
I love art. I have to say that because nobody believes I do when I speak on idolatry. It’s the same with music. I have to protest my love of music whenever I question something about the use of music in Christian life. My protestations matter little to those who have art or music as their idols. However, I hope that you, dear reader, will not dismiss my criticisms as the mere prejudice of a Philistine. I do love art. (more…)
My generation missed Chappo. I think I heard him preach once, maybe twice. By the time I went through Moore Theological College he was no longer the one giving sermon feedback. Others were the regular evangelists up at the Katoomba conventions when I attended them. I heard a number of his jokes—even I knew of his encouragement of younger Christians with words along the lines of “Don’t worry, the first 40 years are the hardest”—but I heard most of these stories from others who knew him better, or had heard him more often. (more…)
Trillia Newbell has interviewed Megan Best about issues covered in her new book, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, specifically on assisted reproductive technologies (ART).
Christians face many dilemmas, some more obvious than others, with new methods of reproduction. Best acknowledges that the Bible does not specifically address ART, so Christians must look instead at what the Bible does address—human life.
If you can get to the Gospel Coalition conference, her seminar would be well worth attending.
I’m reading the Bible through, chronologically this time. I’ve just got to Leviticus: the shoal that’s wrecked a million Bible reading plans (at least, it did mine when I was a teenager). Once again, as I read this hard part of God’s word, it seeps into my skin and reshapes my insides.
There’s something beautiful about Leviticus. Sometimes, like those 3D pictures, you have to blur your eyes to see it. As you persevere through the bewildering details (split hooves? a sore with white hairs in it? two materials woven into one?) you begin to sense the outlines. Laws that protect life and relationships. Laws that forbid detestable practices and depraved worship. Laws that uphold justice and provide for the poor.
There’s also something terrifying about Leviticus. (more…)
1700 years ago in early 313, the Edict of Milan was issued by the Roman emperors Constantine (from the west) and Licinius (from the east). The decision reversed a 200-year-old policy of the Empire against Christians, which involved discrimination and persecution. (more…)
I’m a mum with three children (7, 6, and 3) and, like most mums I know, I’m bogged down with the minutiae of life and suffering from constant tiredness. Since having children, my prayer life and quiet times have been whittled down to a minimum, so the thought of evangelism hasn’t been high on my agenda. Getting through each day without a trip to the doctor or to Accident and Emergency has taken priority! (more…)
One of the more contentious topics tied up with the ongoing “gay marriage” debate in our western society is the question of adoption—that is, the adoption and fostering of children by homosexual couples. At one level, the concern is a very pragmatic one: why, the argument goes, should we be denying children loving homes? (more…)
This Christmas the American Atheists have posted a large billboard in Times Square New York. It has two pictures: one of Santa Claus and the other of Jesus on the cross. The captions under the pictures are “Keep the Merry” and “Dump the Myth”. Apart from having the captions under the wrong pictures, the sentiment is one I agree with. (more…)
illustration by Pauline Baynes
I stood under my favourite oak trees today and stared upwards, heavy dark branches and deep green leaves reaching into the blue of the sky. For a moment I was far from here, in the Enchanted Wood or Narnia or Middle Earth. (more…)
There has always been a wide range of opinion and practice among Christians on the matter of medical technology. Soon after his conversion, my physician husband was taken aback when a woman in his congregation explained she was not going to visit a doctor to treat a thigh abscess, but was instead going to pray according to the instructions of James:
In my last post, The joy of service, I wrote about the need to serve practically when all you want to do is teach. Karen asked a great question: “Does it work the other way, Jean–when you’re good at (and often prefer) to stuff envelopes, stack chairs and wash dishes, but the thought of leading Bible study fills you with extreme terror?” Here’s The joy of service re-written (with apologies) for such a person. Because, yes, I have friends who lead Bible studies even though it terrifies them. And, yes, it works both ways. (more…)