FiSch blog

Making sense of Covid

We're starting a new series looking at the phenomenon of Covid-19, this strange disease that has spread to virtually every part of the world's population over the last 18 months or so and is attributed with the deaths of more than 3 million people so far.  This basically biotic event is having wide-ranging effects on human societies and cultures, and can thus be said to be making history.  As such, it raises lots of important questions that we ought to be interested in from a Christian perspective.

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Navigating Scholarly Disagreement

Cartoon of email frustration

Mike Wagenman introduces a new series on scholarly disagreement.

How does a Christian scholar navigate scholarly disagreements? Over the years, I’ve endured my fair share of differences of opinion, perspective, and conviction with academic peers. Sometimes they have been friendly and fruitful but more often they have devolved into bitterness, bullying, and even personal attacks. And sometimes the worst offenders have been fellow Christians.

One year on: writing from the middle of the story

It's almost a year since my last post for FiSch, on writing my acknowledgements to my recently completed thesis. Since then I've defended and finalised it: anyone who cares to can now download 100,000 words on 'Anchoritic Prayer in Time'! Since this is a pandemic year, of course, some things are still a little in limbo – I haven’t yet graduated, or formally deposited my thesis as a bound copy (which I was quite looking forward to doing!).

A high priest who can sympathise

Three crosses silhouetted against the sunset

We enter Holy Week this year just a few days after the year-anniversary of the UK's first lockdown. What a difference a year makes. It's become a staple of the national conversation in recent weeks to observe the transformation in attitudes, plans and expectations from last March up to now, the way that the ongoing Covid-19 crisis has at different moments served to unify and divide, to trigger outpourings of love and of anger, to inspire creativity and provoke dread or despair.

Church forests: the Gospel in trees?

Today I want to share a fascinating story of Christian celebration of biodiversity.  In the highlands of Ethiopia, circular church buildings are surrounded by patches of the forest that once covered the landscape.  Varying from less than a hectare up to thousands, these forests host a wide diversity of both animals and plants, and include individual trees hundreds of years old.  But as farming has intensified, the church forests have been shrinking and their regeneration is threatened by cattle grazing.

Is Science being defrocked?

We posted on the secularization of science last summer, in connection with Herman Dooyeweerd's essay of that title.  Like me, you may have been surprised to learn that for Dooyweerd, the 'secularization of science' reached its culmination around the Renaissance, just as theology began to be marginalised in Western culture.  This might seem to belittle the Christian faith and piety associated with subsequent scientific thinkers, from Copernicus and Galileo to Boyle and Faraday, for example.  Isn't secularization a more modern phenomenon - perha

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