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?
Continuing to trace the rainbow
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 sheep with a broken leg? The danger of embellishing Scripture
I’ve only heard the claim once from a pulpit but perhaps that was already one time too many. I’ve since come across other people who have heard the claim. A preacher talking about the Lost Sheep in Luke 15 claimed that after finding the sheep, the shepherd would then break one of its legs. The… Continue reading The sheep with a broken leg? The danger of embellishing Scripture
Did Paul disobey the Holy Spirit? (Lessons on guidance in Acts 21)
In Acts 21, we are told about Paul’s final journey to Jerusalem. It’s an illuminating case study on interacting with God’s guidance through the Holy Spirit. Paul travels from Miletus where he has met with the Ephesian elders and given them the commission to provide for and to protect the flock. He has spoken there… Continue reading Did Paul disobey the Holy Spirit? (Lessons on guidance in Acts 21)
How do we respond to tragic news? Audio
Some big themes in Mark’s Gospel
Kingdom The theme of God’s kingdom is significant to all of the Gospels but particularly stands out in Matthew and Mark. Matthew refers to it as The Kingdom of Heaven, this links to a Jewus reluctance to even speak out God’s name so that other words are used in place of “God” or “YHWH.” Heaven… Continue reading Some big themes in Mark’s Gospel
Food from around the world wide web
First of all, a couple of articles related to mental and emotional health. We’ve got a guest article on Grace In The Depths where Jon tells his story of experiencing periods of acute hyper- mania The Great White Shark. Secondly, This article about ministry burnout in Premier Christianity includes an interview with my friend Pete… Continue reading Food from around the world wide web
Don’t forget who the real enemy is
Back after 911, there was a particularly intense period when anyone of Asian or middle eastern appearance was at risk from backlash. Not only did people conflate the attack by Islamist extremists with an attack from all Muslims but also people who were not even Muslims but rather Sikhs and Hindus were conflated with the… Continue reading Don’t forget who the real enemy is
Why do we struggle to talk about pastors and depression?
A few years back I was asked to cover a couple of sessions for a ministry training course. One of the sessions was on “failure.” The request came with a couple of those expected awkward jokes along the lines of “we aren’t picking you for any specific reason.” Indeed, at the time, arguably I’d not… Continue reading Why do we struggle to talk about pastors and depression?
Towards a theology of depression
Last year I contributed to a short book called “The Pastor with a thorn in his side.” It’s a book which tells the stories of 7 pastors who have faced depression during their ministry. Steve Kneale edited the book and as well as telling his own story provides an introduction and a conclusion. In those… Continue reading Towards a theology of depression