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Showing posts from December, 2017

Putting lighter fuel on the bonfire!

John 1.1-16 A few weeks ago my daughter went out and bought a Christmas candle. That night she decided to light it. Everything was fine until, after an hour, the whole thing suddenly burst into flame.

Fortunately my daughter was in the room, the candle was extinguished and no harm was done. But then she took a fateful decision. She decided to put a post on Facebook warning her friends about the candle and asking them to pass on the news about its dangers.

Within a few hours the post had gone viral and within a couple of days it had been shared more than 300,000 times. Journalists began ringing the house. The story appeared on lots of local newspaper websites around the country, on the BBC website, and on The Sun and The Daily Mail websites. My brother-in-law even rang to tell us it was on Teletext. I didn't know that Teletext still existed! TV crews asked to visit the house, but my daughter politely declined.

This turned out to be a good idea, because  already people were trolling he…

What kind of church?

Deuteronomy 12.1-10, 26-27 A debate rages within the modern European Church of all denominations. As church attendance and membership fall, and more and more local churches are forced to close, people ask should we give up the struggle to keep as many community based churches open as we can and instead fall back upon centres of mission, from which we could make occasional forays out into the wider area around each one. People are even asking whether churches might have to take a new form in future. Perhaps we will have to meet together in a virtual church online. Perhaps we will have to commute from time to time to larger gatherings in the cities, just as we commute to work and to shop. Deuteronomy envisages and indeed champions this sort of religious practice and organisation. The writer aims to sweep away the local hill shrines where people had traditionally gone to slaughter their animals and then offer part of the best animal as a sacrifice to God. When I was a minister in a small to…