Muriel Porter has been attacking Sydney Anglicans for years. In synods, committees, and in print, she has vociferously opposed the position of the Diocese of Sydney on a whole range of issues. Never very far from the surface, though, is her anger at the diocese’s attitude towards female priests and bishops. (more…)
What follows are some of my personal reflections on the ministries of women, whether they’re staff members in a church or involved in everyday ministry with others. Some of what I have to say is more applicable for women employed as a member of a pastoral staff team, but most of it is also about normal Christian discipleship and ministry in any context. These thoughts are what I’ve come to see as important not only for women in ministry roles, but also for men who wish to support them in their ministry.
Let’s do a thought experiment. You and some friends are on a desert island, and you’ve never heard of Jesus before. All you’ve got is a Bible, some blank sheets of paper and some pencils (and food, clothes and shelter—it’s a well-equipped sort of desert island). (more…)
“Labels are for boxes and dieters” a friend told me after I asked him his theological
persuasion. Many of my new Christian friends tell me basically the same thing. Most of them are under the age of forty, and none of them want to be labelled. They don’t want to identify themselves as Baptist or Presbyterian or Calvinist or conservative. They just want to be known as Bible-believing Christians. (more…)
Tony Payne: Phillip, you’ve been in ministry for quite a long time…
Phillip Jensen: Well, ever since I became a Christian; that’s when you start ministering, and that was back in ’59. (more…)
I’ve been reflecting on how horrible teenagers can be. Here’s a quick pen portrait.
Teenagers find it very difficult to believe that the world does not revolve around them. They live in a self-regarding bubble, and cannot for the life of them see why things shouldn’t be organized for their convenience. They are quite happy to take, but reluctant to give. And although they do a lot of taking (and others do a lot of giving) words of thanksgiving are rarely on their lips. (more…)
A few years ago, our family of six left a congregation full of parents with young children, and joined a church made up mostly of university students.1 This wasn’t an ideological statement on our part: it was simply because my husband works in university ministry, and that’s where we needed to be at the time. But it’s made me aware of some of the benefits and costs of going to church with people from a different age and stage from your own.
I was preaching on Ecclesiastes 3 yesterday, and made what I guess is the pretty familiar point that although we experience meaning in our daily lives, we also experience the frustration, bewilderment and ‘vanity’ of life under the sun. We know that there is a bigger story—there is eternity in our hearts—and so we see the beauty or appropriateness of different things that happen (a time for this and a time for that). And yet God has also made sure that we “cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” (v. 11). There is a frustrating opacity to life that is meant to humble us, and lead us to fear God (v. 14). (more…)
If you’ve been going to Sunday church services for as long as I have, you will no doubt have a list of things that you don’t find very edifying (i.e. things that drive you nuts). But what should we do about this all-too-common lack of quality in our church gatherings? (more…)
In all the Solas of the Reformation (by Scripture alone, by faith alone, by grace alone, through Christ alone, glory to God alone), there’s nothing about Christians being alone. Quite the opposite: we are brought in to a new community with others. Hebrews 10:19-25 shows us the twin bases of confidence we have for approaching God that then impact on Christian fellowship: the blood of Jesus provides a new way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place; and we have a great high priest over the house of God. (more…)
Last post I argued that Davies, Pratchett, Whedon, and Adams handle death far more empathically and sensitively than is New Atheism’s tendency. It is similar when it comes to meaning in life. These writers do not agree with each other about the answer to the meaning of life, but they all share far more in common than they do with New Atheism. (more…)