1) Pakistani Christian Acquitted of Blasphemy – There was good news this week in the case of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who was finally acquitted of her conviction for blasphemy and sentence to death by hanging. Bibi had been reportedly abused and beaten, and had been imprisoned in solitary confinement. However, Bibi’s lawyer now fears for his life and Bibi herself is yet to be freed, with talk of her being refused the opportunity to leave the country. Her husband has appealed to Western nations, including the UK, for intervention and asylum. It’s a stark reminder that, according to Open Doors, Pakistan is one of the worst places to live as a Christian.
2) Why We Can’t Unhitch from the Old Testament – Andy Stanley is a big name in the US megachurch world, and often referenced on issues of leadership and preaching. His latest book, Irresistible, argues that we need to move away from the Old Testament, especially in engaging people who are not yet Christians. Theologian Michael Kruger offers a helpful and clear review that shows why this is so significant – and concerning.
3) Grace, truth and the tricky task of people management – Not managing staff very well seems to be one of the most common frustrations I hear from people in ‘full time’ ministry. I guess it’s something we easily overlook. After all, we’re all Christians, so shouldn’t we just be able to get on? Some really good practical stuff to think through in this piece.
4) The Pastor and Pornography eJournal – The 9Marks free termly eJournals are a brilliant resource for getting input on building healthy churches. The latest issue is on the issue of pornography, and has a range of punchy articles and book reviews include: Helping Women Who Struggle with Pornography; How to Counsel Couples Through Past Sexual Sin; Watch Out! To a Pastor Indulging in Pornography.
5) The visit of Archbishop Foley Beach: ACNA, Gafcon, and lessons for the UK church – A couple of weeks ago, Foley Beach, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) and Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council, visited the UK. This is significant for Anglicans in the UK church, not least after a strikingly positive letter sent by a group of C of E bishops to GAFCON around the same time. This report gives an introduction to Beach, his story, and ACNA’s journey.
6) Statement on ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’ from author Joshua Harris – If you were a teenager in church youth groups in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, then you probably came across Harris’ book, IKDG (and follow-up book, Boy Meets Girl). In many ways, they kind of set the tone for conversations on romantic relationships. That said, whilst some people loved the books, others hated them – and a fair few folk have critiqued Harris since for the culture his writings helped shape. For the past couple of years he’s been evaluating his own work and trying to reflect on it a couple of decades on. Fair play to someone for being willing to consider whether they were wrong to write what they did (“While I stand by my book’s call to sincerely love others, my thinking has changed significantly in the past twenty years.”) Apparently a documentary-style film will be released early 2019 that charts Harris’ journey and explorations further.
7) The Books of the Bible as GIFs – For something a bit different… some of these are great, whereas others I’m struggling to work out! But there you go… You can have a look at Genesis-Hosea, Joel-Malachi, and the New Testament. By the way, if you’re clueless to what on earth a GIF is, the best description I’ve heard is ‘a short digital flick book’.
And while we’re here, I just wanted to say thank you for all the encouragement that you Refillers provide that keeps me ‘refilling’ each week. Last night it was fun to follow along proceedings (via social media) at the 2018 Premier Digital Awards, having been shortlisted (and therefore nominated by at least one of you generous peeps) as Blogger of the Year.
Here’s a picture of me not being able to pick up my joint runner-up award alongside fellow runner-up, Hannah, at the awards evening:
And here’s the 3-day-old reason why I was following along online from LA13, rather than in person in EC1Y:
(Ok, so the embedded image doesn’t show the little one’s face, but if you click it you get maximal cuteness!)
Shout out to all the winners, especially Ian Paul who won in my category with his excellent blog, Psephizo, which is often featured in the Refill and is well worth subscribing to. Also, congrats to my mate Dan Rackham with Go Chatter Videos picking up the People’s Choice Award!