“Up, civil unrest!” (an Easter-ish reflection)
The Evangelical Liberal
by TheEvangelicalLiberal
1y ago
You may have come across the popular Easter-themed worship song “O Praise The Name (Anástasis)”. I like the song, but I’m amused that someone felt the need to add that biblical Greek subtitle. For those like me not fluent in biblical Greek, ‘Anástasis’ means ‘resurrection’… or also apparently ‘standing up’, ‘removal’, or sometimes recovery from a debilitating condition. Well, I guess death is fairly debilitating. However, when a friend studying Classics first encountered the song, her response was ‘Why have they called it “Up, civil unrest!”?’ This novel translation arose from splitting the wo ..read more
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Jesus the asylum seeker
The Evangelical Liberal
by TheEvangelicalLiberal
1y ago
Here in the UK we’re awash with negative political and media rhetoric about people arriving in small boats to claim asylum. My wife works with refugees and has written this 2-part Christmas reflection to put a different slant on the narrative: https://doyouspeakemoji.wordpress.com/2022/11/14/christmas-reflection-part-1/ https://doyouspeakemoji.wordpress.com/2022/11/14/christmas-reflection-part-2 ..read more
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Still Evangelical Liberal after all these years?
The Evangelical Liberal
by TheEvangelicalLiberal
1y ago
Astute longer-standing visitors to this blog may have noticed that I’ve been a bit absent for a while. Up till the end of 2016 I was posting monthly (ish), and then Stuff Happened, and I only posted twice in 2017, not at all in 2018 and just once in 2019. Last year with Covid lockdowns I gave it another go, but still only managed 4 posts. (And it turns out I forget what I’ve said and repeat myself, so I may well just have re-hashed the same post multiple times over the last few years.) Anyway, it’s been a while since I was blogging regularly, and a fair bit’s happened and changed in that time ..read more
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Covid questions – 2. Is it sent by God to punish sin?
The Evangelical Liberal
by TheEvangelicalLiberal
1y ago
Last time I was saying that one common religious response to strange and difficult times (such as our current Covid-19 situation) is to see them as a sign of the End Times – and that some people even find this strangely comforting. It means God’s in control (and is almost definitely on their side), and it gives an explanation for trials rather than them being random and meaningless. A similar and even more common religious response is to proclaim that what’s happening has been sent by God as a judgement for human sin – often for some particular sin of society (usually sexual) or of the church ..read more
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Covid questions – 3. What kind of God would send a pandemic?
The Evangelical Liberal
by TheEvangelicalLiberal
1y ago
Last time I was looking at whether pandemics and plagues are sent by God to punish sin, and concluded that (even in the Old Testament) the picture is a lot more complex than that. So did God actively send coronavirus or did he just allow it, and why? And perhaps as importantly, what do we really want to know when we ask these questions? What are we really asking? Aside from just intellectual curiosity (which seems a perfectly valid reason to me), I can think of at least 4 reasons we might be asking if and why God sent Covid-19… We might be trying to understand God’s character and nature; to d ..read more
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All together at the cross
The Evangelical Liberal
by TheEvangelicalLiberal
1y ago
Good Friday – Christ crucified. After nearly 2000 Good Fridays can there be anything fresh to say about the cross (and does there need to be)? One understanding of Good Friday is that on the cross, God – the Lord, maker, judge and ruler of everything – identifies with the very least, the lowest, the worst of humanity. On the cross God, in Jesus, takes on all our shame, our brokenness, our hurt, our badness, our alienation – all the worst and most unacceptable in us. That’s pretty flipping amazing. But I think it also has some surprising – even shocking – implications. God of both sides? On the ..read more
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Covid questions – 1. Is it the end of the world?
The Evangelical Liberal
by TheEvangelicalLiberal
1y ago
Well, we’re certainly all living in interesting times, as the old proverbial curse has it. Who even a few short months ago in 2019 could have predicted the situation we’re currently living through? (Who a few short months ago had even heard the terms Covid-19, self-isolation or social distancing which are now dominating all of our lives?) Covid-19, and the complete upheaval it’s caused to our world and our daily lives, has taken pretty much everyone by surprise. And of course it raises all sorts of questions, including a few spiritual and theological ones. Where is God in all this? Did he caus ..read more
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God bless America
The Evangelical Liberal
by TheEvangelicalLiberal
1y ago
You may have noticed that I haven’t been on this blog for a while – apologies for that. There Have Been Reasons. And also apologies for this song, which is likely to offend the more patriotically American of my readers, though it isn’t meant to: A few important caveats: (1) This is not a blanket Anti-American song, despite appearances – it’s really only aimed at President Donald J Trump, his government and his staunchest supporters. Most of it doesn’t apply to most Americans – I know that. (2) It’s satirical, so not meant to be taken entirely seriously. Nonetheless, I do apologise again ..read more
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Does light overcome darkness?
The Evangelical Liberal
by TheEvangelicalLiberal
1y ago
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” What does faith – especially Christian faith – mean? It’s something I’ve been pondering for a while now, particularly as so many aspects of Christian theology and practice, of the Bible, and of Church history and tradition have felt increasingly alienating to me. For some time I’ve found it increasingly hard to know whether to call myself a Christian – whether I even legitimately can, and whether I actually want to. I look at Christianity and I’m not sure it’s what I want to be part of. So perhaps the key question for me ..read more
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The Penitent Thief – a Good Friday reflection
The Evangelical Liberal
by TheEvangelicalLiberal
1y ago
A friend recently asked me who is the one person other than Jesus who we know to be in heaven, if we believe the gospel record. There may be other possible answers, but perhaps the clearest is the Penitent thief, or the Thief on the Cross – the one to whom Jesus says ‘today you will be with me in Paradise’. This story is one of the only obvious moments of light, hope and redemption within the unremitting horrors and darkness of the Good Friday narrative. Eleventh-hour conversion The Penitent thief is only featured in one gospel account (Luke’s). In Matthew’s and Mark’s ..read more
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