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…

Day of Prayer for Ukraine: Three reasons to fast in a time of crisis

This Wednesday, 2nd March, the Pope has called for a day of fasting in response to the war in Ukraine. Many churches and Christians around the world will join in this initiative, devoting themselves to prayer and asking God to intervene and bring peace.  For lots of Christians, fasting is a practice that rarely features…

Another, or A New? A prayer for your Monday.

Monday. The beginning of a new week. I don’t know how that makes you feel? I’m sure some of us start our Mondays thinking “Yes! A new week!” while others think, “Ugh, another week!” Even those of us who temperamentally lean towards the former response have weeks that push us towards the latter! I think…

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…

Light in the Darkness

On Sunday I had the privilege of speaking at a Carol Service at our new church, Oxford Community Church. I spoke on the subject of light in the darkness. It was a great fun morning, singing carols and celebrating hope! If you fancy checking it out you can do so here. The talk starts around…

Advent Reflection: The assumptions of Mary

‘“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne…

Reading Roundup 2021

‘Of making many [lists of] books, there is no end.’ (Ecclesiastes-ish 12:12) It’s the end of the year, so every Christian with a blog is posting a list of the things they read over the past twelve months. I figured I might as well follow suit.  I started plenty of books this year, and finished…

Advent Reflection: Five strands to the blessing of Elizabeth and Zechariah

‘In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth…