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baptist minister and PhD student
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Brian Haymes is organising a one day discussion of Curtis Freeman's Contesting Catholicity on Tuesday 7 July at Didsbury Baptist Church, Manchester. Freeman's book is a very important book and should be on every Baptist minister's reading list. Its great to hear that there are those in the UK reading it. If you want to go to the day, please let Brian know at brian [dot] haymes [at] ntlworld [dot] com. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at andygoodliff
We pray for those like John the Baptist, a voice crying out, grant them the gift of truthful speech We pray for those like Andrew who responded to your call to follow grant them the gift of perseverance We pray for those who listen to your teaching grant them the gift of learning We pray for those like Simon’s mother in law, who respond to your grace with service grant them the gift of joy in serving We pray for those like the man with leprosy, who are made outcasts, grant them the gift of being accepted We pray for those like the paralysed man, who are forgiven grant them the gift of thankfulness We pray for those like Levi who are loved by you, and hated by others, grant them the gift of loving We pray for those like the Pharisees, who only see in black and white grant them the gift of grace We pray for those like Jesus’ family who feel helpless grant them the gift of trust to let go We pray for those like the crowd who listened to your parables grant them the gift of sight to find your kingdom We pray for those... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2015 at andygoodliff
The latest edition of the (Baptist) journal Review & Expositor (February 2015) contains a set of essays by Baptists on Hauerwas with a reply by Hauerwas. Contributors include Curtis Freeman, Barry Harvey, Elizabeth Newman, Ralph Wood, Mark Medley, Jonathan Tran and Kyle Childress. Freeman writes about Hauerwas' Baptist project, seeking to encourage Baptists to move beyond the confines of their often narrow theology. This has been taken up by several Baptists, Freeman being the best example - see his Contesting Catholicity. Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2015 at andygoodliff
Most of the time we read only a few verses, maybe a chapter, but rarely if ever do we get the whole story from beginning to end. This morning we had a go at hearing the whole of Mark's gospel from beginning to end. We heard it through twenty-five different characters (there was room for many more) recounting their encounter with Jesus as Mark's gospel tells it. A door stood at the front of the church and through the service, different characters telling us of the Jesus they met. Out of the door came John the Baptist, Andrew, Levi, Jarius' daughter, the Syro-Phoneician woman, a child, Peter, Judas, the woman who anointed Jesus at Bethany, Pilate, Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene and many more. Mark's gospel is full of encounter, never really stopping, before Jesus is meeting another life. We got a vivid sense of all the myriad of responses to Jesus that the gospel of Mark presents you with. We thanked God for the gospel, we said sorry for so often making it dull and we prayed for others through the eyes of the different characters with their need for faith, courage, welcome, mercy and so on. We sang... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2015 at andygoodliff
John Bell and Graham Maule of the Iona Community wrote a series of excellent imagined conversations between Jesus and Peter (originally written in the 1980s, but published as a set by Wild Goose, 1999). This is my attempt to write one between Jesus and Mary as part of a service today which will engage with the BMS resource Dignity. Mary: Jesus? Jesus: Yes Mary? Mary: You never seem to care what anybody thinks. Jesus: What do you mean? Mary: Well here we all are – us women – and here you are. Most rabbis have no time for women disciples. Most rabbis seem ok encouraging the men to pray ‘Thank God I’m not a Gentile, not a slave and not a woman.’ Jesus: Mary I’m not most rabbis. Anyone the scriptures say: “God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Mary: Jesus, do you remember Peter’s mother-in-law? How you healed her and immediately she was rushing round the house trying to make you a meal and she kept telling Peter what to do, he went bright red. Jesus: Yes that was funny. Do you remember when I healed... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2015 at andygoodliff
The first thing to say is Doug Campbell is to be congratulated on the length of his new book, at under 500 pages it is half the length of his otherwise wonderful The Deliverance of God (DoG). Framing Paul is still not a short book, because likes it predecessor, Campbell once again seeks to make his argument as thorough and tight as possible. Framing Paul seeks to solve the issue of when, where and why of Paul's letters. Campbell reconstructs the life of Paul from the letters that are present within the Bible. Like the pre-history to DoG, Campbell has been working around these questions for a long time. Over the years he has published several articles that seek to anchor the life and letters of Paul in history and has had a working timeline for well over a decade. As a student of Campbell's at King's in the early 2000s, much of what the book argues was already in place then, although Campbell has continued to fine-tune the argument in the years following. Campbell's language of 'framing' (borrowed from Derrida) indicates that his aim is to discover the 'Pauline story that frames the letters' (p.12), that is, the Pauline... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2015 at andygoodliff
