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 hope - 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.
For nearly two decades, I have been thinking and writing about Christianity. I do so as a practitioner within a community of faith and as an academic. I am presently Head of Development at Durham Cathedral and an honorary fellow in Theology at Durham University.
To my mind, the community of faith and the ideas of theology are inseparable. The history of religious life, one of my main fields of interest, shows with particular clarity how being and thinking go hand-in-hand, mutually enriching on another.
To find out more about my work, see my research and publications. I also use this site to keep a blog; this is no more than an occasional journal of little thoughts, which sit alongside those bigger (if not quite big) ideas of my academic work.