A blue plaque for Jesus

Having been given the title “A blue plaque nativity” for a talk to kick off one parish’s thinking about Christmas, I decided to start the talk with such a plaque, and the question of what people would put on it. One feature, of course, which makes it such a good way in to the gospel narratives, is that a blue plaque is always about event and interpretation.

Anyway, this is what I came up with for my discussion starter.

Throwing Cranmer out at Constantinople

It seems the agreed statement of the Anglican–Oriental Orthodox International Commission last month has barely been noticed. (The story is here, the picture above is the official photo of the statement’s signing, and the statement – PDF – is here.) Possibly this is because it only talked about revising the creed, rather than about sex. However, since it cites as accepted theological agreement previous statements which likewise sunk without trace, perhaps it too is seeking to become doctrine by stealth.

Now, that’s a tendentious way to put it, but – apart from previous statements read only by the cognoscenti – it rides on the back of little more than a Lambeth Conference motion (Lambeth Conference 1978 Resolution 35.3) which requested Continue reading “Throwing Cranmer out at Constantinople”

Biblical Studies Carnival for October 2017

Welcome to the Carnival

Coming back to host a Biblical Studies Carnival many years after I last did so (but that was on another website and besides the blog is dead), I’m struck by how much things have changed. The biggest of those changes – at least as I see it – over the intervening years is the present lack of interaction among bloggers compared to the past.

From time to time in recent years there has been an occasional flurry of posts, when the big beasts of the bibliobloggging jungle have bestirred themselves, but those are rare and tied to controversies like the Gospel of Jesus Wife, or the Jordanian Lead Codices.

No such major alleged forgery has brought bloggers together around the same topic in October, and so this carnival is a personal selection of largely disconnected posts (with one or two actual interactive conversations) that have for one reason or another caught my eye. (A note of thanks is owed to Bob MacDonald who was helpful in drawing a number of posts to my attention, many of which I have included below.)

So, on with the Carnival. I hope you find it informative, and even, possibly, just slightly entertaining. Continue reading “Biblical Studies Carnival for October 2017”

Vetting the bishop and other #FakeNews

“Health and Safety gone mad” is one of those perennial Daily Fail stories designed to inspire rising levels of anger and frustration in their readers. Such stories are aimed at further disgusting the eponymous resident of Tunbridge Wells, and are always worth dosing with the sauce of scepticism.

It is in such a spirit that I approached their latest weekend offering

Top headmaster blasts terror rules that meant he had to vet a sermon by Eton’s Church of England chaplain

There may have been a brief pause after the Grenfell tower tragedy caused a number of anti-EU journalists and politicians to swallow their calls for a post-Brexit bonfire of health and safety regulations, but it looks as though normal service is now being resumed. Continue reading “Vetting the bishop and other #FakeNews”

Lost in translations?

translation cover imageAt the start of the week, Scot McKnight posted about a new translation of the New Testament. This, by Orthodox lay theologian David Bentley Hart, won’t be published in the UK until January.

I confess that my first reaction is, “Another one?” It is hard not to see the continuous production of published NT translations, meeting some perceived lack of scriptural accuracy, as something of a first-world problem.

In these brief remarks, I’m reliant on McKnight’s post and what little I can see from Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. Continue reading “Lost in translations?”

Praying for the health service

As part of a diocesan resource to help people pray this St Luke’s tide for the health service, I’ve written these propers for a eucharist (although some of them can obviously be used outside the context of eucharistic worship). I thought I’d post below a slightly edited version here for others also to use as they wish. The full resource is available from our diocesan website. I’m assuming people will use the collect of St Luke’s day. Continue reading “Praying for the health service”

BC, BCE, and the hypocrisy of academic dating

Fighting between dating systems

One indicator of changing attitudes to Christianity is the lessening degree of outrage over the evergreen argument about replacing BC/AD with BCE/CE in dates. Yesterday’s Telegraph had the latest iteration of this hardy perennial. It was a relatively restrained and educational account, despite a word from zombie archbishop George Carey.

A number of [school] authorities have already adopted the policy, while several more are reported to be considering making the switch from the traditional to the more politically-correct chronological form compulsory.

Compare this with the version in the Evening Standard some 15 years ago, and one can see that a choleric splutter is on its way to becoming a resigned shrug. Continue reading “BC, BCE, and the hypocrisy of academic dating”

Biblical Studies Carnival

Phil Long has posted the Biblical Studies Carnival round-up for September. These carnivals – a long-standing blog tradition – are always a good way to discover new blogs or posts you may have missed, and Phil’s is no exception.

But let this also serve as notice that I shall be hosting the October carnival on this blog, which will be posted on 1 November. (I last did one a long time ago, on a blog far, far away, scattered many moons since on the winds of cyberspace.)

If you have posts to which you wish to draw my attention for that round-up, then leave a link in the comments here.

Living comfortably: the fiction of a stipend?

Living Ministry Research Project logo

This week’s Church Times reported “Clergy living comfortably“. However, my eye was caught by the paragraph that suggested all was not quite as well as the headline suggested.

Overall, about three-quarters of respondents indicated that, financially, they were “living comfortably’ or “doing all right’. Eighty-two per cent of ordained respondents were able to draw on other sources of income than that received for ministry. Those unable to do so were “much more likely to struggle financially’, with several reporting dependency on tax credits and benefits.

It took a while to track down the report, which appeared to be referenced neither in the CT report, nor on the C of E website in any obvious place. It turns out the project is on one of the many proliferating branded sites. Continue reading “Living comfortably: the fiction of a stipend?”

Ten: a photographic selection

I’ve taken advantage of a few days’ leave to tackle one of those tasks I’ve never really found the energy to get round to: cataloguing, winnowing, and keywording my photos. Here are ten of those I was pleased (for one reason or another) to reacquaint myself with.