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INTRODUCTION.

Steve Chalke is a Baptist minister and an admirable campaigner for social justice. He founded a the Charity Oasis. A few years ago he adopted a progressive and liberal theology of sexuality. Recently he launched a video that was widely reported (see this link for the Church Times –  -in which he believes that an understanding of Graeco-Roman sexual culture requires that we abandon the teaching of marriage and sexual ethics as Christians have universally understood them. This essay is an answer to the issues he raises. 

Steve Chalke has been doing some research into the Classical world of the Greeks and the Romans, and has come up with some discoveries that have startled him. He has found a world that as he describes was “utterly saturated with sex.” Perhaps Mr Chalke may have led a sheltered life in his reading. But this description of classical culture comes as no surprise to many.Tom Holland, in his recent book on the Romans called ‘Rubicon’, documents how even Julius Caesar put in his time as a ‘rent-boy’ to some elderly lascivious ruler, King Nikomedes of Bythinia. The shame, such as there was amongst the Romans, was not so much in the homoerotic sex; It lay more in being the ‘receptive’ partner; effeminate; humiliating....

A terrific row is raging over the Israel government’s policy on access to the Western Wall. Join me as I suggest to Avi Abelow of Israel Video Network that everyone, both orthodox and progressive, has got this issue fundamentally wrong.

Author Steve Maltz introduces this new series of short videos, where we will explore the questions posed by his new book 'Livin' the Life' www.livinthelife.church and other things too ...

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"There are facts, there are opinions, and there are lies," says historian Deborah Lipstadt, telling the remarkable story of her research into Holocaust deniers — and their deliberate distortion of history. Lipstadt encourages us all to go on the offensive against those who assault the truth and facts. "Truth is not relative," she says. 

‘They will hate you because of who I am,’ Jesus says in the Gospels. He forgot to add: ‘And the ones who don’t have a clue will point and laugh.’ It’s a lesson Carol Monaghan has learned abruptly.

Monaghan is MP for Glasgow North West and a member of the Scottish National Party. A former science teacher, it’s fair to say she hasn’t grabbed the media spotlight in the way some of her colleagues have since entering Parliament in 2015. Still, she’s gone about her duties as an MP, seeing to the needs of her constituents, and serving on the Commons science and technology committee.

This week, the TV cameras finally found her. On Wednesday, Monaghan turned up to her committee and was met by a colleague’s question. What was that on her forehead?

Monaghan is a practising Catholic and had been to Mass that morning for the dispensation of ashes. For Catholics, and other denominations, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and a period of fasting, self-denial and reflection. Ashes are applied to the forehead, with the priestly reminder: “Dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return”. This ceremony prepares Catholics for six weeks of contrition leading up to Easter Sunday, when we celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

Monaghan explained to her fellow MP and was met with a blunt response: ‘But this is going to be broadcast’.

To her credit, she kept her ashes intact, explaining: “I think they just thought I didn’t want to be embarrassed – but I was not going to rub it off. Many religions have visible symbols and Christians should not feel any embarrassment in either practising their religion or in the public display of religious symbols.”

Artless

Published on 3 Nov 2015
A re-imagining of the prophet Daniel in a 1940's Film Noir parody.

Hashkama

Dibre Hayyamim – “The words of the days”

Middle East Report

Stories this week include:    Jerusalem stages annual film festival, French President Mr Macron wants to see peace talks resume and Iraqi Christians have mixed feelings towards the liberation of Mosul from IS.:

 

Olive Tree

Today my guest is Ofer Amitai… he is a Jewish pastor and Bible teacher in Jerusalem. The recent flood of refugees, particularly although not exclusively from Syria, into Europe has created new opportunities for believers in Jesus to help Muslims … many of whom are disillusioned with their faith due to war within the house of Islam. Here Ofer describes how his small congregation in Jerusalem has sent out three missionaries…

Thinking Differently

Steve Maltz looks ahead to the challenges of 2016

Watching Over Zion

The Word: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.