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Opinions/reflections 2017 

The 10 most popular reflections in 2017

A month-by-month breakdown:



Reclaiming your virtual self
How can we use the web, social media and our smartphones in a way that’s aligned with our faith? By Guy Brandon

Pride disguised as humility? 
It is right and good to pray for ourselves; but those prayers should not be selfish. How that can be? By Colin Sedgwick

A reflection on Baptists and leadership 
The term leadership can split opinion among Baptists, but wholesome leadership is both biblical and vital in enabling others to thrive. By Nigel Wright

Nothing left but the screen
How do we break into the hollowed-out lives of those in the hidden places of our communities, whose only company is the television? By Michael Manning

Why do pastors burn out?
When leading a church becomes principally about numerical growth and legacy, it’s no wonder church leaders struggle. There is another road. By Joe Haward

The most powerful thing you can do for POTUS 
Donald Trump will need the prayers of the church if he is going to have any measure of success in leading the nation. By Frank Lewis

Multi-ethnic Churches: a gospel imperative
God has demonstrated that His Gospel brings an end to whatever divides us - multi-ethnic churches are essential in a post-Brexit world. By Israel Olofinjana

Loitering with intent 
Jesus offers really only one strategy for mission.... and it is this, writes Michael Shaw 


Leadership in smaller churches 
There are many encouragements amid the challenges of leading smaller churches, including growing network support. By Hilary Taylor

Looking down on other people
By what right does any Christian presume to pass serious judgement on someone else?

Sage on the stage, or guide on the side?
The enabling leader: giving people the tools to face their problems is a leadership that encourages congregations to develop their giftings

A reflection on prayerfulness
Is prayer the same as prayerfulness? As mindfulness? Or … do you pray like the Simpsons?

An urgent call for the confessing church
Amid rising racism and hate mongering in a turbulent world, the Church needs to rise up and confess Christ

Effective multicultural leadership teams 
Understanding the four areas where misunderstandings can occur when people of differing cultural backgrounds work together

10 years on: The Journey continues 
Increasing the number of Black and minority ethnic (BME) ministers and leaders remains a challenge for Baptists


Plain sailing - or sinking?
Comparing our spiritual lives to a boat - where are you on the sea of life?

Maybe it isn’t disabled people who need healing 
What if we all get to heaven and realise disabled people were healed all along? Rachel Wright shares a modern day parable

Where there's nowhere to hide
How smaller churches can open a door to leadership opportunities (even in partnership with larger ones)

Questions we’re afraid to ask about the Bible
Have you noticed in church when we have an Old Testament reading, the reading always stops JUST before it gets gruesome?

Responding to hate - a reflection'
The hate of this man will not die with him if it still lives within us.' 

The thieves on the cross 
Who were they – and what lessons can we learn from them?


Doing Satan’s work for him 
Post-truth? Fake news? In a world awash with lies and half-truths, we who claim to follow Jesus are called to be men and women of total integrity and cast-iron honesty.

What keeps you going? 
I wouldn’t be going anywhere without my kaleidoscope of pills, writes a Baptist minister living with heart disease. But they’re not enough on their own. How would you answer the question What keeps you going?

Why do Christians clash? … conflict in the church 
Churches are more vulnerable to conflict than any other group, community, or organisation, writes Chris Goswami. Why?

Why just grow your church when you can MULTIPLY it? 
A new project to help Baptist churches explore a multi-congregational future is being launched. Simon Goddard explains more

Beacons of Hope 
What does it mean to be Beacons of Hope in a world where hope is so often in short supply? By Lynn Green

'It's not all about Brexit'
Brexit is likely to dominate the next seven weeks, pushing back other matters of genuine priority. Let's not forget them. By Chris Goswami 

The General Election and the Resurrection of Jesus 
No-one can confess Jesus as Lord with integrity and exclude politics from that confession. By Peter Shepherd



Rethinking Old Testament ethics  
How do we make sense of some of the more difficult passages of the Old Testament - and what relevance do they have for Christians today? By Hetty Lalleman

How are you feeling? 
Our emotions are important – but must always be subordinate to that day-by-day desire to know God and trust him – however we may be feeling

Living, moving, being
How do we confront the structural challenges that break people, rather than offer sticking plaster solutions? By Michael Manning

As in Heaven – President’s address 
In an address that mixed challenge with encouragement, new President Dianne Tidball called on Baptists to 'to wake up, seek God, share good news and punch holes in the darkness'

Rebuilding our confidence in prayer 
Baptist minister Chris Band was overwhelmed with questions about prayer. It led to a deep study, lengthy interviews... and a book called On My Knees. He shares some of that journey

