What was Jesus thinking?


Have you ever wondered if there are other explanations for who Jesus is, other than God?

Have you had friends suggest to you other explanations? In their book, Mad or God, Dr Martinez and Dr Sims set out to address the suggestion some put forward that Jesus was mentally ill, one option in the ‘trilemma’ that has been suggested – that Jesus must be either mentally ill (mad), or a liar (bad), or God. It seems to have been written with the intention of being an evangelistic book exploring this specific argument around who Christ is.

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Debating Jesus’ existence


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We have all, no doubt, had arguments (or discussions!) about who Jesus was.

Profound teacher? Jewish prophet? Misguided Messiah? On one thing most people agree. Jesus existed. However, a number of contemporary authors have tried to push the claim that Jesus is a figure of myth. It sounds bizarre. It is contrary to the clear evidence used by practically every historian and classical scholar. But the claim gains popular momentum and some more articulate writers have joined the circus.

Atheist critic Richard Carrier has argued that Jesus was the name given to a mythological celestial figure who was envisioned by his followers as walking the earth. Later, he says, these mythological tales were misunderstood as historical accounts.

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Anti-semitism


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The controversy within the Labour Party has rumbled on for at least two years.

It shows no signs of abating. What needed to be dealt with root and branch has been the subject of hedging by the Labour leadership.

Over the summer, various pieces of damning information were uncovered by journalists. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn came under fire for his presence in Tunis in 2014 at what appeared to be an event honouring the terrorists who killed 11 Israeli Olympic team members in 1972. In 2013 he made derogatory comments about British people who favour Israel. He had to apologise for hosting an event in 2010 which included a comparison of Israel to the Nazis.

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Snapchat Dysmorphia


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It sounds like an episode of the fictional dystopian series about technology, Black Mirror.

Patients are increasingly asking plastic surgeons to make them look like their filtered selfies.

Snapchat and Instagram, in particular (though not only them), provide easy-to-use filters to smooth your skin’s appearance, thin your face, change your eye colour and accentuate your features – image-editing software that is resulting in a new form of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) that some are calling Snapchat dysmorphia.

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Turkey: Good morning!


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A former Turkish soap-opera star became the host of the first live daily Christian women’s show on the Christian satellite platform SAT-7, it was reported in August.

In her ten-year acting career, 33-year-old Şemsa Deniz Tolunay has appeared in long-running soaps, historic drama series and comedy roles. But she admits how much more at ease she is in her new role.

‘Soap operas are very popular here, but I wasn’t very comfortable,’ Tolunay said. In TV dramas, ‘it’s about money and about popularity’.

Tolunay said that Turkey’s TV dramas also reinforce attitudes to women that need challenging. ‘There is a wrong point of view towards women in this country and I wanted to do something to change that,’ she says. ‘In soap operas here, people look at you as if you are an object. They notice your figure; they are not thinking about your mind or your soul. I wanted to change that so that people will look to see more of the inside of a woman, her mind and her thoughts and the beauty!’

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Help a pastor stay in ministry


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An extract from John Benton’s new book Resilient: how 2 Timothy teaches us to bounce back in Christian leadership

His name was Tony.

He was married, the father of five children and he worked as a civil servant. He was one of the most tenacious men I ever knew. He was a deacon and then an elder of the church of which I was pastor before he moved on to help lead a church replanting project in which we were involved. Now he is with the Lord.

But in the mid-1960s – long before I arrived – the church went through a bad time. The congregation had dwindled to just a handful on Sunday evenings. There was often acrimony among members, especially at church meetings. The church building was old and not in a good state of repair. While other churches in the town were thriving, God seemed to have passed this one by. People weren’t up for serving in the church, some were leaving and much of what needed to be done by way of administration and practical jobs got left to Tony.

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Believing in Barrow


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A new Cumbrian church plant is giving thanks for six months of life and looking ahead to God’s provision as they face the future…

The joke is often made that Barrow-in-Furness is at the end of the longest cul-de-sac in the country!

With a population of 70,000 it is the second-largest urban area in Cumbria, but is located at the end of the Furness peninsula. For those who’ve experienced the 45-minute drive down the A590 from the M6 turn-off, there’s more than a hint of truth to this joke!

Our first time making the journey was back in November 2014, part of a seemingly epic trek from north London, where we were training for ministry at Oak Hill College. Even in the space of a weekend the town made an impression on us: the strong sense of Barrovian identity, the stunning beach vistas looking north up the west Cumbrian coastline, not to mention the huge looming hulk of the Devonshire Dock Hall at the centre of the town’s shipyard.

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