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In the Kingdom of God things are different.

“Your career is before you,” observes Screwtape as he proposes a toast at the Tempters' Training College for young demons. “Hell expects and demands that it should be — as mine was — one of unbroken success. Then he adds, somewhat menacingly: “If it is not, you know what awaits you.” He could have been speaking at the annual dinner for Premiership managers. To my own surprise I have some sympathy for the owners of Leicester FC in their abrupt decision to sack FIFA’s coach of the year, Claudio Ranieri. For Claudio knows that in football success is everything. His team may have enjoyed stunning success last season but you are only as good as your current form. Which in Leicester’s ca

When he hit the wrong button

“Typical!” I thought. Typical for the Church of England. Not even the Bishops can agree on what they have agreed one. So the motion was placed before General Synod on Wednesday evening whether to take note of the Bishops’ report on marriage and same sex relationships. And the motion was lost in a vote by Houses, in which the House of Clergy voted 100 to 93 (with two recorded abstentions) against. However, what caught my eye was the vote in the House of Bishops. Some 43 bishops voted to ‘take note’ of their scheme but one actually voted against. Against their own report, that is. And I was right: it was typically Anglican. But not for the reason I thought. Not one maverick Bisho

Why all this fuss over birthdays?

A significant birthday in our household today, even of Biblical proportions. And it’s not mine. However, as Shirley Bassey - now 80, would you believe - contends: “You don't get older, you get better.” But why are birthdays so important? Why all the fuss? I’m reasonably sure that Jesus never sang “Happy birthday” or its cultural equivalent. In fact, there are only two birthday parties singled out in the Bible – and we would readily turn down invites for each. The first was flung by Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, the very one who needed Joseph to interpret his dreams. So we read in Genesis 40:20: “Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials

When a spoiler alert is not needed

Mia: Maybe I'm not good enough! Sebastian: Yes, you are. Mia: Maybe I'm not! It's like a pipe dream. Sebastian: This is the dream! It's conflict and it's compromise, and it's very, very exciting! I really enjoyed La La Land, which was a surprise as feel-good Hollywood musicals are not my genre. But the big surprise was the surprise. And the surprise had huge theological implications. I can already feel a wonderful quote from Thomas Hardy forming in my brain. But alas, I will have to stop there. Until the film is broadcast on ITV2 it would be wrong to spoil it for you. It’s like when we went to watch James Cameron’s Titantic some twenty years ago. The boat hadn’t even left Sout

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