Wilderness times

Easter being early this year, there has been very little time to re-adjust from the post-Christmas season to the season of Lent.

Epiphanytide ended rather abruptly less than ten days ago, and Lent has suddenly arrived with the first snowdrops. The wilderness season is upon us wrapped into the season of gestation and first growth. In this particular wilderness season, the one which presages ultimate and eternal life, we are obliged to think about what must come first, which is death.

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Abusive spiritual beliefs produce abusive acts

Naturally, the Evangelical Alliance has defended itself against Jayne Ozanne’s critique of its teaching, especially in the light of the recent survey by the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service on the prevalence of spiritual abuse.

But the defence fails. I focus on the EA’s main argument: that the term ‘spiritual abuse’ is inadequate because abuse is about actions, not motives. In this way they seek to insulate their teachings from the actions those teachings sometimes provoke. On the contrary, abusive beliefs lead to abusive actions.

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Anglicans, Methodists and the sticking plaster of unity

The General Synod of the Church of England meets at the end of this week. Among the items they will discuss is a paper proposing closer ties – not quite union – between the Methodist Church and the Church of England.

The predictable lines have been drawn well ahead of the debate: on the one hand it is important to take these steps to ‘heal a wound’ in the Body of Christ; and on the other hand, this small act would debase the currency of ‘apostolic order’. Both of these are wrong.

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Health: what are we trying to achieve?

This is about the nature of health. In a recent post I argued that health services should take priority because everything we do depends on having enough health. Here I ask what we think good health is.

This is about attitudes we usually presuppose without thinking about them. Some presuppositions work better than others. It makes a difference what kinds of gods, if any, we believe in. I draw on the distinctions between polytheism, monotheism and atheism that I analysed in my Why Progressives Need God.

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John Warboys and the meaning of justice

Nick Boles explodes. The British Government isn’t addressing the crises in housing and health, says this Conservative Member of Parliament. But, as the Guardian describes his mood, ‘the Worboys decision was the final straw’. The Parole Board has decided that John Warboys, a 60-year-old taxi driver jailed in 2009 for assaults on 12 women, should be released. The Government could have challenged the decision but has decided not to. Grr.

What would justice for Warboys be? This post leaves aside the personal details, like the likelihood of him reoffending, and asks about the nature of justice.

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