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How To Speak to Yourself

flowers in a bittles

Recently I was looking for something to read. When we cleared out my parents’ house one of the hardest things to deal with was the books. Did they have some boring looking books –  and my mum had become something of a regular visitor to charity shops towards the end! But as someone who loves books it was hard to just throw them. So they have been sitting on my shelf for several years, and now I was packing for a holiday with nothing to read. In the end I just reached out, picked something off the shelf and zipped up the suitcase.


Posted in: Devotional

Coincidence – Leave me alone!

Santa Maria Church Majocar

When we go on our family holiday we always have what the girls refer to as ‘boring parent days‘. And I am pleased to say that in Spain we managed to get not one, or two but three ‘boring parent days’. On one of these I had one of those little experiences of God that leaves me wondering.


Posted in: Devotional Walking with Jesus

Micah – what’s it about and why was it written?

Micah preaching gy Gustave Doré

Micah lived in a time in which there was great exploitation of the middle and lower classes by the ruling, Jewish elite. He is appalled at what is going on, and his book is written largely in response. It contains many different styles of writing, and includes some very well know passages that have become part of the churches lexicon – good thing?

Whilst this is quite a technical paper, I found the opportunity to study a book about which I knew nothing most rewarding. I know it raises some difficult questions, especially the violence motiff – with its usual set of questions, ethical side-steps and misunderstandings… All I’ll say here  is that we need to remember that the bible records the spiritual journey of a people as their understanding, like ours, progresses. I certainly am reflecting at length on this as i write.


Posted in: Essays

Three Points from 2 Peter 2

Three different questions were raised with me after the talk I gave on 2 Peter 2 at Brig. I thought I’d quickly respond to them here.

I do appreciate the conversations and the feedback so feel free to keep the conversation going if you’re interested.

What were those ‘Celestial Beings?’

In 2Peter2:10, speaking of false teachers, Peter writes ‘Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings’

I mentioned how there was a lot of debate about the word/phrase translated ‘celestial beings’ – a better translation of it seems to be ‘glories’ – so the question is what does Peter mean by the glories. I spoke about two possible translations – ‘dignitaries’ in the sense of those in authority and ‘angels’ (note there is no reference to good or bad angels). A third option was mentioned to me, which I did come across i my reading – that of it being the ‘apostles’ – so the false teachers were abusing the apostles – the glories. Whilst indeed this is in the commentaries that I read, it didn’t seem that popular – but it is interesting option.

Am I A Heretic?


Posted in: new testament

Spirit Baptism. Karl Barth vs those joyful Pentecostalists.

Barth on the cover of Time Magazine

This essay was within the field called ‘systematics’ – which is about drawing out doctrines from the whole teaching of scripture. In this essay I chose to look at the differences between Barth and Pentecostalism. I grew up under a synthesis of Evangelicism and Pentecostalism. Barth has been described as the ‘Most influential theologian since Thomas Aquinas’ – and no, I don’t have a reference for that.

What I found is Barth waffles. Strong statement? Maybe. His ‘Dogmatics’ runs to 13 volumes. Fortunately, his writing on the baptism in the Spirit runs to around 30 pages. Interesting?


Posted in: Essays

Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa

gregory of Nyssa and Augustine of hyppo

This was a stonker of an essay, which was both a joy and a pain to write. Both of these theologians wrote masses of material. Augustine is in some sense known as the Father of the Western Church, and much of what we believe in the West goes back to him. Interestingly, I recently heard some Orthodox Theologians expresses the opinion that Augustine was a heretic … when considering some of his views. Gregory was new to me, and I was so impacted by him that I am considering doing something on him for my dissertation.

The subject matter of this essay is not for the timid evangelical who doesn’t want to have their reading of scripture challenged. When the eastern and western churches ‘branched off’ they each took some unique theology with them. In my opinion the east has A LOT to teach us.

I couldn’t get enough of the Gregory of Nyssa. What a depth. What an insight. Perhaps the same is true of Augustine, but given the subject matter I’d take the East any time.

Read on… if you dare (well kind of)

Analyse and evaluate critically Eastern & Western views of human nature, sin and salvation evident in Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa as they write on the nature of the fall & God’s response.


Posted in: Devotional Patristics salvation

What’s the point for us of Lamentations?

The Book of Lamentations

I am sure I had read Lamentations before I opted for this essay – but I couldn’t really remember anything much about it. I knew it was a ‘depressing’ book, perhaps written by “weeping Jeremiah”, and that it was hard work.

How WRONG I WAS. The more I studied it, the more I fell in love with this book. It is so exquisitely put together, and the language is so brutally honest that I simply could not get enough. Its an anguished cry from the heart, and nothing is left unsaid. Such a short essay as this cannot begin to do  justice to the structure, let along the content.

I studied for it by a pool in the Canary Islands! At the same time Isis (IS etc) where rampaging their way through the Yazadi and Christian minority groups in Iraq. You couldn’t get a sharper conflict of situations, nor perhaps a more compelling reason to meditate upon the words of Lamentations.


Posted in: Devotional Essays

Jonathan Edward’s and the Little Awakening

Jonathan Edwards

This was one of the best essays I have had to write yet – I knew next to nothing about Jonathan Edwards – was I in for a treat! Coming from a scientific background I really appreciated Edward’s analytical approach which he applied to the Little Awakening. He left an enormous legacy of theological writing, and is regarded by some as the greatest theologian from America.

I for one, couldn’t get enough!


Posted in: Essays

The Implied Theology of the Healing Rooms

Healing rooms logo

For about two years I worked in the healing rooms, an international para-church organisation offering prayer for healing. The history of the Healing Rooms, based in Spokane is well worth a read, but for this essay I had to reflect on the shared beliefs of the group I worked with.  Some of these were obvious, such as ‘God still heals today,’ but as I reflected I realised that there were many assumed beliefs and practices that under girded what they did, and that a number of these were just assumed to be true.  Of course, this could be said about any ministry!

It is not my intention to knock the healing rooms. I was blessed by the people and the work. I both ministered and received ministry,  and learnt a lot on the journey. I shared the vision, and went week in week for nearly 2 years. It has been very interesting to look back though and consider what was going on!


Posted in: Essays

Paul and the Roman Empire

Augustus vs Paul

This was a ‘relatively’ easy essay in that the sources were quite straight forward. What really stuck me was just how much I have been a dualist – you know, its either ‘right’ or its ‘wrong’. So, I’d thought Paul must have either totally gone along with the Roman Empire, or totally not!

The more I read the more wonderfully subversive Paul became – he was a low grade anarchist, of sorts, and he knew how to play the system…  I am stuck by just how conservative the church has become and I for one need to adopt the astuteness of  the ‘Political Paul‘ and by inference the ‘Political Jesus’.


Posted in: Devotional