Yesterday today was Education Sunday and so I had a go at asking What has the church got to say about education? The style of the sermon was inspired by open letter Stanley Hauerwas wrote Christians beginning college. Every weekday since September we take Kirsten to school. She will be doing this until at least 16 or 18 and then she might go on to university. Getting an education is just what happens, so has the church got anything to say about school? The rest of the sermon is going to come in a form of a letter, a letter to someone just starting their education. Dear Kirsten, you are just beginning your education in school and learning to love it and at times loathe the idea of it. I pray that as each year goes by, you will learn to love it more than loathe it, that you will see that anything worth doing takes effort, and learning is worth doing; that not everything can be done for you, or simply given to you. I pray that as you come to see the great diversity of ways at looking at our world – through geography, chemistry, physics, biology, maths;... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2015 at andygoodliff
1. The Work of Theology by Stanley Hauerwas (Eerdmans) - latest collection of essays; topics to include humour, writing theology, the Holy Spirit and a response to Nick Healy's critical introduction 2. The Nazareth Manifesto by Sam Wells (Wiley-Blackwell) - Wells on community engagement, justice and poverty and the importance of being with. 3. A Free Corrector: Colin Gunton and the Legacy of Augustine by Joshua McNall (Fortress) - great to see another book on Gunton's theology to join work by David Hohne, Bradley Green, William B. Whitney, Hans Schaeffer and Lincoln Harvey. 4. Lila by Marilynne Robinson (I know this is already out, but waiting for ppb) 5. Into Your Hand: Confronting Good Friday by Walter Brueggemann (Cascade) - This is Brueggemann on the seven words from the cross, which will be a good addition to ones on my shelf by Hauerwas, Seitz, Rutledge, Willimon and Radcliffe 6. Blue Labour edited by Ian Geary and Adrian Pabst (I. B. Tauris) - with essays by Luke Bretherton and Maurice Glasman and a number of Labour MPs 7. The Crucifixion by Fleming Rutledge (Eerdmans) 8. Paul and the Gift by John Barclay (Eerdmans) 9. The State of Believing by Pete Ward... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2015 at andygoodliff
1. Stations of the Heart - The year began by reading Richard Lischer's account of his son Adam's dying. A powerful and challenging read. 2. Born of a Virgin? - This is an excellent detailed exploration by Andrew Lincoln, Professor of New Testament at the University of Gloucester, on the question of whether the New Testament affirms a doctrine of the virgin birth and whether it is a necessary doctrine. 2. Honey From the Lion - The referundum on Scottish independence dominated 2014, in Scotland at least, the rest of the UK only took notice during the last four weeks, which probably says a lot about the Scottish-English relationship. Honey From the Lion was Doug Gay's well-timed engagement with the question of the ethics of nationalism. Gay argues for the possibility of an ethical nationalism and came out in favour of Scottish independence. This was a book on how political theology should be written. 3. Beyond Old and New Perspectives - A collection of essays edited by Chris Tilling responding to Douglas Campbell's The Deliverance of God, plus responses to the responses from Douglas himself. The soul of Pauline theology is currently a battle between Douglas and Tom (Wright) -... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2015 at andygoodliff
What time is it?* On Christmas day I want to ask what time is it? Most of you are probably thinking why didn’t someone give him a watch for Christmas. What time is it? We read this morning from the apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians and there he says ‘when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman’ (Gal 4.4). What time is it? Paul says it is the time of Jesus, the Son. We live in a ‘present evil age’ (Gal 1.4) says Paul, but now the time has fully come and God has sent his Son, born of a woman. Into our world, God has interrupted time, and has begun a new time: the time of Jesus. The author of the story enters the story and begins to write a new chapter and give the whole story a new end. The whole of time now finds its meaning in the birth of Jesus. The phrase ‘the time has fully come’ could mean that everything had happened that needed to happen in order for God to see his Son, God’s plan from the beginning of creation through Adam and Eve Abraham and Sarah... Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2014 at andygoodliff
Stephen Cottrell has written some fantastic books in recent years - The Things He Carried: A Journey to the Cross The Nail: Being Part of the Passion Christ in the Wilderness: Reflecting on the Paintings of Stanley Spencer The Things He Said: The Story of the First Easter All written for Lent and Easter. Walking Backwards to Christmas is his first book for Advent and Christmas. It's brilliant. In resembles The Nail as it offers a series of monologues from different characters in the story. However rather than telling the story from beginning to end, he tells it from the end to the beginning, beginning with Anna in the temple (Luke 2), and the journeying backwards through Rachel (a mother who has lost a child to Herod's massacre), Herod, Casper, David (a shepherd), Martha (innkeeper), Joseph, Elizabeth, Mary and back further to Isaiah and finally Moses. Cottrell's inspiration comes from a painting by Albert Herbert, pictured on the front cover called Nativity With the Burning Bush. Cottrell's imaginative imagining of each character's feelings and choices pushes the traditional story in new directions. Particularly powerful are the chapters on Anna, Rachel, Martha, Elizabeth and Mary - the grief and pain, the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2014 at andygoodliff
