Category Archives: Theology
Have you experienced an odd feeling over the last year? You get involved in some ordinary activity – family events, a work project or whatever – and life seems to be getting back to some kind of normality, until you suddenly realize with a start that what with COVID, the Social Justice Revolution, and international politics, the whole world is a lunatic asylum, and it’s the normality that is the illusion.
OK. The positive test rate for COVID in the UK has been flat all month, at around 6,400 daily. The rapid increase in test numbers has also more or less flattened off at around 1.8m daily, and COVID deaths are zero in many areas.
I’ve no idea why YouTube started assailing me with psychologists’ guides to narcissism some months ago. They do that sometimes, the algorithms suddenly deciding to deluge you with clips on “carpentry tips” maybe, or some obscure Australian band. But it has become very apposite, since a possibly narcissitic relationship at the very top of society has been in the headlines for the last week or two, suspected as such by many lay people as well as pundits.
“Better get a move on Paul – we’ll be late for church.” “Uhh… if you don’t mind, Dad, I’d rather stay home.” “Hmmm – hold on a second, Son… Grace! I’ve got an issue here – you go on with the girls and we’ll catch you up! Now, what’s the problem, Paul? You’ve never missed church before.”
Looking at historical instances of mass-closure of churches, one thing is clear: it was taken very much more seriously by our brethren in the past.
If the last year has taught us anything about church, it is that at its core is “assembly” (ekklesia) and not “virtual contact.” Apart from the many psycho-social reasons I pointed to even before the first lockdown – a year less a week ago – one key realisation to many is the centrality of participation.
I had an e-mail today (as the “chief musician” of my church) from the organisation that licences worship music, headed “Enhance Your Worship With MultiTracks.” Coming off the back of recent leadership discussions after nearly a year of online lockdown virtual services, that seems worthy of comment.
A couple of new reviews have appeared on my book Good’s Good Earth, in Studies in Christian Ethics and Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, the latter of which rolls it together with a review of Generations of Heaven and Earth. You can find them by linking to the respective book tabs on the menu above, and clicking on the “Endorsements and Reviews” links.
I’ve just read two books to lift the heart above the media’s COVID monomania, albeit it in a bittersweet way. The second was Meadowland: the Private Life of an English Field, by John Lewis-Strempel, a birthday gift from my daughter. It traces the year in the life of a hay-meadow in Herefordshire as observed by its owner, which resonates with me because I own a hay-meadow in Devon.
This is a guest post by Dr Peter Hickman, an experienced UK medical practitioner, and a regular commenter on The Hump. The phrase “every death is a tragedy” has been repeated multiple times by the Prime Minister and other politicians during the 2020/21 SARS-Cov-2 Coronavirus pandemic. What does “every death is a tragedy” actually mean, and is it a useful or appropriate thing to say?