Author Archives: maxelcat

Bringing Down the Fence

motorway covered in smog

In the last post we considered the division that existed between the Jewish people and the Gentiles, ie everyone else, in the time of Jesus. A ‘fence’ between them had been erected that protected the Jews from ethical decay, forbidding intermarriage, cultural appropriation or even eating with Gentiles. According to Williamson Jews saw Gentiles as […]

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That Dividing Wall

Hardians Wall

As a child I soon learnt that I had a rare, somewhat deliberating condition. This aliment, because that’s how this condition seemed to me, often left me feeling like a ‘side dish’ as the kids say today. There seemed to be a code, that the other males fell seamlessly inline with. Despite my best efforts […]

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A Different Way of Seeing?

a cabbage

In this post we look in a little detail at what it means to be dead – no not like that. How did Christ make us alive according to Paul? We also see that a cabbage has much to teach us of the Divine Realm. But we begin with The Essenes. The Essenes, authors of […]

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Bullet Points for Paul

bouncy balls

Ever found yourself floundering as you read Paul’s letters? Do you wonder if you’re missing something? Do you start reading a chapter full of determination, and then find yourself at verse 5 thinking about if you’ve fed the dog with little idea of what you have just read? If you are someone who finds Paul […]

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Hark the Herald Angels Sing – Part 3

stormy sea

Previously in the first two verses we marveled (!) at how Wesley and Whitfield were able to paint such a cornucopia of theological goodness in so few words. We considered the barrage of triggers that were thrown at the singer by phrases such as ‘joyful all ye nations rise’ and ‘pleased as man with man […]

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Hark the Herald – part 2

stormy sea

In the first part of this mini- series on Hark The Herald Angels Sing I got excited about verse 1, where the writers of this awesome carol describe the manifestation into our physical realm of the angelic realm and God’s presence. Celebrating the day of Jesus’ birth leads to the final restoration of the nations […]

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Hark The Herald Angels Sing

stormy sea

Hark The Herald Angels sing is a fantastic romp through some truly inspiring theology. It is too good to be only sung at Christmas – its going to feature at my funeral. The more mystically minded Christians speak about the participation with God as being like swimming in the sea. You can paddle in the […]

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Languages are Definitely Not For Me.

School was a funny old time. The seven years at secondary were not the happiest years of my life, not by a long shot. My school was very academic, and pushy, which was ok as long as I could keep my head down. I was that child who was into things. Electronics. Astronomy. Woodwork. Punk […]

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Abelard – The Look of Love

logs on fire

In the previous post we looked at the Satisfaction Theory of the atonement. As we saw, this was developed by Anselm who drew heavily from the honour based culture of the middle ages in which he lived. Now we turn to look at a theory which does not seem have its focus in any cultural […]

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Anselm – On being Satisfied

a knight looking satisfied

Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)[1] – considered by some to be one of the greatest Christian thinkers – wrote a much loved book called ‘Cur Deus Homo’ – ‘Why Did God become Human?’ In this he has a dialogue with one of his students, who goes by the superb name of ‘Boso’. Boso wants to understand […]

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Made for worship…

chameleons vox

First published this post in October 2011…. having re-read it I figured it deserved another shot. Just had an interesting  moment! Running “Spotify” on my phone, plugged into the Hi Fi, listening to “What does anything mean, basically” by The Chameleons  – and its been a number of years since I heard it. Nearly every song evokes a strong, significant […]

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Irenaeus Explains the Atonement.

ball of tangled wool

This post carries on the introduction to the recapitulation theories that were framed by Irenaeus (130-202). Irenaeus was taught by Polycarp, who in turn heard sermons preached by a certain John the Evangelist. Imagine what that must have been like – to meet first generation apostle – someone who knew Jesus the man? So, we […]

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Irenaeus and two Early Atonement Theories

christ the champion

At long last it is time to launch into one of the theories of the atonement, or more correctly one of the early church Father’s writings about atonement. In study group one of these went down very easily, and the other required a bit more wrestling. I could see that their horizons were being opened […]

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What it means to be a theological child

parrots and a tower block

Recently it has been suggested to me that God does not want us to question the ‘how’ of Christianity. Surely God wants us to have a child-like faith they suggest. I never quite understand what people mean when they use that phrase. I sense an implied criticism, though probably none was meant. I have also […]

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A Constellation of Images

constellation of leo

In the last post I introduced two of the creeds. These are recited week in week out by Christians the world over. Given that these blogs are written to support a study on atonement why take this detour into something seemingly so off topic? Simples. These creeds were written at a time when the church […]

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The Creeds

nicene councilby Fresco in Capella Sistina, Vatican

I have become increasingly interested in how the beliefs of Christianity developed. Yawn yawn… Sure, history is cool, but more important to me is how our following of Jesus is to be understood and lived out in a society has changed so dramatically since the documents we use were written. There are gigantic shifts going […]

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What does ‘Atonement’ actually mean?

As you might know I was/am a teacher – having done some 14 years in the classroom. During my time in secondary schools I watched several wonderful new ‘initiatives’ that were ‘bound to raise attainment’ come into fashion and then quietly fade off the agenda as the mandarins at the top of the profession altered […]

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Atonement – plunging in

Edward's siummer reading list on atonement

I began to think about doing a series on the ‘Atonement’ in life group as soon as life group started – sometime in September 2018. I plunged into the idea during July 2019. I began by getting the group to share testimonies, which was very good – though not as I thought it would be […]

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The Fall – Consequences – Part 2

a huge cloud of dust engulfs a farm

In consequences – part 1 we started by saying that on one level the effects of the fall are only too obvious as we look around us. We now have experiential knowledge of evil. We then began to dig into the often stated maxim that you become what you worship focusing on the loss or […]

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Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament

Curried Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament

John D. Currid, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 1997 Reading this book has been really eye opening. As someone who has always nurtured an interest in ancient Egypt, but have been rarely with any opportunity to express it, I could hardly contain my anticipation on opening it. Currid is an associate professor of Old Testament, and […]

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