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

5 Ways to Read the Times

We read in 1 Chronicles 12 of men from each tribe who came to support David in the wilderness. Among their number are the those of Issachar, who send 200 chiefs with their retinues. We also read that they “have understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” It’s oft quoted in… Continue reading 5 Ways to Read the Times

Our Emotional Exodus

We are a people of the Exodus. Our lives are exodus movements. I’ve written before around the edges of the idea of cosmic geography and about the way the sea was viewed in the Old Testament as the place of chaos and death. When the climactic act of Yahweh’s saving power happens at the beginning… Continue reading Our Emotional Exodus

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

Worship is Warfare

Jericho falls after a band march around it (Joshua 6)—perhaps leading us to imagine they finally after seven days figured out the modular frequency of mortar so their trumpets tumble stones from atop one another. Jehoshaphat places the choir on the frontline (2 Chronicles 20)—perhaps making us wonder just how bad their last performance was… Continue reading Worship is Warfare

We Did Not Build the Fortress

The Christian life feels precarious, sometimes. Do you feel like that? We’ve all seen dear brothers and sisters who we thought were following Jesus wholeheartedly—and perhaps they were—disappear from the scene and seem to abandon their faith. Putting aside how we should read these occurrences it can make us feel like we’re one step away… Continue reading We Did Not Build the Fortress

Taking the Long View

“What’s the worst that could happen?” Dr Pepper asked us repeatedly—since I don’t like it, I always assumed that drinking it was punishment enough. They also printed this under the ingredients which is wonderfully self-aware marketing, if a little dark. Though, I read that this was not their slogan outside of the UK, so perhaps… Continue reading Taking the Long View

From Knowing to Knowing

How does someone know that you love them? My wife knows that I love her. She can remember that I swore vows to do so, she can remember all the times that I’ve said so before, she can watch my behaviour both past and present and see that it must be true. She knows that… Continue reading From Knowing to Knowing