Blessed are the Alternatives?

At a Cosen conference, years ago, Richard Tiplady suggested that the future of the Kirk depended on the message of artists and prophets rather than pugilistic theologians. Spirit filled creatives and visionary critics may be even more necessary today. But by their very nature, the nebula of creatives may be hard to find. Inhabiting the … Continue reading Blessed are the Alternatives?

Happy Reformation Day

I was recently asked to return to thoughts shared at the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. I am far from an expert on the Reformation but I have tried to consider its considerable benefit to the church in Scotland. It seems apt to share this on Reformation day. For example, one great benefit … Continue reading Happy Reformation Day

I will not forget your word

For the last few Sunday evenings we’ve been studying the book of Judges. There have been many head-scratching moments as we’ve navigated questions concerning the historicity, morality and significance of the text. It has sent me back to the books. One helpful source has been John Goldingay’s Fuller Lectures on the Torah which, although not … Continue reading I will not forget your word

A little less Eeyore

Today, while preparing to speak on Philippians, I realised that with all the angst about church decline and structural change, I have forgotten to rejoice in the Lord. In fact this blog has sometimes become a vortex of doom and despondency. So much that I’ve received both Facebook hugs and questions about my mental well-being … Continue reading A little less Eeyore

It’s not going to be ok

I’ve heard suggestions that the Kirk will survive our current predicament because we’ve been through previous tough times. It’s true that the Lord always remains faithful but all situations are not equal. In our current situation, suggesting that past success indicates a similarly positive outcome resembles encouraging someone in palliative care that they’ve always made … Continue reading It’s not going to be ok

Lift up your heads

These are difficult days in the Kirk. Morale is low, anxiety high. We face uncertainty, change, loss and decay. Rapid restructuring is leading to significant and painful consequences. And we are being asked to make horrible decisions sometimes affecting those we love and respect. With this and other local concerns ringing in my ears, I … Continue reading Lift up your heads

Hand and Foot

“…because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body? 1 Corinthians 12 In a recent post I noted that the current General Assembly approach to strategic planning may have the unintended effect of seriously demoralising ministers. Kenny Borthwick expressed it recently in a more visceral and insightful way, “I do feel … Continue reading Hand and Foot

Mission Coordinators and the failure of the local church.

A number of Mega-Presbyteries plan to employee Mission-Coordinators. In fact some are already in post. It is a significant task to encourage the development of effective mission and outreach across the new Presbyteries. One advert for the role indicates that they seek, “…an individual who is able to work with congregations to help them discover … Continue reading Mission Coordinators and the failure of the local church.

New presbyteries and competence

Having suggested that competence is not the only quality that should be evident in the church. I want to think a little more about where competency might be prioritised. In particular, what competencies might be required in the new mega Presbytery offices. I’ve never understood why there has been so much duplication in our administrative … Continue reading New presbyteries and competence

The palliative care of the Kirk

A serious question for the Church of Scotland right now is whether recovery is possible? We are undertaking drastic and critical surgery, cutting away apparently dead flesh but will we breathe again unaided? While chatting with a colleague this week, we were considering what Kirk ministers may now be called to. For some it may … Continue reading The palliative care of the Kirk


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