May the things that make for hate decrease and the things that make for love increase May the things that make for war decrease and the things that make for peace increase May the things that make for greed decrease and the things that make for generosity increase May the things that make for speed decrease and the things that make for patience increase May the things that make for fear decrease and the things that make for welcome increase May the things that make for poverty decrease and the things that make for equality increase May the things that make for loneliness decrease and the things that make for community increase May the things that make for slavery decrease and the things that make for freedom increase May the things that make for the damage of creation decrease and things that make for the care of the world increase May the things that make for indifference and apathy decrease and the things that make for concern and compassion increase May the things that make for lies and pretence decrease and the things that make for truth-telling increase May the things that make for enmity decrease and the things that... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2014 at andygoodliff
A few weeks ago, I was at a conference in Amsterdam, where a Baptist theologian named Curtis Freeman offered some lectures titled ‘Undomesticated Dissent’ which were reflections on what it means for a people whose story is Baptist, who were birthed in dissent from the status quo, who refused to conform to the imposition of religion from the state. Freeman said that Baptists understood dissent to mean - a deep suspicion of the powers - a fierce conviction of the lordship of Christ - a hopeful imagination of God’s coming kingdom I share this because perhaps John the Baptist was the first Baptist. He was certainly one, like Elijah before him, who dissented from the accepted order of the world. When Luke introduces us to the adult John, he lists the powers of the day – Casaer, the governor of Judaea Pontius Pilate, the local kings Herod and Philip, the high priests Annas and Caiaphas and then he names John son of Zechariah, who was living in the desert (Luke 3.1-2) Luke’s point is to identify John as God’s alternative ‘power’ in the world, John is the one to whom the word of God comes. John is one who expresses... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2014 at andygoodliff
This evening saw Regent's Park College honour Paul Fiddes with two festschrifts. Paul, Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Oxford - a title uniquely conferred on him in 2002 - and former Principal of Regent's Park College and current Director of Research, is the pre-eminent Baptist theologian at work in the world today. It was then more than fitting that the contribution he has made to the task of theology, both with academia and the church be recognised. The evening was a planned surprise of which Paul had no prior knowledge - rarely do you see him stuck for words, but his speech in response was brief, demonstrating how touched he was by the presence of friends and colleagues and the two books. Jürgen Moltmann, who taught Paul for a year back in 1976, started the evening by giving a lecture on behalf of the Centre of Christianity and Culture based at Regent's (celebrating 20 years this year, having been birthed by Paul in the early 1990s). Moltmann named Paul as a 'radical Baptist.' The evening then continued to present Paul with the festschrifts, which included a speech from Rex Mason, former tutor in Old Testament at Regent's.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2014 at andygoodliff
I heard today that David Goodbourn has died. I did not really know David Goodbourn. I remember spending a few evenings with others at Baptist Union Council where he was present. He made lots of contributions to Baptist life and to ecumenism, as well as theological education amongst adults. He will be missed. In October 2013 with knowledge that he was dying he wrote a moving article which was published in the URC Reform magazine. There is a obituary here written by Simon Oxley. PhD (Manchester, 1989) Tutor in Lay-Training, Northern Baptist College - 1973-1985 Dean of the Scottish Churches' Open College, and Assistant Director (College Education) for the Church of Scotland Board of Parish Education Tutor, Scottish Baptist College General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland - 1999-2006 Member of the WCC Commission on Education and Ecumenical Formation President, Partnership for Theological Education, Luther King House - 2005-2011 Associate Lecturer, International Baptist Theological Seminary Editorial Board, Journal of Adult Theological Education Trustee, Baptist Union - 2011-2013 Publications 'The Learning Needs of Christian Adults', British Journal of Adult Theological Education (1988) 'Father, it is right and fitting', Baptist Praise and Worship (Oxford, 1991) 'A Churches Open College for... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at andygoodliff
