After the Burning

The forest burned down since last I went. England has faced a series of brutal heatwaves this summer along with much of the rest of Europe. Wildfires are uncommon here, but in the hottest heatwave the Lickey Hills above Birmingham sparked into blaze. Acres of woodland at the edge of the city were gone across… Continue reading After the Burning

Longing, Lament, and Joy

We live in the Between, this now and not yet time stretched by our waiting for the Kingdom to come on the one hand and by its grand arrival in the ascension of Christ on the other. Our eschatology is firmed realised, present and not yet present. The Kingdom is here, the Kingdom is not… Continue reading Longing, Lament, and Joy

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

When Pain is a Problem

The American opioid epidemic started because pharmaceutical companies wanted to eliminate pain. Whatever their motives, though we can be sure they were not altruistic, they manufactured situations where if someone told a hospital they were in pain they would be given an opioid painkiller. Pain was a problem to be eliminated. We can all roll… Continue reading When Pain is a Problem

Learning wisdom

We should desire wisdom. “Get wisdom!” Solomon tells us (Proverbs 4). We see that eating from wisdom’s tree (Genesis 3) was Adam’s mistake but also the destiny he was supposed to bear. We also see that one of the ways we learn wisdom is by suffering. Let’s not get this backwards, suffering is not our… Continue reading Learning wisdom

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

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

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

God is a Giver

We all know how the world should be run. It’s simply obvious to us: the best people should run things, and everyone should get what they deserve. If you put that to 100 people, I suspect you would find the vast majority would agree that this an innately good idea. They call it a meritocracy—a… Continue reading God is a Giver

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