September 17, 2015

Schools in England are to teach students how to Speak Truth to Power, tackling issues like slavery, political violence, repression and religious freedom. Ironic, hypocritical even, in a week when a leaked report suggests that the government is about to implement a national register of faith leaders, who will have to undergo government specified training before being allowed to talk about their faith outside of their places of worship. Totalitarian control of religion by diktat and Orwellian reprogramming of believers... Read more

September 10, 2015

Parents, it seems, are back in the picture. With the government increasingly assuming a supernanny role, teachers are expected to deliver everything from policing packed lunches to teaching hand washing. Enough became enough recently when teachers came worrying close to having to teach children to clean their teeth. Exactly where is the line between nurturing the children of feckless parents and interfering in how caring parents (the vast majority) choose to raise, feed and care for their children? A new... Read more

September 2, 2015

As the government assumes an increasingly quasi-parental role in education and as the western world tightens its embrace of liberal secularism, what is the role of Christian parents? What should be taught in schools and how much influence should parents have? Is there a place any longer for expressions of religious faith in the public square? Education doesn’t, of course, begin when a child starts school. Education begins at the moment of birth and the Bible is clear that the... Read more

July 15, 2015

On 11 September, the Assisted Dying Bill may well become UK law. The speed with which it has been rushed through to a Second Reading in Parliament, the fact that the vote will take place on a day when most MPs are in their constituencies and that it will happen just after the summer recess, suggests an agenda. The aim of the Bill is to legalise assisted suicide by allowing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to those who only have... Read more

July 7, 2015

This is the second in a series of blogs on the life of Nehemiah – a man who put God at the centre of his approach to work and leadership. Not only was he a Jew living in an alien culture, but he had also worked his way to the very top of his career. You can read Broken Walls, the first blog,  here. For months, Nehemiah had been mourning the broken walls of the city of Jerusalem, confessing to God the... Read more

June 18, 2015

The nature of religious observance has diversified and the place of religion in society has shifted since the 1944 Education Act, but religious belief is still as important as ever. So it’s time to ask: what is an appropriate relationship between religion and education in the modern world? And how can it be achieved? Reform is long overdue – provision is piecemeal as changes have been made in response to evolving political and social climates. As a result, the status... Read more

June 4, 2015

The UK Evangelical Alliance this week published Good News for the Poor? its report on poverty, to an unusually controversial response.  In a characteristically rumbustious blog, Archbishop Cranmer suggested that the EA was spinning its own research to attack the government, as the EA itself (rather disingenuously, I felt) heralded the report as ‘a stinging critique of the last government’s economic policy’. I can’t say that I was able to draw that conclusion from anything I read in the report,... Read more

May 21, 2015

Stick or carrot: which is the more powerful motivator? The balance between reward and punishment has swung like a pendulum for centuries, influencing parenting styles and behaviour management as it goes. Is there a definitive answer? What happens when we praise children was the focus of my Masters research, so I was interested to read that researchers at Washington University have concluded that a stick, even a very small one, is more effective than a carrot, even if said carrot... Read more

May 12, 2015

In every age, says the Foreword of the book, Everyone Belongs to God, God’s people need prophets to help them see beyond their own blind spots – to expand their vision of what God is about. Although written over a hundred years ago, much of Blumhardt’s thinking is still relevant today as he argues that our gospel is just too small. Written by the German Lutheran theologian and erstwhile Social Democrat politician Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt, the book is compiled from letters... Read more

May 1, 2015

At a junction on the Alaskan highway is a sign which reads ‘Choose your rut carefully, you will be in it for the next 50 miles’. As with roads, so with life. In 2004, France chose its rut and banned all obvious religious symbols from schools, including Muslim headscarves and veils, Christian crosses, Sikh turbans and Jewish kippahs. The choice of the secular rut is, of course, not a new departure for France: it’s the home of some of the... Read more

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