Author Archives: Paul

About Paul

A sceptic who tries to to be too destructively cynical - which is difficult when there is so much to be sceptical about.

What’s in a Name?

Here we are a week after Christmas. I suspect mince pies and Christmas cake have lost their shine right now. And biscuits. And turkey. Maybe even chocolate!

Yet we are still journeying through the Christmas story. And we are still thinking of the nativity and its scenes.

In Bethlehem, the world’s most earth-shattering event has happened. Silently, a wondrous gift was given… a gift that meets all the hopes and fears of all the years. There was no fanfare. No trumpets. Mortals sleep. The silent stars go by. And a King of an eternal Kingdom is born. The baby – God’s son – lies asleep in a manger as the shepherds come to visit him.

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Incarnation

Christmas Eve / 4th Sunday of Advent

“How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given…”

In Bethlehem, the world’s most earth-shattering event is happening. Humanity is receiving a gift. A gift that meets all the hopes and fears of all the years. There is no fanfare. No trumpets. Mortals sleep. The silent stars go by. And a King is born. The baby – God’s son – lies asleep in a manger. Continue reading

Overwhelmed by the Coming of Christ

4th Sunday of Advent – Christmas Eve

We are here. The 4th Sunday in Advent. Christmas Eve. The season of waiting for the coming of Christ. We’ve been to carol services, started on mince pies and watched the nativity plays.

Last Sunday I was at the Ballyholme children’s nativity. In it, the little Angel tells the little Joseph the amazing things that would happen – how Mary, his fiancée, was going to have a baby, but it was God’s plan. Joseph listens, pauses, and responds with a beautifully underwhelmed, “oh, OK.” Continue reading

Identity

When I was an undergraduate in Sri Lanka I was shocked by what a friend whispered to me during a prayer meeting. “I know which of the boys I can marry,” she confided. I looked at her blankly. While everyone’s eyes were closed, she went round the circle indicating with her eyes, whispering “him, not him, not him, him…I think him.” Continue reading

Patristic Exegesis for a Post-modern World

Patristic Exegesis… is receiving renewed interest from proponents of Theological Interpretation. Discuss the relevance of pre-modern exegesis for post-modern exegesis from your perspective, and describe what use Patristic exegesis might be for your own ministry.

INTRODUCTION

We enter the task of exegesis, as those called to ministry, with reverence and holy fear. Exegesis may be described as that which

…openeth the window, to let in the light, that breaketh the shell, that we may eat the kernel; that putteth aside the curtain, that we may look into the most Holy place; that removeth the cover of the well, that we may come by the water. [ 1 ]Orignal Preface 1611, The King James Version, 1611 <http://www.kjvbibles.com/kjpreface.htm> (Accessed April 2016)

Taken from the 1611 Original Preface to the King James Bible, and referring to the translation of the Word, it echoes perfectly the hope and desire of exegesis.[ 2 ]Translation, moreover, requires interpretation and exegesis. Continue reading

References   [ + ]

1. Orignal Preface 1611, The King James Version, 1611 <http://www.kjvbibles.com/kjpreface.htm> (Accessed April 2016)
2. Translation, moreover, requires interpretation and exegesis.

Lessons from the Leadership of Pope Francis

What lessons might we learn for our understanding of hierarchy and the nature of Christian leadership from the papacy of Francis 1? Are these transferable to an Irish Anglican Context?

Introduction

On the night of his election, Francis I[ 1 ]For the purpose of this essay, and the need for brevity, I will refer to Francis I / Pope Francis as Francis emerged in his habitual black trousers and overcoat, and asked to be driven around the city to watch the celebrations. The next morning he wore the same garb to the chapel. Francis began the highest position of leadership of the Catholic Church as he meant to continue, turning centuries of papal lifestyle and tradition on its head Continue reading

References   [ + ]

1. For the purpose of this essay, and the need for brevity, I will refer to Francis I / Pope Francis as Francis

The Elder Son

As part of my placement with St Clements and the Dock Café, I sat in on the Mission planning meeting with the bishop some weeks ago. It was exciting and thought-provoking to be with a congregation thinking about the future, and I was inspired by the presentations about a vision for reaching the community with God’s love. (And, because I am training for ordination, I took down a lot of notes and ideas – which I hope you won’t mind me using someday). So thank you to Chris and all of you for inviting me to sit in on the meeting.

The mission meeting at St Clements also set me thinking. About how easy or difficult it is for us in the church to welcome people in? To associate with people from various backgrounds, with various histories, with those that our society considers outcasts and sinners? Continue reading

The End is Nigh!

I recently watched a documentary series by Stephen Hawking about the beginning and end of the Universe. This is serious “end times” stuff. And it isn’t very nice at all. We could be blasted by a passing giant asteroid (last time the dinosaurs went extinct, but this time it could destroy all life on Earth). Or a nearby star could explode in a supernova and finish us off… in fact it could already have happened, and its devastating shock waves could be heading towards us this very minute. Continue reading