Where Does Beauty Lie? Queen Elizabeth's Lying-In-State
A Story of Hope
To encounter the church, anywhere and at any time, is to come face to face with a people of hope, convinced that the love of God, made tangible in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, has changed and continues changing everything. The past, Christ reclaimed; the present, he liberated; the future, he assured.
Many lessons of Christian history revolve around this virtue - one of the three "theological virtues," alongside faith and love. At times, whether through timidity or vice, the church falls short of the hope it professes, with the result that faith and love appear to falter. More often, however, thinkers, poets, painters, craftspeople, and (though I dislike the term) "ordinary" believers, take inspiration from their hope to accomplish extraordinary things.
The intellectual and cultural architecture of the church takes reality (especially, human suffering) and judgement seriously, thereby infusing fundamental values, such as "love" and "forgiveness," with moral rigour. Christian hope does not offer immunity from suffering but entails a persistent conviction that, in the midst of real challenges, the good is always worth seeking, love is worth sharing, and that, one day, all shall be made well.
This website is a record of some of my encounters with aspects of this story of hope.
I have the privilege of coming from "the land of the northern saints" and my faith owes a great deal to the inspiration of Anglo-Saxons, like Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede.
For nearly two decades, I have been thinking and writing about Christianity. I do so both as a "professional," having held teaching posts in higher education, and as a "practitioner" within a community of faith; I am Head of Development at the magnificent Durham Cathedral.
I am, I suppose, an "ecclesial theologian" for whom the ideas of theology and the community of faith are inseparable. The history of religious life, one of my main fields of interest, shows with particular clarity how thinking and being go hand-in-hand, mutually enriching one another.