Curtis W. Freeman, Contesting Catholicity: Theology for Other Baptists (Baylor, 2014), 466pp. This is a very very good book and this is indicated by those who have commended it - Sarah Coakley, Ephraim Radner, Carl Braaten, David Tracy, Gerald O'Collins , Robert Louis Wilken and fellow Baptist, Paul Fiddes. This may well be one of the most important books written by a Baptist, both for its vision of Baptist life for Baptists and also for its vision of the church for those of other traditions. The book tells something of Freeman's theological pilgrimage to becoming an 'Other Baptist.' The term 'Other Baptist' having its origins in being the only box Freeman felt he could tick in a list of various types of Baptist. There is something then of the confessional nature in the book. In Freeman's usage it describes a Baptist who is catholic, one who is seeking to chart a way beyond fundamentalism and liberalism. Freeman defines an Other Baptist as one in which there may well be: frustration with both lukewarm liberalism and hyper fundamentalism; a desire to confess the faith once delivered to all the saints, not as a matter of coercion, but as a simple acknowledgement... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2014 at andygoodliff
Centre for Baptist History and Heritage (Regent’s Park College) & The Baptist Historical Society Day Conferences Remaining in 2014 Saturday 22 November at Regent’s Park College 10.00 am – 4.30 pm. “Baptists and the Communion of Saints” Papers: ‘The Communion of Saints and the Mystery of God” by Paul S. Fiddes (Principal Emeritus Regent’s Park College and Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Oxford.) ‘The Communion of Saints and the Re-Thinking of the Church’, by Brian Haymes (Formerly Principal, Bristol Baptist College.) ‘The Communion of Saints and the Vitality of Memory’, by Richard Kidd (Formerly Principal, Northern Baptist Learning Community). This study-day will mark the launch in the UK of a book co-authored by the three speakers: Baptists and the Communion of Saints. A Theology of Covenanted Disciples (Baylor University Press, 2014) This conference is without cost to attend. But please register by emailing secure a place, and bring your own packed lunch (or buy sandwiches nearby): tea and coffee provided freely. Saturday 6 December at Regent’s Park College 10.00 am – 4.30 pm. “Movements for Peace in 1914” A German-British Conference Commemorating the Founding in August 1914 of the World Alliance for Promoting International Friendship through the Churches... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2014 at andygoodliff
Paul Fiddes, Brian Haymes and Richard Kidd, Baptists and the Communion of Saints: A Theology of Covenanted Disciples (Baylor, 2014), 232pp. Baptists have had very little to say, at least, constructively about the communion of saints. Well, that isn't wholly true, as Brian Haymes, one of the three authors of this new book on the doctrine points out. Baptists and the Communion of Saints is written by three friends - Paul Fiddes, Brian Haymes and Richard Kidd. Three friends who have be colloborating theologically together (with others) for over 30 years. The idea for the book emerged from a paper given by Haymes on the communion of saints back in 2006 and from that they decided to write a joint book that looks to see if anything can be said from a Baptist perspective on this doctrine that receives little attention. The big theme of the book is to take a Baptist theology of covenant (which they wrote about first in 1985 in a little book called Bound to Love) and join it with a theology of communion. Each of the authors brings something of themselves to their two chapters - Fiddes his interest in covenant, participation and his recent... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at andygoodliff
This is the 4th interview. Preivous interviews were with John Rackley, Tim Presswood and Ruth Gouldbourne. This interview is with Simon Jones. Simon Jones is the minister of Bromley Baptist Church. He's ministered in Peckham, edited Christianity magazine and been a regional co-ordinator for BMS. He's written several books on the New Testament, including The World of the Early Church and is about to publish a Grove booklet on Paul and Poverty. He is an associate tutor in New Testament at Spurgeon's College, and supports Urban Expression in London. He blogs here. What’s the most important lesson you learned about ministry that you didn’t know at the beginning? That the questions are more important than the answers. At the start of my ministry I assumed that I was there to answer people’s questions, to help them to nail down the facts of the faith so they could live them. Now I think it’s more important to help people frame the questions they have about life and see how Jesus can come alongside them and help them to work those questions through. It’s not that I’ve stopped proclaiming the truths of the gospel or unpacking the message of scripture in sermons... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2014 at andygoodliff
This is a season of weeping and mourning, but it is not void of hope. Our tears are the bridge between brutality and humanity; our tears are the salty gates for seeing a different reality; our tears are facing soulless nations and a parched mentality; our tears are the dam preventing rivers of animosity. For the sake of the mourning men, cry with us to reflect your amity. For the sake of the poor children, cry with us demanding sanity. For the sake of lamenting mothers, refuse violence and stupidity. Love your enemies and cry with them is the advice of divinity. Bless those who curse is the path to genuine spirituality. Pour tears of mercy; compassion is true piety. Pray with tears, for the sake of spreading equity. Followers of Jesus: crying is now our responsibility. But don’t cry for your friends only; but also for your Enemy. Yohanna Katanacho See here for context. Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at andygoodliff
