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Why good people are divided by politics and religion.

Why do we speak past one another? Why do we think those who differ with us are evil?

Jonathan Haidt says that fundamentally it’s because we’ve built our understanding of what matters to us on different foundations. It’s not just that we come to different conclusions but that we get there for different reasons. We can’t see why someone would see the world a different way because their perspective is based on values that we don’t hold, which may even conflict with ours.

I’d seen psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s 2012 book cited in several articles and I engaged with that here. But, I’m really glad I followed up the footnotes to get a copy.

In the end, Haidt is appealing for us to seek to understand one another better, not to demonise those with whom we differ, and even to work together – each bringing our different strengths to the table.

The book is compelling and accessible if not brief – 375 pages plus 125 pages of footnotes and bibliography. I’m reminded of the Malcolm Gladwell book’s …
Recent posts

All is gift (Romans 9-10)

I preached through Romans 9-10 for our Student Weekend recently.  Due to a tech-fail, these are re-records of the talks if you're interested.

Feel the pain of grace (Romans 9v1-14)

Grace leads to praying (Romans 9v14-10v1)

Proclaim his grace (Romans 10v1-21)


Church Planting in the Secular West

I've appreciated reading Stefan Paas' book Church Planting in the Secular West recently. Lots of church planting enthusiasm comes from the USA which is fine and understandable, but the US context is so different to Western Europe, which is significantly less-Christianised culturally and far more secular.

So I was glad to see Paas' study recommended late last year in a journal and have enjoyed reading it. I'm still mulling it over but here are a few thoughts and choice quotes:

As far as Western Europe is concerned, there is no reason to believe in the general truth of sweeping statements like ‘church planting is the best evangelistic methodology under heaven’ (p180)

Appreciating Paas' survey of the European church context, debunking of much common church planting rhetoric, while making a case for church's - new and old - to be mission-minded, which might mean church planting.

How much church planting talk argues for more and better churches? How much is either …

Awesome Cutlery

This is Awesome Cutlery is a kids CD and devotional which I received a review copy of from 10ofthose.com
I'm so glad I did!

Included between the songs are short funny sketches featuring the adventures of Captain Awesomeness and his sidekick Cutlery Boy. These superheroes face different situations inbetween some cracking songs.

In a stroke of genius the Goldsworth/Roberts 'God's people in God's place under God's rule and blessing' has been put to music, and that's alongside songs about God's word, about creation and God's rescue plan. For me, "It's a new, new day" stands out



Gareth Loh, Dan Adams and friends have put together a punch resource that is running on repeat in our car, and comes with an accompanying devotional that we've used less - mostly because the CD can't leave the car. I hope we'll use some of the songs in church and I'd recommend this to other families in the church to use with their kids.


Awesomecutlery…

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

What Wondrous Love Is This?

What Wondrous Love Is This is a southern spiritual first published in 1811. It has appeared regularly in hymnbooks since the 1960s.

1 What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul? 2 When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
when I was sinking down, sinking down;
when I was sinking down beneath God's righteous frown,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul. 3 To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing,
to God and to the Lamb, I will sing;
to God and to the Lamb who is the great I AM -
while millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
while millions join the theme, I will sing. 4 And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on;
and when from death I’m free, I’ll si…

Preaching The Song of Songs

I've been preaching Christ from The Song of Songs this term. It's a daunting task and I feel my own weakness and limits faced with the task. Still 10 of 11 weeks done, one to go.

My interest in The Song stems from reading the affectionate puritan Richard Sibbes' sermons which are devotionally rich and deliciously Christ-focussed. Thanks Mike Reeves for steering me to Sibbes.

I edited and self-published some of Sibbes 20 sermons a few years ago. They’re for sale at cost price via Lulu or you can ask me for a PDF copy. http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?contributorId=1051001

Resources on The Song vary considerably depending on the approach to the text. Some read it as simply about human relationships, some as exclusively about Christ and the church.

My approach has been a both Christ & the church and human relationships approach and that shapes who I've found most helpful. The text isn't easy to work with, and most people have never heard it preached before. …