I was at ECC, a church in Norwich this past weekend, run by Pastors Paddy and Jennike Venner. On Saturday, I did an evening session on understanding different generations, and the implications for the future of the church.
On Sunday morning, I had the privilege to preach. One of the upsides of being an itinerant preacher is that you don’t have the stress of coming up with a new message every week. So this sermon has been germinating for some time now. It’s on “The Prodigal Son” as found in Luke 15. Although that’s a horrid title: the story is actually about the oldest brother, whom Jesus specifically links to the Pharisees (see the context in Luke 15:1). And, it’s also about the “Unbelievably Loving Father”. But, listen to the MP3 file below for the full sermon….
I first was alerted to the richness we can uncover in Jesus’ parables by understanding the Ancient Middle Eastern context by Kenneth Bailey. His books are awesome to read. I’d suggest Poet and Peasant (buy at Amazon.co.uk or Kalahari.net), and Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes (buy at Amazon.co.uk or Kalahari.net). Rob Bell of Mars Hill also uses this approach in many of his books, sermons and videos. It is how the Bible should be interpreted. But more of that some other time.
First posted on 10 February 2009
I am an avid reader the New Scientist magazine. This magazine is obviously pro-evolution, and anti-creationism. Well, that’s what you’d think. They actually present very balanced articles on creation and religion, but have very little time for unthinking fundamentalist religion that poo-poos science. Or is just anti-scientific.
I believe that there is a way to harmonise science and religion (both are seeking truth, after all). I believe that there are great questions that Christians can ask scientists that help us all have excellent conversations about God, creation, eternity and so on. But the way in which many Christians approach science is counterproductive, and unhelpful.
Maybe I’ll come back to this issue sometime soon and talk about how I think we can harmonise science and religion. For now, for those of you interested in becoming better acquainted with science and creation, you may find the 24 myths and misconceptions about evolution to be very helpful. This is available from the New Scientist website – click here.
At very least, it will help you stop sounding like a moron when you speak to people who have done some work in scientific fields. And maybe this is something you should hearing at church more regularly.
Continue reading Creation and evolution Myths →
Originally posted on 7 May, 2007
I attended a conference in Uganda in 2007 which was a significant moment in my “emerging church” journey. It as the first time I really understood that the “stories” of my faith were incomplete, and that a future church would need to find new ways of expressing what it meant to be church. The talk I make available below was one of those “aha” moments for me. I hope it can be for you, too.
A message by Claude Nikondeha, from Burundi, delivered at Amahoro Gathering in Uganda
Download the MP3 recording here
The sections marked (GC) in italics are my commentary, not Claude’s words. This is a message we should be hearing at church, but are not.
The problem with a Gospel that only promises release when Jesus returns, is that Jesus has not yet returned. The people are not released – they live in suffering, poverty, famine and wars.
“The Gospel is not a doctrinal formula for the salvation of the individual but it is the Good News of God’s movement through Jesus Christ to carry out his purpose for the entire human race.” Rene Padilla
Jesus did not come to announce an evacuation plan, but a transformation plan.
Continue reading The Transformational Gospel vs the Evacuation Gospel →
Originally posted on 11 Nov 2009
Recently, Dr Rowan Williams gave an excellent speech on the issue of our responsibility towards Creation and a Christian response to environmental crises. The Bible has a clear message about caring for the environment – not just for the here and now, but also because at the end of time this planet will be renewed and restored to pre-Fall glory and be the paradise heaven of God’s Kingdom.
I don’t agree with everything Dr Williams says, but his message is well made and worth listening to. You can read it on his own website, listen to it online (42Mb MP3), or see an extract below.
Continue reading The Archbishop of Canterbury on Global Warming →