This is prompted by a twitter discussion recently about whether non-conformist pastors opt to wear a clerical dog-collar when visiting the sick. Dog-collars tend to be part of the traditional uniform of the clergy, particularly though not exclusively among Anglicans. A lot of us would tend to frown upon then seeing them as emphasising a… Continue reading On hospital visiting as a pastor
I think we can fall into one of three traps if we are involved in church pastoral ministry. At the one end of the spectrum are those who see pastors as basically chaplains, nice, homely sorts who are primarily employed to go round and visit the elderly church members and drink copious cups of tea.… Continue reading The hard work of the pastor
In June 2005, my Great Aunt was mugged and knocked unconscious. She died in hospital two days later. As a family we went through the full range of emotions; shock and sadness at the tragic loss, anger at those who did it, guilt at our failure to visit “Auntie” more often. Whilst each bereavement is… Continue reading How does a Christian doctrine of suffering affect counselling of the bereaved?
Back a few months back, as the news came in that Queen Elizabeth II had died, a rainbow appeared over Windsor Castle. It was a beautiful symbol of God’s goodness and promises at a time of grief. I’ve frequently talked in terms of “tracing the rainbow” based on the lyrics of the hymn “Oh Love… Continue reading Continuing to trace the rainbow
The strapline of Faithroots is “What we believe affects how we live.” This is because Faithroots is first of all, a theological website. One of my aims is to introduce readers to good, solid, rich and challenging theology. But Faithroots is also meant to be a practical, pastoral site and I don’t think those two… Continue reading Good news for the unsettled, uprooted and home sick
Quite a few worship songs these days announce spiritual power to break strongholds with a particular focus on addictions, mental health and depression. Now there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact as someone who has suffered from depression I have appreciated heart felt songs that have spoke about God’s presence at the very point when… Continue reading Where are the worship songs about gout?
The parable of the sower is perhaps one of the best known of Jesus’ parables. We may however do better to call it “The parable of the soils” because it is the ground that the seed lands on which Jesus’ teaching focuses on. In Jesus’ story the farmer sows seed by scattering it by hand.… Continue reading The condition of your heart (Mark 4:1-20)
It’s a question that someone may well have asked you at some point. Perhaps you’ve even asked it yourself. The possibility that I could commit a sin which puts me permanently and irreparably beyond God’s love and forgiveness is terrifying. To understand what Jesus means when he describes a sin which is unforgivable, we need… Continue reading Have I committed the unforgivable sin? (Mark 3:20-30)
If you are married, did you have marriage preparation classes? What were they like? Any good? I know of some people that were given a very intensive programme of instruction with lots of reading homework in between each meet up. We on the other hand were given two compulsory sessions, one where we watched a… Continue reading It’s time to scrap Marriage preparation courses
In previous articles I’ve shared my concerns regarding some aspects of Biblical Counselling. Some approaches lead you towards what risks being harsh and legalistic counselling. This arises out of an assumption that we can resolve a problem by identifying and stopping the sin that caused it. This leads, in my opinion to a shallow engagement… Continue reading Healthy Biblical Counselling