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Back in January I recorded my first ever interview to be released as a podcast. Well it has finally gone live over at the Nick and Josh Podcast. Do check it out, but also take a look around the whole site as there are some fascinating interviews to be heard.

http://media.switchpod.com/users/nicholasfiedler/ep106AlanMann.mp3

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0648 A Permanent Becoming.inddPeople are often surprised to learn how little money I make from writing Christian books, and wonder, therefore, what drives me to do it.

There are, of course, many reasons why one would want to write, but here are just two . . .

1. The Bridge, a community church in Hinckley, Leicestershire, have just finished a series of talks and discussions based around my latest book, A Permanent Becoming. What an inspiration to see how my work can be adopted and adapted by others, and what a privilege to be Read the rest of this entry »

My final thought for the day until June was aired this morning on BBC Radio Bristol.

You can read it below, or for the coming week you can listen again on the BBC/iplayer – about 1 hr 47 mins into the programme.

Did you feast on pancakes last night? If you’re like me, you probably had to actually go out and buy ingredients so you could make them – tempted by Supermarket promotions on eggs and maple syrup. Which sort of defeats the point of Shrove Tuesday. After all, pancakes are traditionally Read the rest of this entry »

In rather timely fashion, I received in the post today a copy of Walk This Way: 40 Days on the Road with Jesus. I’d been thinking I could do with a book (other than the Bible) to give me some stimulating reading over Lent, and here it is.

To quote from the back cover:

Jesus calls us to a life of radical discipleship. He invites us to follow him and learn his ways. This book provides 40 days’ worth of daily readings from Christians – past and present – who have walked that path with Jesus. Here you will find insight from early Christian leaders, mystics, monks, Puritans and Poets.

I’ve promised to review the book, and this will appear at some stage on the  DeepChurch website, hosted by my good friend Jason Clark. But in the mean time, as Lent gets underway, any thoughts generated by the book  may well appear here first.

Here’s my Thought for the Day from this morning’s Breakfast Show on Radio Bristol.

I recently watched a programme presented by David Attenborough. At the beginning of it, he stood in front of a huge King James Bible and read from Genesis – God said unto them, Be fruitful, replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over it. ‘That made it clear,’ said Sir David, ‘According to the Bible humanity could exploit the natural world as they wished.’ Well, that’s one way you could read it. But it’s not the way most Read the rest of this entry »

I saw this on the BBC’s website and had a go for a bit of fun. I’m pleased to say that I managed a respectable 9/10 – though I didn’t recognize the words of Jesus in one of the questions 🙂

From Shakespeare to Steinbeck, literary greats have borrowed heavily from the Bible. Now, Poet Laureate Andrew Motion has raised concerns that students of English literature are struggling because they don’t understand Biblical references. Is he right to worry? Test your knowledge with this quiz from the Bible Society.

CLICK HERE TO THE QUIZ

Below is my thought for the day from today’s breakfast show on radio Bristol.

If you are quick, you can listen again on line. Click on the link below, open the player and scoot along the time bar to around 1 hr 49 mins into the show: BBC BREAKFAST iPLAYER

Do you know, the last time I received a bonus I got £100 – and that despite the fact that I was doing a good job for my employer and that they were making excellent profits. Perhaps that’s why, like most people, I find it galling to read about the multi-million pound bonuses and golden Read the rest of this entry »

For those of you who missed it (most, if not all of you) here is my thought for the day from BBC Radio Bristol’s Programme. I’ll be doing this every Wednesday morning throughout February at around 7.40 am on 94.9 FM, or you can listen online live (or later as a podcast) via the BBC Bristol Website.

Do you know, when I come onto the breakfast show, I always get introduced as being a local writer. But like the rest of us, I’m more than what I do for a living. I’m also a stay-at-home dad. And mostly this is an absolute joy – but my thoughts for this day, as they have been for more than a week now, are with my daughter who is sick and running a fever. Far from being a much maligned absent father, or a selfish parent who is Read the rest of this entry »

Given the current context, the recent publication of the National Accounts of Wellbeing from the New Economics Foundation couldn’t be more timely and more fascinating (see HERE; HERE and HERE).  There is increasing political interest in such research and indices of human wellbeing and the role these should play in policy making. That’s one reason why I felt the need to flag up such things in my book, A Permanent Becoming, and hopefully play some small part in waking up the Christian Community to the central role it can play in such things.

Though I write specifically about happiness here, the relationship to issues of wellbeing are the same.

Wake Up Call
The search for happiness has a long history.

One ancient Greek Philosopher said something like, ‘No one ever pursues happiness as a means to something else.’ By which, he meant that while you might go after money, or fame, or sex because you think they will bring you happiness, you don’t go after happiness to get . . . well you don’t.

The point is this: the pursuit of happiness is core to who we are. It’s one of the things that all human beings do. Happiness is a uniquely desirable Read the rest of this entry »

Just before Christmas I received a copy of Scot McKnight’s latest offering, intriguingly titled, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible. I would tell you why it has such a strange title, but that would steal some of Scot’s thunder. It would also take longer to explain than I’d want to do here. What’s more, while Scot may have drawn on this reoccurring metaphor for his title, it wasn’t for me the most important aspect of what he had to say. Indeed, if I was being totally honest, I would probably say that it didn’t work for me – but that’s a personal thing, not a criticism of Scot’s book. After all, I didn’t get on with the literary vehicle Brian McLaren employed for his New Kind of Christian trilogy, and yet it remains for me one of the most important Christian books of recent years, and one I’ve recommended more times than I can recall. And that is going to be true of the Blue Parakeet. Indeed, I had to get my copy back from a friend so I could write this review.

My post-grad studies were about aspects of biblical interpretation – hermeneutics – those factors that impinge and shape our reading and understanding of Scripture and so allow us, as Scot puts it, not to simply ‘apply’ the biblical narrative, but to live it out, to let it become part of who we are, part of our story – to transform us as human beings.

Now, I am 100% convinced that the vast majority of Christians could do with a better understanding of biblical interpretation. It’s not good enough to claim you have a high view of Scripture, or that you believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God if you’ve never really thought about what you mean by such things, or even know how the Bible came about historically.

Let me share a story. I can’t recall where I got it from, but it illustrates an important point.

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