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The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open.
The one who has hope lives differently;
the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life.

Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi (2007)

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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.

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For nearly two decades, I have been thinking and writing about Christianity. I do so as an academic and as a practitioner within a community of faith. I am presently an Honorary Fellow in Theology at Durham University and Head of Development at Durham Cathedral.

To my mind, 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 on another.

To find out more about my work, check out 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 'big') ideas of my academic work.

From my blog
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