Showing posts from November, 2011

Advent Sunday

This year I want to skip Advent and go straight to Christmas. Not the presents-and-turkey bit, but the Jesus bit. It seems to me that one good way of getting ready for the coming of Christ into the world is to spend a bit of time thinking about his birth, and what it means. This morning we read Matthew 1:18-25, and I was struck again by this: All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel— which means, God with us. God with us. I'm sure Matthew is not just grabbing a convenient Bible quote to make his point, but telling us something deeply significant about the incarnation. God with us. How many people are convinced that God is with them? So many have concluded the opposite - that he isn't with us at all. And would God have any reason to want to be with us anyway? It is what we want, though. We need somebody on our side. In life, we seek support from the

Bonkers Bible plan titillates Twitter and incenses NSS

Thanks to Phil Ritchie for alerting me to today's news that every school in the country is to receive a King James Bible to commemorate the 400th anniversary of that hugely important edition. Phil's piece on his blog is lucid and succinct as usual. This is a great Friday evening story. There's part of me that really wants this to be a good idea. Certainly it's further evidence that we are living under a political regime that no longer seems to think that faith and religion are shameful concepts that need to be banished from view. It's easier to have the public discussion about Church, the Bible, and even Jesus now than it has been for years. And anything that causes such annoyance to the National Secular Society is welcomed by Always Hope. This is not because I'm hostile to Humanists, but the fact that the NSS so rapidly disappears up its own fundamental orifice when something like this happens shows what a silly, petty, and irrelevant organisation it is.  &

Have the Bishops got it right on benefits cap?

18 Church of England Bishops have s igned an open letter criticising the Government's proposed cap on benefits. The 18, who all sit in the House of Lords apart from Truro's own Tim Thornton, who is Chair of the trustees of the Children's Society, say they have a "moral obligation" to speak out. It's a brave move by the Bishops to speak out in a way that is hardly going to get much popular support - the benefits cap is likely to be a popular policy out in middle England. And why not? If Bishops don't speak on behalf of those who no-one else cares about, then who will? But are they actually right? What the 18 are actually proposing is more subtle and constructive than it might at first appear, something that will elude the commentators who this week will inevitably castigate the Bishops for bleeding-heart liberalism. In fact they are not opposing the cap as such, but John Packer, Bishop of Ripon & Leeds, has tabled five amendments which aim reduc

Lest we forget