"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." - VoltairE

Scripture engagement: Mark's gospel

August 22, 2019
Over the summer, I studied a module on 'Scripture Engagement' for my Master's course. It's all about how to connect people with the Bible so that they can understand it and experience its truth for themselves. One of the fascinating aspects is how to engage non-literate communities with the Scriptures. It's easy to assume that this isn't really an issue in the UK, where the literacy rate is 99% (Knoema, 2014). However, the reality is more complicated, with 16.4% of adults in the UK having very poor literacy skills (National Literacy Trust).

Our culture is changing too, with attention spans shortening and many people preferring to get their information from YouTube videos and social media rather than reading books. Many also prefer to listen to audiobooks rather than sit down with a paperback or Kindle. So how do we communicate the message of the gospel to people who don't read?

For a while, I've been making 3 minute videos to talk about faith, Bible stories and teaching. I've made 31 in the 'Picture This Thought' series so far which you can watch here. I also wanted to do something which just let the Bible speak for itself, so I've started a series reading out Mark's gospel a chapter at a time whilst highlighting bits of the text. I hope that it will help those who aren't used to reading, and those who speak English as a second language, to understand the message for themselves.

Here's the first one (I'm going to try and improve the technique for future videos, and especially try not to get the tripod legs in!)

 

6 of the best daily prayer apps

August 3, 2019
I have recently been helped in the discipline of daily prayer by a number of apps, so I wanted to share 6 of the best free ones. The selection represents a number of different Christian faith traditions, so I hope that there is something for everyone.



(1) Pray As You Go (Free)


This is my favourite daily prayer app. Each day there is an audio reflection of about 12 minutes which includes music, Scripture reading, questions for reflection and quiet time for yo...

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Picture this thought - Candle [Simplicity]

June 29, 2019
A short reflection on simplicity in our materialistic and consumeristic culture. How can we focus on what really matters instead of ploughing our energy into working for things which won't last?

Jesus said "Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions." (Luke 12: 15) and "Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Matt 19: 21)



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A few faith-based funnies

June 13, 2019


A minister decided to visit his church members one Saturday. At one particular house it was clear that someone was home, but nobody came to the door. The minister knocked several times and finally took out his card and wrote on the back: 

Revelation 3:20 - "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him and he with me." 

The next day the same card showed up in the collection plate. Below the minister’s message was another s...

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9 inspirational women from the New Testament

June 6, 2019
I love the fact that the New Testament records a range of women of different ages and backgrounds using their skills and gifts for God's Kingdom. We see rich and poor, educated and uneducated, single and married, leaders, charity workers, intellectuals, risk-takers, business women and craftswomen all being used by God in powerful ways. It truly is astonishing when you think about the cultural context of the New Testament - in the Jewish world, Greek culture and the Roman empire - that women h...
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Picture This Thought - Metro train [Busyness]

June 6, 2019
A 3-min reflection on the fast pace of modern life, our idolatry of productivity and where our sense of worth comes from. 



You can read more in my post Life in the Fast Lane.
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Picture This Thought - All sorts [The body of Christ]

June 4, 2019
A 3-minute reflection on the community of the church as the Body of Christ, valuing everyone and loving our enemies.

You may also enjoy my blog post - The Strange Little Band of the Gospel.

For more about the politics of enemy love, I recommend 'Sympathy For Jonah' by David Benjamin Blower.



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9 Christian women you should know

May 17, 2019
  1. Susan B. Anthony (1820 - 1906)
    Born into a Quaker family with a long history of anti-slave activism, Susan B. Anthony developed an early sense of fairness and justice. She dedicated her life to women’s suffrage after joining the women’s rights movements in 1852. She campaigned for the abolition of slavery, the right for women to own their own property, to keep their earnings, as well as their right to attend higher learning institutions.


  2. Sojourner Truth (Unknown - 1883)
    She was born a sla...

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Picture This Thought - Meal [Food]

April 17, 2019
We live in a world of fast food, drive throughs, TV dinners, working lunches and meals in a shake. But what if eating is meant to be a much more spiritual experience?

In this short reflection, I consider the importance of mealtimes in the early church, in Jewish history and in our own lives as we build community. We can learn some profound truths about God through our relationship with food if we're willing to stop and think.


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5 ways the prophecy of Joel challenges today’s church

April 3, 2019


Joel as a missional book


I recently wrote an assignment for my Master’s which involved a missional reading of the book of Joel. I could pick any passage of Scripture I liked and there were several times I regretted choosing Joel, but I’m glad I stuck with it as it’s an oft-neglected book of the Bible which has an important message for the church today. When I started, all I knew about it was that it involved a lot of locusts!

As it turns out, Joel’s prophecy demonstrates the whole redem...

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