Today, as I write, it is Pentecost. We marked the festival at church this morning, and the coming of the Holy Spirit is regularly celebrated at churches throughout the world. But what does Pentecost mean for research? Should scholars celebrate it outside of church services?
Thinking Faith blogs
Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert attended séances as early as 1846. In 1861, the year when Prince Albert died, a thirteen-year-old medium, Robert Lees delivered a message from Albert to the Queen in which he called her by a pet name known only to her and her dead husband. Victoria was delighted and she sent her trusted servants to investigate the young medium. After impressing the royal officials with impossible-to-know details of Albert’s personal life, Lees was invited to visit the queen at Buckingham Palace.
It won't be news to anyone reading this blog that life as a researcher – perhaps particularly life as a doctoral student – can be, and often is, very isolating. You're working on a niche topic, which few other people may understand or seriously care about; your day-to-day research is self-driven and self-directed. Particularly in the humanities, there is often little to no organised time with peers.
To find a series of books that join up the dots in whole swathes of one's previous education is a wonderful experience. That's my experience of the writings of philosopher Marinus Dirk Stafleu, which I first discovered a year ago. His multi-volume project Philosophy of Dynamic Development flows from his career as a Christian studying physics and philosophy: from a PhD in quantum mechanics to teacher-teaching in Utrecht, in his native Netherlands.
Jodie Chesney, a young woman, aged 17, was knifed in the back near a playground in Harold Hill, Romford, on March 1, 2019. Police chiefs have recently warned that the scale of knife crime in the UK has become a national emergency.
Can I tell you a parable?
'Where do you see yourself in five years' time?' It's a classic interview question – and one which I'm very glad I've not (yet) been asked. Have you ever been tempted to answer it with 'If it is the Lord's will, I will live and do this or that' (James 4:15)?
Here are fifty questions that I have crafted to help Christians in mission and discipleship. Can you think of any others?
1) How does the Bible begin and how does it end?
2) Can you summarise the biblical story in one sentence?
3) What is the cultural or creation mandate?
4) Did God want humans to build cities, invent helicopters and play football?
5) How did Adam and Eve's rebellion plunge the creation into ruin and futility?
6) What were the six relationships twisted by sin and idolatry?
If all truth is God's truth, is there an academic topic where you could serve and glorify God by doing a PhD?
Christianity and the University Experience should be read by everyone concerned with ministry to students. It's the outcome of a project in 2009–2012 across thirteen English universities, investigating patterns of religious commitment among undergraduates identifying themselves as Christian. And perhaps the most striking finding of all was that 51% of all respondents identified