Andrew G. Walker and Robin A. Parry, Deep Church Rising: The Third Schism and the Recovery of Christian Orthodoxy (SPCK / Cascade, 2014) Deep Church Rising is the culmination of Andrew Walker's work. It follows on from his earlier work of Telling the Story (1996) and the edited volumes Different Gospels (1993 [1988]) and Remembering Our Future (2007). Walker with assistance from Robin Parry argues that the future of the church must be a 'deep' one, one that looks to the great traditions of the church as part of its history and future. They are concerned that there is a Third Schism taking place, which looks to set separate Christianity from its theological moorings, that casts doubts on the traditional doctrines of the Trinity, incarnation and resurrection. In their sights are the likes of Don Cupitt, John Robinson, John Hick, Maurice Wiles and Shelby Spong and the more widely read Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, representing in past the wider impact of modernity and postmodernity. Walker and Parry claim we have lost, or are in danger of losing, the gospel and the response is therefore a vital recovery which they call 'Deep Church'. A Deep Church response, they say,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at andygoodliff
Lincoln Harvey, A Brief Theology of Sport (SCM / Cascade, 2014), 130pp. In the last couple of years, perhaps partly related to the 2012 Olympics, there has been a flurry of theological reflection on sport in the UK - see special journal editions of Studies in Christian Ethics 25.1 (2012), Anvil (2012) and Practical Theology 5.2 (2012) and Rob Ellis' study The Games People Play (Wipf & Stock, 2014). Amongst this work comes Lincoln Harvey's A Brief Theology of Sport. The title of Harvey's work is a deliberate echo of his theological teacher Colin Gunton's work A Brief Theology of Revelation, who's theology has an indelible mark in this work. The title both highlights the book's key strength and its key weakness. Its key strength is its readability, Harvey's argument is easy to follow, doesn't get weigh down in footnotes or immaterial 'academic' side notes. Its key weakness is it sometimes feels too brief, the reader is left wanting the implications of theological claim to be developed. This might not be a weakness, for in leaving the reader something to do, Harvey offers a good "sermon", in that, he does not to do all the work of application, but lays... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2014 at andygoodliff
This is a third interview with a Baptist minister. The previous two were with John Rackley and Tim Presswood. This present interview is with Ruth Gouldbourne. Ruth is the co-minister of Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, London and has been there since 2006. Previous to that she ministered at Bunyan Meeting Free Church, Bedford and was a Tutor at Bristol Baptist College (1995-2006). She was the 1998 Whitley Lecturer and gave the 1998 Hughey Memorial Lectures at the International Baptist Theology Seminary, at that point in Prague. She was until recently the Chair of the Board of Trustees at IBTS. She has a PhD in church history from the University of London and her thesis was published under title, The Flesh and the Feminine: Gender and Theology in the Writings of Caspar Schwenckfeld. She has also co-written a book on Baptist ecclesiology and written several other journal articles and book chapters. She is involved in the Baptist Historical Society. What’s the most important lesson you learned about ministry that you didn’t know at the beginning? It’s impossible and that’s ok; that is, we will never do all that needs to be done and we will never do it all to our... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2014 at andygoodliff
News released today is that Stanley Hauerwas has been appointed to a Chair in theological ethics at Aberdeen. Part-time, but then the guy has just retired from Duke and is 74. It's a great appointment. Having lost Bernd Wannenwetsch last year with a criminal conviction, Hauerwas is not a bad replacement! Hopefully it might mean he will travel across the UK a bit as well. Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at andygoodliff
This is a second interview in a series. The first can be read here with John Rackley. This next interview is with Tim Presswood. Tim has been a minister at Openshaw Baptist Tabernacle, East Manchester since 1993 having trained at Northern Baptist College. In 2013 he became the Transitional Regional Minister in the North Western Baptist Association. He is part of Urban Expression. He has been a chairman at a hospital NHS Trust chariman the Manchester Credit Union. With Clare McBeath he runs a website called Dancing Scarecrow. What’s the most important lesson you learned about ministry that you didn’t know at the beginning? Ministry is an emotional roller coaster. In the space of one afternoon, you can go from the heights of ecstasy to the depths of despair. A beloved project can fall apart acrimoniously, but a pastoral visit to a dying member of the community can lift you back up towards heaven. No matter what style of prayer or spirituality you favour - and I embrace many - it is important to embed your spiritual roots firmly in God. What led your into ministry? When I was eighteen I underwent my second conversion experience (!) which was accompanied... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2014 at andygoodliff