P.S.

Welcome to p.s., an email and web discussion forum from Contemporary Christianity.

We issue p.s. every every month. In line with our aims, it seeks to "provide informed, credible and practical comment and analysis, rooted in biblical reflection and theological thought" on contemporary matters of broad public concern in Ireland.

We are aiming to engage Christian minds with issues in the public square, to inject new perspectives and provoke discussion.

 
Please note that the statements and views expressed in this articles are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Contemporary Christianity.

Click on any of the issues raised, think about what is said and leave any comments you wish.

‘Fake news’

In my early years as a professional Geologist and a Christian, I was dismayed and puzzled by the defence of the literalist interpretation of Genesis 1 stating that scientists were in a conspiracy of deception. Why scientists might do this was never articulated, as the premise of those involved in scientific research is to discover truth.

Later as a practical theologian I wrote a number of texts on the dialogue between science and faith to demonstrate the complementarity between these two ways of exploring the truth about creation and the burgeoning environmental crisis. Those denying the reality of climate change have also disappointed me with the suggestion that environmental scientists are seeking to mislead the world.

Does this help in our understanding of today’s ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories? Continue reading

How many too questions are too many questions?

Like a good evangelical Christian, every morning my day starts with quiet time. The Lord’s prayer, then other prayers, setting my day up, giving it over to God. And from prayer I go to Scripture, helped in that discipline by Bible Reading notes. A verse or a question to find my way in; then the passage; then the reflections; then a question or challenge at the end, to chew on and turn into some praise, prayer or new resolve. Continue reading

Every little helps

It’s November and I’m sad.  Over the years I have come to dread November, because if anything goes wrong, it goes spectacularly wrong in November.  Perhaps this was a self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps it’s SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but it always seemed to become easier to feel more cheerful in December with its Christmas lights.  This year is no exception and I’ve found that recently my optimism has evaporated somewhat.  The Covid virus is surging again, and I doubt if we’ll adjust our lifestyles enough to learn to live with it.  Initial enthusiasm for, and commitment to, a green recovery, which emerged when we saw how the natural world, and ourselves too, benefitted from lockdown, has all but disappeared under concern for looking after the economy. Continue reading

Why the news needs to be good

The Queen rarely makes comment on matters of public debate, but a few weeks ago she gave a message of support to the British newspaper industry, praising traditional media outlets.  She said that “having trusted, reliable sources of information, particularly at a time when there are so many sources competing for our attention, is vital”.  This is very important, for in our democracy we rely on trusted news sources to inform us, challenge us, investigate wrong doing, and hold governments and public services to account. Continue reading

Christians in a Post COVID-19 World?

As we begin another period of lockdown with the number of cases of COVID-19 and the number of deaths rising relentlessly, people are losing hope. There is concern about the effects on employment, the economy and our individual freedoms.

There have been positive community responses: local care groups; support for elderly neighbours; people generally being obedient to the requests and advice of Government; Christians lighting candles to affirm the light of Christ in a dark situation; and scientists across the world collaborating in the search for a vaccine against the virus. Continue reading

Thinking about the colour of my skin

Galatians 3:28 is one of the better-known verses in the Bible: 

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” 

Christians, rightly, rejoice at its liberating truth – all joined ‘in Christ’ through faith are ‘one’. This unity transcends the great religious, socio-economic and gender divisions of the ancient world. The implications are astounding – in God’s eyes all human beings are of equal value and dignity regardless of religion, ethnicity, net-worth, social standing, intelligence, physical disability, education, gender, age, or skin colour. Continue reading

Desert Wisdom for the Lock-down

 

This PS is an adaptation of an article published by Belfast Bible College and is used with permission (https://www.facebook.com/BelfastBibleCollege/photos/a.250728314988600/2933919253336146/).

In the late third century men and women chose the self-isolation of the Syrian and Egyptian deserts to devote themselves to exploring the spiritual life. Their spirituality was marked by a radical commitment to Christ’s call to poverty, humility and other virtues. It was also marked by separation from mainstream society in order to seek solitude.

As we are beginning to emerge from a period of enforced isolation (a desert as it were), either totally alone or in households, the desert tradition has wisdom to guide us. Continue reading

THE CALL, THE HERO AND THE CHALLENGE

When Beethoven realised that he was going deaf and that there was little hope of a cure, despair called. He avoided this by casting himself as the hero who would not be deflected from fulfilling his true vocation. For Beethoven this was his art: his music. Although he could not know what posterity would make of his work, he knew that he must continue.

Beethoven’s vision of himself reflects what Joseph Campbell distilled as key elements in the journey of any hero. He believed that when we read the stories of heroes from different times and cultures, we find that they contain the same essential elements. Continue reading