2022 Reading Roundup

It’s that time of year where people humblebrag about how much they read, under the pretence of making recommendations for others. You can hardly move on Twitter for end of year reading lists. And Phil Whittall’s roundup of roundups takes it to an Inception-level extreme – lists within lists. As Qoheleth might have said, ‘Of…

Learning to Listen in a Lonely World

‘You can be lonely anywhere, but there is a particular flavour to the loneliness that comes from living in a city, surrounded by millions of people.’ Olivia Laing – The Lonely City In her haunting book, The Lonely City, Olivia Laing explores the theme of loneliness, especially as experienced in urban contexts. Loneliness is not…

BeReal: Connecting with Culture

If you’re curious what a ‘geriatric millennial’ makes of a social media app much loved by Gen-Z, then you’re in luck! This week I had the privilege of writing the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity’s Connecting with Culture, and I chose to offer a few thoughts on BeReal. The concept is simple. Users receive a…

Covenant-making and context collapse

A few weeks ago I made a joke that took on a life of its own. Sorry if it’s taken you all that time to erase it from your memory, only for me to remind you again. I tweeted a picture from the Bible of Jean de Sy, which depicts Abraham’s circumcision in Genesis 17:…

Gaia: Has the church silenced the sermon of creation?

‘The heavens declare the glory of God;    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.Day after day they pour forth speech;    night after night they reveal knowledge…Their voice goes out into all the earth,    their words to the ends of the world.’ (Psalm 19.1-2, 4) ‘Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen,…

What’s wrong? A conversation starter from David Foster Wallace

I was recently reminded of this paragraph from David Foster Wallace’s novel The Pale King: ‘The next suitable person you’re in light conversation with, you stop suddenly in the middle of the conversation and look at the person closely and say, “What’s wrong?” You say it in a concerned way. He’ll say, “What do you…

Complexity, Coherence, and Comic Book Movies

Martin Scorsese famously said that Marvel films are closer to theme parks than movies, lacking revelation or depth of characterisation. Whilst they’re hardly high culture I’d argue that there’s a remarkable complexity to them. Perhaps not so much as standalone films, but when held together as a whole. Yesterday I wrote a piece for the…

Don’t Look at Yourself: Polarisation and the ‘Problem’ with Parables

I left social media for Christmas and returned to find everybody talking about a film about why nobody is talking about the climate crisis.  Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up is a piece of satirical sci-fi about two astronomers (played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence) who attempt to warn humanity about a comet that’s set…