Reading the Bible upside down

Jan 12, 2017 by

by Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream. In last month’s focus on the Bible’s Christmas stories we have been reminded of a strong theme: the message of God’s kingdom challenging and even reversing our natural human understandings of how things are. Mary, on being told that she is to be the mother of the Son of God, praises him for his agenda of bringing down the rulers from their thrones, and lifting up the humble. Educated foreigners, representatives from a nation of past oppressors, lay...

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Imagine: future conversations about differentiation

Jan 10, 2017 by

By Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream. [This work of fiction was composed and published before the Church of England Evangelical Council meeting of January 11-12 2017, so it cannot reflect anything which occurs or has occurred at that meeting.] It’s January 2019 and a group of Anglican clergy and laity from Britain are meeting to reflect on recent events, and share plans for the way forward. The majority of those present are conservative evangelicals, but there are a smattering of charismatics,...

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Four attitudes to Christmas and to life

Dec 20, 2016 by

By Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream. I just took one of those online surveys to find out what kind of person I am, based on my attitude to Christmas. And the result came out completely wrong. But the basic premise behind the test is good, even profound. ‘Four kinds of Christmas’ is a series of resources based on a small book, a tract really, by Australian evangelist Glenn Scrivener which reads as if it had its origin in an excellent Christmas talk. His text is from Isaiah 9: “the people...

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C of E revisionists use the BBC and the South African church to continue campaign

Dec 12, 2016 by

By Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream. Last Sunday an Oxford-based Anglican priest used a BBC radio programme (here, start at 23.25) to talk about Christian sexual ethics in the South African context. The Church’s continued adherence to the idea that faithful heterosexual marriage is the only correct place for a sexual relationship is harming young people, we were told. “Why should the church, in this day and age, be punishing people for wanting to love?” Of course the mini-documentary was...

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What is good news to the poor?

Dec 6, 2016 by

By Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream. According to Bishop Philip North, writing in last week’s Church Times, the poor might hear the Church’s good news (not defined) when their voice is heard by the Church and amplified in the nation. Sadly, though, the Church hasn’t been listening, and so was surprised, even appalled and embarrassed when the poor finally spoke up and expressed their frustrations and aspirations by voting for Brexit. Working class identity and focus revolves around family,...

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Advent, the Church of England, and Mission

Nov 29, 2016 by

by Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream. Mission through the local church. At our local village church we are preparing for an evangelistic mission which will take place next year. We don’t call it that, because some of the more traditional members who attend the 9am Communion service, and many of our friends and neighbours in the village who we are seeking to reach with the Gospel, might find talk of ‘mission’ a bit threatening. So it’s going to feature a familiar week of social...

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