Tudor History is a gold mine for evangelism. Porcine, flatulent Henry the 8th is on the throne. You are a prisoner in one of his foul-smelling dungeons and the vicious torturer is placing heavier and heavier stones on your chest. You are suffocating and the pain is unbearable. Suddenly Jesus comes into the prison, disarms the torturer and throws him against the wall. He takes off the heavy stones. He washes your rank, rancid body and He heals all your wounds and then He leads you out of the malodorous prison. You emerge into the warm summer's day.
Thinking Faith blogs
On 15-17 March 2019, about ten invited delegations of academics, postgrads and postgraduate ministry leaders gathered in New College, Oxford for the first Catalysing Postgraduate Ministry conference organised by the Oxford Pastorate as a spin-off of the Developing a Christian Mind conference. Both conferences took place in parallel, which fuelled exchange between the groups.
Yesterday I delivered a short RealityBites presentation to about 50 international students and lecturers at the Emmanuel Centre, Leeds University. I delivered a ten minute talk on the Prince Philip movement. Here is the story in brief -
When God's Spirit brings about a movement of change, it often seems to begin in disparate places and diverse ways through people who don't know each other. For example, a remarkable number of broadly Evangelical organisations for cultural engagement seem to have sprung up in England in the 1980s – of which Thinking Faith Network (originally WYSOCS) is one. Now in our own time, I believe God is doing something important for Christian engagement in academia in Europe – starting with Christian doctoral students.
Last weekend in Oxford saw the second of this year's Developing a Christian Mind conferences - an annual pair of events inviting postgraduate students to consider and deepen the intersection of their academic work with Christian faith. 'Seeking Wisdom' is split into multiple disciplinary streams (this year, Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Philosophy & Theology) to enable more specific conversations to take place on how Christians think and work in particular academic fields.
England were playing football against Colombia in 1995 when something incredible happened. It was a friendly match, trundling along without much excitement in front of a threadbare Wembley crowd of about 20,000 spectators.
I met with some academic colleagues recently over a meal. It was a lovely group of people but I came away depressed...everyone has done so much. Comparing my meager achievements with what everyone else had accomplished, I felt like my resume was as watertight as a chocolate teapot.
We like to advertise other initiatives that share a similar vision with Faith-in-Scholarship, and today I want to tell you about the Society of Christian Scholars. Actually this organisation hasn't been officially launched yet: it's due to come into existence tomorrow, on 1 March.
This initiative's purpose is prominently stated on its About page. "The Society of Christian Scholars equips missional Christian academics to have a redemptive influence for Christ among their students, colleagues, institutions, and academic disciplines."
'A Christian University Is For Lovers', runs the provocative title of the final chapter of this book, James K.A. Smith's first sally in his three-part 'Cultural Liturgies' project. Lovers of what? - you might ask. Of knowledge? Of the life of the mind? Of theology?