Is ‘inclusion’ a Christian virtue?

Most people reading the title above will wonder what the debate is about—but in different directions. Some will say ‘of course is it’ and others ‘of course it isn’t’. The latest title in the Grove Ethics series explores this vexed question and is a powerful and important stu

Source: Is ‘inclusion’ a Christian virtue?

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Anglican Communion futures

Well said…and let’s pray that all in attendance may come with a heart for unity, a passion for Christ, and a desire to listen, both to God and one another

Nick Baines's Blog

It was announced yesterday that the Archbishop of Canterbury has invited the Primates of the Anglican Communion to Canterbury in January 2016 to discuss the (futures) of their relationships and organisation.

Note that he has ‘invited’ them. This has been translated into media-speak as ‘summonsed’. First, he cannot summons them or demand that they come. He is not a pope. So, the translation from invitation to summons is either lazy journalese or deliberate obfuscation.

Secondly, contrary to much reporting, he has not decided on these futures, but has put everyhting on the table in order that the Primates together can discuss and decide on their future shape.

What is so hard to understand about this?

It seems to me that the Archbishop of Canterbury has shown some clear leadership here by (a) insisting that the continuing and debilitating Communion issues now be confronted and addressed and resolved, and (b) that…

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Songs of Praise from Calais

Well said at all levels…

Nick Baines's Blog

So, the BBC is being hounded again as if the producers are leftie, hand-wringing imbeciles. Songs of Praise is coming from Calais, and some people don’t like it. Nothing to do with the French, of course.

Songs of Praise usually gets slagged off for being … er …Songs of Praise. Often the critique is that it is bland or anodyne. Well, not now it isn’t.

The decision to record in the Jungle of Calais, right at the heart of where migrants are trying desperately to find a new life in a place of safety, is absolutely the right one. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Christian Faith is about God in the real world, not relegated to some imaginary fairy land where it can’t do any harm or embarrass anyone. The Psalms – the hymn book Jesus used – are full of lament, question, anger, frustration and challenge: why do…

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The real Church of England

Nick Baines's Blog

The Church of England is investing a huge amount of time and energy into re-shaping its agenda. Not in order to bolster the institution, but in order to get us back (amid a million claims on attention) to our core vocation: to make and nurture disciples of Jesus Christ; to grow disciples who pray into ministers who evangelise; to shape churches that give themselves away in serving their communities. Not simply growing churches for the sake of having big churches, but growing churches in all our communities – even and especially where it is tough.

I am working with lay and ordained Anglican disciples to shape a diocese that places worship, evangelism, nurture and service at the heart of our life. This will shape our priorities, how we raise and allocate our resources (of people, money and ‘stuff’), and how we shape and work our structures. We are attending seriously…

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Conditional Faith

What would you say is the time when our faith is perhaps challenged the most? Is it when we are going through very very hard and trying times, or is it when everything is going well?

There is much to be said in either case. It makes us question what faith actually is. We cannot go through life with a conditional faith, where either consciously or subconsciously we say to God “I will believe if…” We cannot go through life where our faith is like a barometer of our experiences, i.e. we are strong in the faith when things are going well, but begin to wobble at the first sign of difficulty.

But neither can we go through life where we think we only need faith in the bad times and we can set our faith to one side when everything is going as we would like it. We can be very fickle about these things…I know I have been at times.

God is present and with us through the good times and the bad times. We so need to practice an awareness of his presence. That can be hard in the times we are hard pressed on every side. As we approach the cross, I invite you to read 2 Corinthians 4:8-12. May we have the grace and wisdom to allow it to speak into our prayers and that is Jesus is revealed more fully to us, our faith may be constant and true.

Love, actually

They say that a picture paints a thousand words. But you know what? Even one word can set people free. Dare to be a dreamer for God’s Kingdom, and dare to release the poet inside.

Nick Baines's Blog

This is the text of this morning’s Pause for Thought on the Chris Evans Show on BBC Radio 2 in the presence of actors Emma Thompson, Celia Imrie, Paul McGann, Sean Pertwee and musician Billy Ocean.

I’ve just been on holiday for a week of culture-free sitting in the sun and reading. It was brilliant. I packed a pile of novels, but in the end spent several days reading a history book called ‘Sleepwalkers’ – about the origins of the First World War.

Now, I can’t read this sort of stuff without being haunted in my imagination by the words of the World War One poets such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon as they shaped horror with sounds of beauty. Someone once sang, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” but in the trenches it seems that when the going got tough, the tough wrote poetry.

It…

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