1) What stops people believing? Some informal market research – Jeremy Marshall shares from his own experiences of talking to people about the Christian faith.
2) Pink is for Death: New York Abortion Laws – This week NY state significantly expanded ‘abortion rights’, meaning that right upto just before birth, as, one critic put it, “the ‘attending physician’—in real life, very often an abortionist with a financial stake in the decision—can always say that in his medical judgment, the abortion was necessary to preserve the woman’s emotional ‘health,’ especially considered in light of her ‘familial’ situation.” Though there is real forgiveness available for those who have been part of abortions, as Christians we hold that the image of God is stamped on all – those outside and inside of the womb. It was horrific to see the way this was celebrated. Of course, as Francis Schaeffer showed, such developments aren’t a surprise once a culture has asserted atheistic foundations. And in this video Rachel Jankovic challenges us for using very similar ‘me first’ thinking within Christian culture.
3) Interactive Martin Luther King Jr. Speech – After MLK day this week, you might enjoy this interactive page weaving audio and images from the I Have A Dream speech, with context and history from the event – produced by a dedicated team from Stanford University.
4) Letter to House of Bishops re: their Transgender Pastoral Guidance – A growing and unprecedented number of people have signed this letter to the House of Bishops urging them to “revise, postpone or withdraw” the ‘Pastoral Guidance’ they issued just before Christmas, and spelling out a number of critical concerns with the document. The signatories include over 800 clergy, including area deans, archdeacons and retired bishops – and myself – as well as 700 lay members, including members of General Synod, Church Wardens and PCC members. As Ian Paul has said, “this is an area of debate that people are very cautious about commenting on. The fact that so many, from a wide range of traditions in the Church, have been prepared to ‘put their heads above the parapet’ is an indication of the strength of concern expressed here.”
5) Two questions to help your meetings work – Always good to be regularly made to think about how we do meetings – after all, most of us have enough of them! Thanks Chris Green.
6) Success and the Church Planter: A Response to This American Life – The popular secular podcast This American Life recently aired an episode looking at the rise of church planting in the US (this was after another podcast, Start Up, began a series following an individual church plant). But as this response article suggests, “perhaps Christians should take time to consider, lament, and repent” of the ways in which we have let the church-planting phenomenon at times become married “to American capitalistic ideals, creating a syncretism in the church that allows us to be evaluated by a secular audience as the “Christian version of Silicon Valley.” Some helpful checks.
7) Why Am I So Proud When I Finish a Candle? For something a bit different, I enjoyed this brief musing on millennial life.