Are the Psalms good theology?

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So as I mentioned, I've been reading through the Psalms recently, and it's been very interesting. But one niggle I've had is that I don't quite know how to read the Psalms - it's in the Bible as the songbook and praise book of the people of God. But how much of it is humans praising God, and how much of it is God telling us how to praise?

Personal branding for missionaries

To keep up with the tech news, I follow (an aggregation of Digg, Slashdot and It's a mixed bag of things which are interesting to computer people. Of the things that comes up now and again is about personal branding - how to establish a “brand identity” for yourself and market yourself, for instance to increase your appeal while job hunting.

Transparency is Accountability

I'm (thoroughly enjoying) writing an IT strategy for a large church, and one of the things I want to get across is the benefits of openness with information, whether that means blogging, Twitter, engaging in discussions and forums about church teaching. This is an idea that the leadership are apparently unhappy about, since they want to keep fairly tight hold on authority for teaching and doctrine and what gets said in the name of the church, and if people start questioning what the pastor says in his sermons then where will we be. (In other words, all that unpleasantness in 1517 didn't change a bloody thing.)

Towards a theology of wedding lists

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So Gervase asked me, by email, what I thought the theological implications of having a wedding list was; what message I was sending by selling out to the glitzy commercialism of big name stores and publishing a list of the material possessions that we crave, or something. I don't think he was being quite as accusatory as that, but I can't really tell.

Expectations, again

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I'm still reflecting on my experience working in a Japanese church. I've written before about the sense of expectations I've felt put on by myself, and by my church in the UK (or at least my perception of what they expect) but I didn't really think before about the expectations of my local congregation, the church I was working for. Perhaps at the time I was too close to the action.

That's just the way it is

I had a debrief with the UK Director last week where we looked back over the two years of work in Japan. We talked about a few areas of working with the Japanese church, and some areas where I consider the Christian culture in Japan to be somewhat Pharisaical. And then John said something rather like “At the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether you agree with them theologically or not, that's the situation and you have to deal with it.”