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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 »


Thanks for reading, see you in the New Year . . .

May the joy of the angels,

the eagerness of the shepherds

the perseverance of the wise men,

the obedience of Joseph and Mary,

and the peace of the Christ-child

be yours this Christmas.

Common Worship, Times and Seasons (Curch House 2006) 73.

‘Greater love has no-one than this,

That he lay down his dancing career for his friends.’

John [Sargent] 15:13.

Some of you may have seen a ‘heads-up’ for the forthcoming day conference, Walk This Way, over on Jason Clark’s Deep Church blog. Having worked with Steve Chalke on the Spring Harvest 2009 Learning Guide, which forms part of foundation for this conference, I might be bold enough to suggest that this should be a fascinating, insightful, challenging and empowering day – so get yourself a ticket!

Despite much support, criticism (some of which could only be described as vitriolic attack rather than dialogue) and ongoing discussions, I’ve never opted to post anything about the fallout from the publication of The Lost Message of Jesus, especially the debate over the nature of the atonement. However, given the continued interest there seems to be, I thought I’d flag up the fact that the papers from the 2005 symposium have now been published under the title The Atonement Debate, and pass a couple of  comments.

The first is to say how indebted I am to Derek Tidball for his kind words in the preface to the book – ‘The final session consisted of a panel discussion, which included Alan Mann, the co-author of The Lost Message of Jesus. Those present will remember it as a significant time of healing of divisions.’

While I fully appreciate the concerns some have in defending what they believe to be a biblically rigorous understanding of the atonement, what has pained me most is that a minority forgot that ultimately the cross is about reconciliation not division. Personally, though I have my own views Read the rest of this entry »

Overnight, our family became a victim of crime for the first time. Which I guess isn’t bad going given that my wife and I are both in our forties. Of course, our daughter is only three, so she’s not doing so well on an age to crime ratio.

Anyway, if you are reading this and you are the praying type, we’d love our car recovered with no damage to it, as it’s the only car we have, and even with an insurance payout we can’t easily afford to replace it as it’s just an old banger, but it’s worth so much to us as a family.

Hopefully worth the wait – my latest book, A Permanent Becoming, is now available:

So, now that the Summer is over and the nights are drawing in, why not get yourself a copy to read?

‘In our secular world, becoming a Christian is almost synonymous with becoming a ‘worse’ person, and someone less than ‘human’. Through a beautiful and compelling exposition of the Fruits of the Spirit alongside a rediscovery of the true humanity of Jesus, Alan Mann explores how life in Christ is in fact the only way to be truly, deeply and fully human in the face of our microwave, quick fix culture.’ – Jason Clark, Senior Pastor, Vineyard Church, Sutton.

Read the rest of this entry »

Open SignI’ve decided to set up another blog, A Permanent Becoming, specifically dedicated to the subject of my forthcoming book of the same name.

Given that the intention of the book is to suggest that our formation as human beings towards Christ-likeness is an ongoing process that takes place within the mundane and ordinariness of life, it seemed rather incongruous to restrict my reflections on this to printed media, which once published remains the same, and merely reflects my thinking at the point of writing. It felt much more appropriate to have something dynamic and opensource, so that others could share their thoughts, aspirations and insights about a path we are all on.

Anything that I post on A Permanent Becoming, will also be posted here, but comments and input will be restricted to that particular blog so that it remains an opensource on the subject.

Todd BentleyLove him or hate him, it seems there is no escaping Todd Bentley and the latest revival taking place in Florida. I’m open to accept that amazing things might possibly be taking place, and if people are genuinely being drawn to Jesus through these meetings, then let Todd preach. However, having lived through the Toronto Blessing and Brownsville Outpouring , as well as a number of more local ‘revivals’, I can’t say I’m rushing to book my ticket for Lakeland. I guess I’ve come to feel that ‘outpourings’ are the spiritual equivalent of an economic boom and bust. It’s great that the boom happens, but the bust is inevitable, with the result that many Christians simply get depressed and either constantly hark back to the ‘good old days of revival’, become fixated with finding the next outpouring, or simply give up on a faith that in reality has to be lived out in mundaneness of everyday life.

I think part of the problem lies in the fact that we have come to believe that the supernatural and the miraculous are what make us like Jesus, when the thrust of the New Testament writings suggest that it is the more ordinarily human things – feeding the hungry, providing water for those Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.’ (Everybody’s Free: To Wear Suncream – Baz Luhrmann).

I hope Baz Luhrmann is right on this one, because today (Friday 27th June) I turn 40 and I still don’t really know what I want to do with my life.

In my time, I’ve been a student of art and theology. I’ve worked as a photographic technician, and in the newspaper industry. I’ve packed crisps, frozen peas and waited tables. I’ve guided students through distance learning theology degrees, and written dozens of magazine articles and several books. All these things have had their delights and their tedious frustrations. And all have contributed to making me the person I am today – but that person is still not sure what he really wants to do with the years he has post-40.

Read the rest of this entry »

August 2019
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