Is the Church Going to Drown?
Apr28

Is the Church Going to Drown?

The recent facts of the Scottish Church Census are stark. Some call it a crisis. It observes steep decline in attendance. Mainly ageing congregations are mostly led by ageing ministers. Some may query the definition of church and make qualifications and caveats about statistics. Yet it still makes sombre reading and seems to measure a deluge of secularisation making further tidal advances. How far will it go? What will things look...

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Can We Still Speak of Truth in the Post-Truth Age?
Dec09

Can We Still Speak of Truth in the Post-Truth Age?

It’s the word on everyone’s lips all of a sudden. “Post-truth” is the word of the year, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. It means “circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.  It is not just an issue in politics; fake news is part of the problem too. No doubt gut feeling informs opinion more than many...

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Being Peaceably Principled in a Poisonous World
Nov11

Being Peaceably Principled in a Poisonous World

The words most commonly used for the US presidential election campaign have been “toxic”, “venomous” and “poisonous”. Insults seemed to be the sound-bites of choice. Some fear that similar strains  have blighted political discourse in the UK. It is not difficult to see that language can be not only divisive but degrading. In a polarised world, how should we respond to the invective directed against...

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Ashers are Blessed
Oct24

Ashers are Blessed

Despite losing their appeal – Ashers, the Christian bakery company, are blessed. They were appealing against a court ruling that they discriminated. This relates to refusing to produce a cake with a slogan promoting same-sex marriage. The decision is a serious infringement of civil liberty, compelling people against their beliefs. But there are other matters to bear in mind also. The name Asher is actually Hebrew for...

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What is Conscience?
Jul08

What is Conscience?

It crops up in discussion about the decision to go to war in Iraq. You can hear of it in relation to voting for US presidential candidates. Conscience was also in the headlines announcing the death of holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. He has been hailed as “the conscience of the world”. In a culture without moral absolutes, conscience still has surprising currency. But what is conscience? Why does it vary so much? Samuel...

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How to Have Inward Calm During Outward Trouble
Jul01

How to Have Inward Calm During Outward Trouble

Calm confidence during a storm of outward troubles is true strength. Many think it is virtually impossible. Yet by grace, Paul learned the secret of being content in every situation (Philippians 4:11). We live in a culture of discontent. People have their hearts tied to things in this world and when the world is thrown into turmoil so are their hearts. It is not outward troubles themselves that disquiet our heart. The root cause...

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