The trouble with contemplative prayer…

A few months ago, at one of my regular curate review meetings, someone asked me about my ‘spirituality’ and asked me what sort of thing I did – “such as contemplative prayer”. Up until a few years ago I’d never heard of contemplative prayer, but when I was at college I did a course on…

Islam, extremism and political correctness

I’ve had a growing sense of frustration over the last few weeks and months. A lot of airtime has been devoted to the “so-called Islamic State” (as the BBC always says) and the many acts of terrorism which have been so much in the news. My frustration stems from the fact that so often politicians and…

Brexit, politics, and counterfeit gods

Every so often I am asked to contribute a short piece to end our local spoken news service – the Tendring Talking Times. This was my contribution for this week. It seems like the world is going mad at the moment. The Brexit vote a few weeks ago triggered an avalanche of bad feeling in…

Brexit and the decline of Christian understanding

The last few days I have felt particularly ashamed to be British. Not because the country voted to leave the EU, but because of the backlash following it. I appreciate that many people felt deeply unhappy with the result – it’s natural and understandable. Many people believed that leaving the EU was the wrong decision….

Cathy Warwick and Pro-Choice Logic

Cathy Warwick has been in the news lately – she signed the Royal College of Midwives up to support a legal campaign for the removal of abortion limits in the UK. (Currently, if a woman undergoes an abortion outside of the law, it is a criminal offence.) This would effectively allow abortion to happen up until…

Hymnology: And can it be – "My chains fell off…"

Last weekend I travelled down to High Leigh for a residential weekend with my fellow curates in the Chelmsford Diocese. On Friday evening we sang ‘And can it be’, one of my favourite hymns and one of Charles Wesley’s finest (in my opinion). The hymn tells the story of salvation from a first person perspective…

Bigotry and legalism in our culture

Three years ago, I lamented the use of the word “bigot” especially in the context of same-sex marriage. In the last week or so, I’ve read a couple of other things which have really said what I wanted to say much better. Firstly, Brendan O’Neill writes about “The New Bigots” as he considers the treatment…

Reflections on the same-sex marriage debate within the church

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been involved with a Facebook group set up to discuss same-sex marriage (SSM) within the church. This has been set up as the CofE undergoes a “shared conversations” process to talk about the issue. This has been the first time I’ve really spent much time actually talking with people within the…

On God "Herself"

“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” (John 1:18) On Twitter today, something of a kerfuffle has broken out about whether it’s right to call God using feminine pronouns – ‘her’, ‘herself’, etc. John Bingham…