What are friends?

The pandemic has damaged our friendships. There was a recent Atlantic Op Ed that opined that all but the closest friendships we might have are slipping away. But things were broken before that, back in 2018 the US Surgeon General announced a “loneliness epidemic”, especially facing middle-aged men. So, while the pandemic has made thing… Continue reading What are friends?

A liturgy for social media

I have been blessed over the last year by the books Every Moment Holy that have come out of the Rabbit Room. These are two volumes of liturgies for ordinary moments of everyday life—written prayers about normal stuff and about the horrifically brutal stuff that sometimes happens to us. After writing about how social media… Continue reading A liturgy for social media

Forging digital tools

Facebook want to work with churches. Which shouldn’t surprise us, why wouldn’t they want to work with anyone they can show advertising too? The surprising bit is that some churches seem to want to work with them too. As has been widely reported, some very large churches and denominations want to collaborate with Facebook on… Continue reading Forging digital tools

Dealing with Shame

Anthropologists say there are three kind of cultures. It’s a crude heuristic but it conveys something that’s true. There are guilt cultures, where social order is maintained by reinforcing guilt for condemned behaviours. People are concerned with right and wrong action. Laws and punishment are the usual social mechanisms for enforcing order. Broadly speaking this… Continue reading Dealing with Shame

A Kingdom with a King

We live in modernity, the source of all evil, according to some. I’m the sort of grumpy curmudgeon who thinks everything was better before the modern era, by which I mean the last 500 years. This clearly isn’t true. Antibiotics, for one, are a gift we would not want to give up! What is true… Continue reading A Kingdom with a King

Evangelical (anti)Culture

Last year I bought a new roof. Once they were finished the roofer told me, “that’ll still be good when we’re all dead,” which floored me. I don’t think I’d ever knowingly bought a new thing that would outlast me. Our home is the second house we’ve bought, so I imagine its true for both… Continue reading Evangelical (anti)Culture

Exploring Jordan B. Peterson

The renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson has, as I write, just released his new book Beyond Order. It’s causing the usual early splash you’d expect. Most media interviews are fairly negative, not least because Peterson stands in for a certain sort of conservative adjacent thinking they dislike strongly, even if that isn’t what he represents.… Continue reading Exploring Jordan B. Peterson

To whom does History belong?

History is written by the victors. This is a truism, who else is left alive to write it? But here’s the thing, there is such a thing as a Christian view of history. The Bible has a lot of say about history and how to read it, including two detailed commentaries on Israel’s later history… Continue reading To whom does History belong?

New religions for a new age

Tara Isabella Burton’s wonderful 'Strange Rites' charts some of the wide array of movements among Millennials that are taking on religious character. The book takes us on a journalistic tour of some examples of ‘pick & mix’ religion before describing three movements that Burton describes as religions. I’ll briefly outline them below, but the book… Continue reading New religions for a new age