The biblical power of the moon

According to Matthew’s Gospel some of the people Jesus healed were moonstruck.

Needless to say, the people who translate the Bible into English don’t use this word. They usually translate ‘epileptic’. But epilepsy is a modern diagnosis. Like most modern diagnoses, it has no ancient equivalent. So are the translators misleading us, and what can we realistically expect from the Bible?

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Welcoming new humanity

Certain species revert to a non-procreative default position when they sense that their collective life is under threat. But not so with human beings. Against all economic and environmental odds, we seem to be doing the reverse. If statistics are taken at face value we are, by dint of procreation alone, hurtling towards our own extinction.

But this is to oversimplify. China outstrips the US as the world’s fastest growing population (despite its one child policy of 1980), but it could legitimately ‘off load’ a sizeable amount of its carbon footprint on the US which, though growing a little more slowly than China in terms of population, is the main consumer of the goods that China manufactures. It will be interesting to see whether a hidden environmental benefit emerges from increased trade tariffs resulting from the current trade wars between China and the US. Added to this, in terms of the average life span of the individual, the Center for Biological Diversity reports that recent research findings indicate that each child born in the US today will, in his or her lifetime, add 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of their parents. These two sets of statistics alone suggest that consumption and economic growth pose as great a threat to the planet’s survival as does the mere fact of more people being born.

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Healing, wholeness and being accepted

This is my sermon for 26th May, published now in case any other preacher wants to pinch bits. You won’t want to pinch it all.

It’s based on John 5:1-9, the story of the invalid at the pool in Jerusalem, and describes how Jesus did his healings.

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British exceptionalism and attitudes to Europe

Britain votes again today, for Members of the European Parliament – to the dismay of people who hoped to have left the EU by now.

This post is mainly about identity and British exceptionalism. Is being British a way of being European, or is it different? How do we identify ourselves? Do we identify ourselves in helpful or harmful ways? I conclude with a reflection from a liberal Christian perspective.

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Myths, facts and values

The British Government has produced a standard response to opponents of fracking. It takes the form of ten pairs of ‘myths’ and ‘facts’. You can read them here. Friends of the Earth has produced a rebuttal.

I have written on fracking before. This post looks at how the rhetorical use of words like ‘myth’ and ‘fact’ is used to suppress major questions of priorities and divert attention to minor details. I focus on this particular document because it is a clear example of an all-too-common tendency in our superficial society. We spend our time tightening up a few nuts and bolts when we should be asking whether we bought the wrong machine.

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