christian mind

images that teach (5): the lid

February 21, 2024 /

A curious thing happens in our society today. A person who asserts that death is the end and that there is no heaven can still be heard longing that a loved one be ‘looking down from above’. For those with ears to hear, this kind of thing happens quite a lot. What is going on?…

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is there a meaning in this (old) text?

February 6, 2024 /

Today is the day when New Zealanders give special attention to Te Tiriti O Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi), the text on which our nation is founded—and signed 184 years ago. But how is it that old texts convey meaning in today’s world? This is a question that is never too far away for interpreters…

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gentle and lowly

January 31, 2023 /

They are remembered for everything they aren’t.  That is a clumsy paraphrase of an observation JI Packer once made about the Puritans.  What comes to mind today with a word like ‘puritanical’ is such a long way from what the Puritans actually believed and how they lived—more than 400 years ago.  A long way?  From…

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wayfinding leadership

January 9, 2023 /

Like many of you, I am always ready to engage with new insights on leadership. This book draws on ‘the great wayfinding tradition of the Polynesian navigators’ (xiii). Most of you live far from Polynesia, so please stick with me through unfamiliar surroundings! It will be worth it… Drawing near to it There is a…

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images that teach (4): bubbles, bad air, blindspots

January 3, 2023 /

With the focus of my work remaining overseas, I have needed to find ways to re-engage with life here in New Zealand.  Thirty years ago, I developed a course at Laidlaw College, The Gospel in a Post-Christian Society—and so, when Greg Liston asked me to assist with a new course at Laidlaw covering similar terrain (Ngākau…

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vince bantu: a multitude of all peoples

August 30, 2022 /

  There can be no doubt about what is on Vince Bantu’s mind with his book, A Multitude of All Peoples.  It is sitting there, blunt and bald, in the opening two sentences of his Introduction: “Christianity is and always has been a global religion.  For this reason, it is important never to think of…

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beyond betrayal

May 11, 2022 /

Over the years I have enjoyed taking two pilgrimages… One is to Rangihoua Bay, about 200km north of Auckland — and Marsden Cross, the site of the first preaching of the gospel here in Aotearoa New Zealand, in 1814. On one occasion, as a way to celebrate my 50th birthday, 30 friends joined me in…

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images that teach (1): the playground

March 13, 2022 /

They don’t make them like they used to do.   It is not just that gravel and mud have given way to rubber and chips.  Nor is it just that Occupational Safety & Health seems intent on ridding the world of every hint of dangerous play.  What catches my eye are these playground monstrosities.  They…

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wisdom: here & there

February 28, 2022 /

Last Monday was World Mother-Language Day.  Al Jazeera celebrated the day on their Interactives page by collecting 25 proverbs from 25 different languages, recited by speakers of that language.  If you scroll down this page, you’ll discover it.  It is very cool. This comes a couple of days after I came across Hinemoa Elder’s AROHA:…

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migration and the making of global christianity

January 25, 2022 /

The early mornings between Christmas and New Year were spent absorbed in a book: Jehu Hanciles’ Migration and the Making of Global Christianity (Eerdmans, 2021). With a Foreward written by Philip Jenkins and an opening quotation from Lamin Sanneh, Hanciles had me wandering among my pantheon before he himself had written a word — and now he…

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About Me

paul06.16

the art of unpacking

After a childhood in India, a theological training in the USA and a pastoral ministry in Southland (New Zealand), I spent twenty years in theological education in New Zealand — first at Laidlaw College and then at Carey Baptist College, where I served as principal. In 2009 I began working with Langham Partnership and since 2013 I have been the Programme Director (Langham Preaching). Through it all I've cherished the experience of the 'gracious hand of God upon me' and I've relished the opportunity to 'unpack', or exegete, all that I encounter in my walk through life with Jesus.