As a music historian, I cringe whenever a new acquaintance asks me why studying the history of music is a valuable use of my time. As a Christian, how do I answer?
Talking to aggressive atheists can be enjoyable and fulfilling if you have an intelligent and creative spiel.
I was talking to an atheist builder who had a pop at me for being a Christian. He declared boldly: "I'm on the side of science and not religion."
I was straight in there. "Does that mean you agree with Eric Harris then?
The builder was puzzled and asked me: "Who is Eric Harris?"
I smiled inwardly and launched into my bespoke evangelism patter.
Growing up, I saw my passion for the natural world as a gift from God. However, as I plunged deeper into my Oxford biology degree, I increasingly felt like I had to choose between biology and faith.
Mark Surey writes on the importance of listening:
I have seldom met a scholar who is not fascinated by and excited about his or her field of study. That level of interest, combined with the God-given capacity to contribute, to a large extent forms the basis for a call to scholarship. It really helps if we both want and are able to do something.
Just came back from a great holiday in Crete with Anne. Truth be told, Crete has a lot more sunshine than Leeds and Zeus, the Greek god, was supposedly born on that fair isle! We didn't bump into the husband of Hera or any other Greek deity but we did have a remarkable encounter with a witty and outgoing plasterer, Ron and his delightful wife, Sally. (These names are not the real names.)
It's possible to benefit greatly from academic criticism, but to do so we have to overcome our pride. And that's a theme familiar to the writers of Scripture.