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The hubris of humanism

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Moses: a model leader for our times?

The Lord came down in the Cloud. He spoke with Moses, but took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the spirit came on them they prophesied, but not again.  Two men had stayed back in the camp; one was called Eldad and the other Medad. The spirit came down on them; though they had not gone to the Tent, their names were enrolled among the rest. These began to prophesy in the camp. The young man ran to tell this to Moses, ‘Look,’ he said ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’ Then said Joshua the son of Nun, who had served Moses from his youth, ‘My Lord Moses, stop them!’ Moses answered him, ‘Are you jealous on my account? If only the whole people of the Lord were prophets, and the Lord gave his Spirit to them all!’ - Numbers 11:26-34
Numbers: the fourth book of the Bible, which probably wins the prize for the least exciting title, but nonetheless contains some interesting stories. We’re going back here way before the time of Jesus. Moses has …

Do not be afraid

Now, we all know that God isn’t some kind of white-haired old man sitting on a throne up in the clouds – but wait a minute! – that is just how the Old Testament prophet Daniel sees him in a vision: a white-haired old man sitting on a throne up in the clouds. Surrounded by fire and angels, ten thousand times ten thousand all around. The Bible is full of pictures of God. Most of them are not of an old man at all. A cloud of darkness at the top of a mountain, a pillar of fire, a burning bush, the sound of thunder, a still, small voice of calm, a potter, a rock, a gardener, a warrior, a mother, a builder, even a drunk waking up with a hangover: all these are different pictures of God from the Bible. They are not all as comforting as the “white-haired grandad in the sky.” Nor can they all work at once: some are contradictory. How can God be both cloud and fire? Both father and mother? Both still small voice of calm and destructive thunder? It doesn’t make sense. And that’s the point. God is n…

Catholic Jesus: out now in paperback and on Kindle

•What can I say to friends who say that Jesus was a ‘good man’ but nothing more? =
•How can I counter secularist, New Age and Muslim arguments that the Church has corrupted the teaching of the real, historic Jesus? 
•How can I help “Bible-believing” Christians to understand the importance of the tradition of the Church which Jesus founded? 
It’s not surprising that traditional Christians often feel under siege. 
On one front, we face the Twitterati and dinner-table critics, convinced that the Church has fabricated its story about Jesus, elevated an ancient rabbi to the status of God for the sake of her own power. 
Then we face fellow Christians, seeking to undermine the Church by claiming that our understanding and worship of Jesus – especially in the Blessed Sacrament – are ‘unbiblical.’ 
In this book, you will find the historical resources to help you hold your own and defend the Church's traditional understanding of Jesus. 
An Anglo-Catholic priest and doctor of Cambridge University, …

Amazon versus Caesar

It would be perverse on the feast day of St Matthew, the Bible's most famous tax collector, not to mention the Archbishop of Canterbury's recent controversy with Amazon. In case you’ve missed the news, Archbishop Welby is concerned that the company is exploiting loopholes to avoid paying their due.

For those of us still acquainted with the Authorized Version, "render unto Caesar" is the most obviously apposite maxim. But does this not depend somewhat on what Caesar does with whatever it is we render?

There is a strong, biblical case to yield “the first fruits of our increase” to aid the widow and orphan, to heal the sick, to maintain the rule of law, and to defend the weak - so long as we heed the caveat of Proverbs that this be done foremost to “honour the Lord.”

And we must admit, the ends of much of our taxation seem somewhat distant from honouring the Lord. One might object to funding, say, parts of social services actively hostile to Christians adopting childre…

Proselytising in Asia: what if we succeed?

A talk given at the 2018 Reconciliation Eza, Three Wheels Temple, Acton

It’s 1985. Suren Ter-Grigoryan gets married - in a church. Surely, you’d think, this is uncontroversial. The trouble is, Suren works as a cameraman for Armenian state TV, and Armenia is under Soviet rule. So, he is summoned up to the Communist Party Regional HQ, where he is chastisted, ridiculed and ultimately fired from his job.
But then, if he had done the same thing 50 years earlier, he might have faced far worse consequences. Stalin had 14,904 Armenian civilians killed, among them 500 priests, and innumerable churches were destroyed or converted to secular use.
The Armenian Church endured 80 years of suppression; now she thrives again.
But how? After the deliberate attempt to obliterate all trace of her tradition from the memory of two or three generations?
I think it can only be the potency and richness of that tradition, the beauty of its liturgy and music, which kept the memory alive in the heart…

パンが欲しい人誰? Who wants bread?

主イエスは「私は命のパンです」 と言いましたが、 パンがほしい人は だれ? もちろん、 世の中で、 パン・ご飯など食べれない人が いますけど、 日本の現在のグルメ文化で、 パン だけ では つまらなくない ですか? 食事のテレビ番組や 雑誌がはやってる 時代、 スーパーで毎日捨てるように 食材がありすぎる時代で、 パンより アキヨシの焼き鳥、ヨーロッパケンのカツ丼の持ち帰りを 頼みませんか?

私の国イギリスと日本では、 本当に飢える人が少ないです。 十分食べられる人が ほとんどに なりました。

過剰な食料の上に、 贅沢品、 ソーシャル・メディア ビデオゲームなどの食いしん坊になる危険があります。 この新しさ を常に追求する世界で、 データの食いしん坊になる危険もあります。 お腹だけ じゃなくて、 私たちの 頭も いっぱいです。 しかし、 いかに費やしても、 まだ もっと ほしい。 結局、 多分この世は まだもっと深い飢えで 飢えています。

イエズス会の創立者 聖イグナチオ・デ・ロヨラは この飢えをよく分かっていました。 軍人でしたから、 昔の騎士の話の本が大好きでした。 一度、 病気になり入院して、 病院で聖人の話の本しか ありませんでした。 あまり 読みたくないのに、 それしかないから 読み始めました。 驚くことに、 その聖人達の話が好きになりました。 聖人も、騎士のように、 勇ましい人だ と知りました。 しかし、 大きな違いがありました。 騎士の話が終わると、 楽しみも終わってしまいました。 逆に、 聖人の話が終わっても、 楽しみはずっと続きました。 イグナチオが聖人の生き方に従って生きると、 永遠の平和を感じました。 イグナチオの上辺上の欲しい物は その騎士の生き方でしたけど、 彼が心の底で 本当に欲しいと欲しったものは 聖人の生き方 そのもの でした。 神様の意志は 私の「欲しいもの」じゃなくて、 私の「欲しいと欲しったもの」だ と見つけました。 欲を感じると、 欲の欲、 つまり欲の原因を考えないと、 と言う意味です。 したがって、 私たちは、 世が与える物が欲しいと考える時、 この質問を聞いたら良いと思います: 「上辺だけで欲しいものではなくて、 欲しいと欲しったものは何でしょうか?」

毎週、聖餐式に来る前、 世にもらった物でお腹が痛いなら、 多分吐い…