How the apostle Paul learned to be content in every situation

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After more than a year of the pandemic many of us feel tired — and for good reason. Many have experienced physical illness, bereavement, unemployment, mental health difficulties or isolation.

Those of us lucky enough to keep our jobs or business are working longer hours and/or juggling homeschooling.

If ever there was a time to listen to the Bible’s teaching on contentment it’s now:

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in…

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Many Christians think the Trinity is only a New Testament teaching. Modern Judaism considers the belief a departure from monotheism. Yet this wasn’t always the case.

Alan Segal, the late Rabbinic scholar, famously wrote of Two Powers in Heaven. He found Binitarianism was popular in first century Judaism. One of the two powers was the ‘Unseen’ Lord in heaven. The other a mediator between God and humanity. These beliefs likely endured within Judaism for several centuries.

There is no evidence that belief in the ‘two powers’ was judged heretical in first century Judaism. …

What I learned from the REACH model

Forgiveness; loving embrace
Forgiveness; loving embrace
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Forgiveness is beneficial for mental and physical health. Holding grudges is also inconsistent with my Christian faith. But what to do if my efforts to forgive repeatedly fail?

In the past 6–8 years, I’ve been hurt by a few people close to me. I wondered whether I would ever be able to forgive them.

But I came across the REACH model — a method for helping us to forgive others — which has helped me overcome these painful emotions.

An effective method to improve forgiveness

The REACH model was developed by Everett Worthington, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. …

Does Christianity heal or inflame differences?

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Even for our fractious times, the past few months have been testing. President-elect Joe Biden has promised to unite the US after the most divisive election in living memory.

Europe faces its own challenges. By December 31st, the UK plans to leave the European Union after 45 years of membership. The recent beheading of a school teacher after a class on freedom of speech exposed painful divisions in French society.

I began my career as a psychologist back in the 1990s. Psychological theories of tribalism captived my imagination as we grappled with how the past horrors of Nazi Germany and…

Reflections on Joe Omundson’s article in Ex-Communications

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Joe Omundson sees science and religion engaged in a battle. When the United States entered World War II, Winston Churchill is said to have written in his diary, “Ah, so we’ve won!” Although there were many more years of fighting left— the outcome was clear.

Similarly, Joe sees religion as outgunned by the superior capabilities of science. Religion will lose more and more territory before inevitable surrender.

I found Joe’s article interesting, partly because I’ve moved in the opposite direction to him. As a Christian who grew up in a non-religious family, I can remember making similar arguments in the…

The life of John Bunyan

A climber standing at the top of a mountain
A climber standing at the top of a mountain
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The first novel in English, Pilgrim’s Progress, was written in prison. Even more remarkably, in class-obsessed 17th century England, the author John Bunyan was a handyman (a tinker) with little education.

What are the experiences that shaped a tinker to write one of the great masterpieces of literature?

In all my reading of Bunyan, what has gripped me most is his suffering and how he responded to it. What it made of him. …

Miriam and Aaron’s complaints about Zipporah

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Race continues to dominate the headlines. We seem to be in an endless cycle with yet another black man getting shot by police, Jacob Blake this week in Wisconsin, followed by riots.

There is also the shocking case of Ota Benga. More than 100 years after the kidnap and exhibition of a 12-year-old Congolese boy in the monkey house, the Bronx Zoo recently apologised. How the cover-ups and silence were maintained this long is chilling.

But surely we can console ourselves that things are getting better? That we have a more enlightened view of race than the past? Or do…

Personal Story & Scriptural Inspiration

Reflection on Jeremiah 2:13

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On the road to Bishkek

“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jerermiah 2:13, NIV)

When I read this verse from Jeremiah, it often reminds me of a taxi ride I took from Osh (in the south of Kyrgyzstan) to the capital Bishkek (in the north).

It’s a beautiful mountain lined journey. In the summer, searing 40C (100F) heat on the flat is followed by a chilly -5C (23F) in the mountains all in the space of a day.

So thirsty I could drink petrol

For most of the journey, there…

Lessons from the conflict between Peter and Paul

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Examples in the Bible of Overcoming Racism

Church leaders, such as Ben Lindsay, have pointed out the church’s reluctance to talk about race. We have failed to see the importance of racial equality in the New Testament.

In his letter to the multicultural Ephesian church, the apostle Paul put racial reconciliation at the heart of the Gospel — what he called the “mystery of Christ”. God is going to heal divisions of racial conflict through the Gospel:

In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ… that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together…

A case study of Jonathan Edwards

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Jonathan Edwards was a key leader in the evangelical awakenings of the 18th Century. George Marsden (Professor Emeritus of New York University) argued Edwards and Benjamin Franklin were the two key figures in the development of modern America.

But like us he was a flawed person, aspects of Edwards’ personality were a hindrance to his ministry and relationships. Yet by God’s grace, he was an effective servant of God.

Five-Factor model of personality

To understand our personalities we have to work from some model of personality. The Enneagram is popular among Christians but empirical evidence has identified problems with these tests. …

Nick Meader

I’m interested in the application of psychology to theology and Christian living.

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