The Hard-Edged Psalms

The Psalms have sharp edges. They cut the unwary and cut the bonds of the broken. I’ve just prayed my way through them, at roughly one a day. I’m starting again at the moment. I knew they were raw but have often been surprised by how raw. Which I really shouldn’t be, but my church… Continue reading The Hard-Edged Psalms

The Privilege of Pain

We all struggle. We all suffer. We all know pain. At the same time, we’re acutely aware that we don’t have access to each other’s struggles except as they are related to us. There is nothing more humanising than suffering—this is the human condition—and there is nothing more isolating. When Christians suffer, when we experience… Continue reading The Privilege of Pain

Taking & Receiving

Jesus told us to enter the kingdom like children. In fact, he was stronger than that, saying that if we did not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, we would not enter it (Luke 18). We’re familiar enough with it, and it conjures up doe-eyed sentiments of pudgy-cheeked children. Except, should it?… Continue reading Taking & Receiving

Life to the Full

Jesus came to give us life, and life to the full. Life that is abundant, excessive in quantity. We know the words of John chapter 10 well enough, but I think it’s difficult for us to picture what that means. I hear the phrase “life to the full,” and I inevitably picture someone into extreme… Continue reading Life to the Full

Preaching Jesus in every text

I am convinced that every word of the Bible is about Jesus. The whole book, in all its several thousand years of composition history and score of different authors is a unified whole: it tells a single story, carefully crafted by the primary divine author, that not only points to Jesus but is about him… Continue reading Preaching Jesus in every text

Why is slavery wrong?

So, before you lose it, I’m not going to try and argue something clearly mad like “slavery is ok, really,” slavery is evil. I do think that why we argue that it is evil turns out to be an interesting question for theological method. Several years ago, I remember having very long debates with someone… Continue reading Why is slavery wrong?

On Names and Naming

We don’t think much about the Ten Commandments in my corner of the Christian world, which some of us would think is exactly as it should be—“we’re a people of grace!”—and I fit in the other camp when I wonder if our resistance to the commandments as law means we lose them as wisdom. It… Continue reading On Names and Naming

The Land of the Living

“He’s no longer in the land of the living,” we say with great solemnity as we pronounce that our friend has fallen asleep on the sofa. It’s a phrase we use fairly commonly, either to mean prosaically, “they’re dead”—which is actually uncommon because we prefer cleaner euphemisms that hide the reality entirely—or to refer to… Continue reading The Land of the Living