Christian Life

Listen to the gospel writers: Jesus and his family

Wed, 22/03/2017 - 11:48 -- James Oakley

I often tell people that we need to listen to the gospel writers whenever we read the gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke or John are teaching us something by recording the things they do. We need to let them do that. The words Jesus spoke within the gospels were spoken to other characters in the narrative, not to us directly. Our job is not to apply those words to us, but to ask what the gospel writer is wishing to communicate by recording those words in the setting they occur in.

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Melchizedek

Wed, 15/03/2017 - 11:15 -- James Oakley

A little while back, the Church of England's weekday lectionary spent some time in Hebrews 7 and Genesis 14. So it was, that I found myself trying to explain as simply as possible why the hard-to-pronounce character of Melchizedek is such good news to have in the Bible.

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How to become a Christian gradually but still get there

Wed, 01/03/2017 - 12:22 -- James Oakley
Closer and closer, but do they ever meet
Image Credit: Colin Jagoe

Many people today move towards the Christian faith gradually. Maybe they have friends who are Christians, with whom they talk. They start to attend a local church. Maybe they attend a course such as Christianity Explored or Alpha. Gradually, things come alive for them. The God they talk about seems more real; they understand more of the Bible when they read it; the worship is something they're glad to join in with; church is somewhere they belong.

Many readers of this blog will be able to identify with just such a gradual move towards the Christian faith.

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Who is the trouble-maker?

Fri, 24/02/2017 - 13:26 -- James Oakley
Godfrey, the trouble-making parrot

The Gossipy Parrot by Shen Roddie, a story that our children used to love: Godfrey, the parrot loved to make trouble. He used to tell tales on the other animals - "Gorrila says that bee has stung his own bottom." "He does, does he?", says bee - and off he goes to get even. One day the lion decided to teach Godfrey a lesson. He fed him all kinds of juicy snippets: "The trouble maker says that crocodile has false teeth", which Godfrey would faithfully relay to crocodile.

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It really is time to choose

Wed, 15/02/2017 - 21:05 -- James Oakley

Yesterday, I wrote about the debate before the Church of England's General stood as to whether to take note of the House of Bishops' report into human sexuality.

I explained that the document, and the process that led to it, was all about "good disagreement" - how can traditionalists and progressives get along together without falling out.

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How far inland is Jerusalem

Tue, 13/12/2016 - 12:08 -- James Oakley
Jerusalem

It turns out you shouldn't believe everything you read on the internet. Or at least, if the internet gives you some information, use a bit of common sense to check you've been given an answer that feels right, rather than just taking things uncritically and at face value.

I wanted to know how far it was from Jerusalem to the Mediterranean.

So I asked Google:

From Jerusalem to the Sea - take 1

You what? 1000 miles?

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With what rapture

Sun, 04/12/2016 - 15:26 -- James Oakley

It's Advent, which traditionally has two focii.

The season is about preparing for the coming of Christ. The more obvious half of that is preparing to celebrate Christmas. The other side to it is about the final return of Christ to this world, when he comes to judge the living and the dead, to usher in the new heavens and the new earth, and to free the cosmos from its bondage to decay. What we, slightly mistakenly, call the "second coming". We remind ourselves that it's coming, and we prepare ourselves for it.

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