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Showing posts from 2014

World War I

Isaiah 49.13-19, Matthew 5.1-11
When I was born the First World War had been over for a little over 40 years. It seemed a long time ago when I was a child, but really it was recent history - more recent then than the moon landings or the assassination of President Kennedy are now. I knew people who had taken part in the War, most notably my grandfather, who had never talked about his experiences until I questioned him about them as a small boy. My grandfather's reticence didn't mean that the War was not important to him. Later, when he got Alzheimer's Disease, he formed the impression that my mother and father were military policemen and spent ages fumbling for his leave papers in an imaginary tunic pocket while repeating his service number over and over again. Throughout his adult life he also had terribly vivid dreams, during the worst of which he would kick my grandmother out of bed. They certainly weren't all about the War, but it's difficult to believe that som…

The Big Questions in Science

Matthew 13,13-17, Psalm 65.9-13

Last summer a book was published called The Big Questions in Science. I took a look at some of them - the ones I could understand - and I found that with many of the questions there was an intriguing connection with religion.
Scientists often argue that science and religion are incompatible, or at least that they're radically disconnected, and many theologians and spiritual thinkers would agree. After all, science is evidence based, religion is faith based. Yet the questions which fascinate science are often strikingly similar to the things which make up the spiritual quest of humankind. 
Admittedly that's not true of all the preoccupations of scientists and technologists.  The quest to find a robot which can look after granny while the rest of the family get on with their lives doesn't sit comfortably with the Old Testament injunction to honour older people. 
And I don't think there's much overlap between spirituality and the obsession…

I don't believe in an interventionist God

Matthew 28.1-10, 1 Corinthians 15.1-11 I like Nick Cave’s song because of its audacious first line: ‘I don’t believe in an interventionist God’. What an unlikely way to begin a love song! He once explained that he wrote the song while sitting at the back of an Anglican church where he had gone with his wife Susie, who presumably does believe in an interventionist God - at least that’s what the song says. Actually Cave has always been very interested in religion. Sometimes he calls himself a Christian, sometimes he doesn’t, depending on how the mood takes him. He once said, ‘I believe in God in spite of religion, not because of it.’ But his lyrics often include religious themes and he has also said that any true love song is a song for God. So maybe it’s no coincidence that he began this song in such an unlikely way, although he says the inspiration came to him during the sermon. The vicar was droning on about something when the first line of the song just popped into his head. I suspect …