A new jungle? 
Refugees remain in Calais, despite last year's clearing of the camp there, writes Simon Jones - and conditions are worse than before 


Leadership: The Model is Jesus 
Jesus offers perfect leadership – and here’s why we need to rediscover it, writes Karl Martin

A poem about the Manchester bombing, by Baptist minister Darrell Holmes

The perils of the echo chamber
Beware personal attacks and focus on policy in the final days of the election, writes David Mayne 

'Thank God I'm vulnerable'
To remove our vulnerability would be to remove our humanity – a Baptist minister's reflection after the London terror attack

The election and the environment
With our care for God's creation high on his agenda, former Baptist Union President John Weaver examines the environmental policies of the main parties

'Christians are the new heretics'
Where does Tim Farron’s resignation leave us? A reflection by Baptist blogger Chris Gowami

Creation groans - the London fire  
Ours is the task to provide the space where the groans of a shattered creation can be heard. By Phil Jump

The two vital principles of spiritual gifts
Each one of us is gifted by God, for the common good. Are we using those gifts?

Can our prayers change God’s mind?   
God doesn’t merely enlist us as spectators to watch him building his Kingdom. Rather he invites us to share in the work, even allowing us at times, through prayer, to shape the manner in which that task is achieved.

Baptists - book for Greenbelt! 
As church finds itself more unable to ignore its engagement with politics, economics and society, the summer festival will help you look at and think about faith differently, says Baptist minister



Diesel the dog and the kingdom of God 
There are moments when, even in this earthly life, we get little glimpses of something eternal. By Colin Sedgwick

Migrancy and the UK: three areas to consider 
Baptist theologian Helen Paynter has written a short booklet exploring the Church's response to immigration. In introducing it here, she offers three areas for reflection that may help broaden our understanding of such a complex issue  

Image is everything? 
None of us is immune to the pressure to look good. However, we must choose to see past the mere physical exterior and see the true heart beauty that God values, writes Hazel Paine, author of a new book that aims to challenge a young adult audience about what true beauty is 

Art as a tool for understanding our time and place 
Our ability to share, reimagine and communicate God’s kingdom on earth is helped by taking notice of the art that surrounds us, writes Lesley Sutton

1 in 5 teens are Christians 
 – & church buildings are back in fashion! What does your building say about who you are as a church?

Ministers need a system to read the Bible
Reflections on a survey of Baptist ministers and their Bible-reading habits


Negotiating our way through the maze  
A maze of contradictions surround the subject of faith in Britain today - how do we disarm suspicion and direct people towards an authentic encounter with the living Jesus? By Chick Yuill

Do numbers count with God?  
Seven reasons why praying together is more effective than purely praying alone. By Chris Band 

What did God do on his day off?
The secret to enjoying a Sabbath rest. By Chris Goswami 

Can you pray too much? 
Colin Sedgwick shares thoughts on how long we should be praying for 

History teaches us 
Reflecting on events in Charlottesville, Mary Taylor says it vital we study how the Bible holds up a light to current events


Diary of a Baptist minister  
As part of his sabbatical, Anthony Crawford took part in Mission to Wales, a joint initiative between New Wine Cymru and The Turning team from Reading, UK. This is his diary of those 10 days

Churches need to raise their game to tackle the injustices that afflict our society and truly follow a Gospel agenda, writes a Baptist minister

The fool, the hot-head and the peace-maker  
There is much to learn from the Old Testament, as the 1 Samuel story involving Nabal, David and Abigail shows, writes Colin Sedgwick 

Left to their own devices? 
Exploring the impact of the digital world on teenagers and younger children - and our response as parents. By Katharine Hill  

'Spiritual but not religious' 
A response to the latest British Social Attitudes survey, which stated more than half the UK population is now "non-religious". By Chris Goswami 

A phoenix rises 
A look at doubt in a personal journey. By Adam Couchman 

The Reformation - and the Declaration of Principle 
The 500th anniversary encourages Baptist minister John Smuts to revisit the Baptist Union's Declaration of Principle afresh - with surprising results 

Open hands, open heart 
Baptist minister Ifor Williams has written a much-praised book on giving. He explains how it came about


How the Reformation changed the Church  
The Reformation was a wonderful gift from God - but we should acknowledge where the Reformers went wrong too

The Apology - Ten Years On
In November 2007, Baptist Union Council passed an historic resolution apologising for our part in the transatlantic slave trade.  Our Justice Enabler, Wale Hudson-Roberts, shares his thoughts as he reflects on all that has happened in the intervening ten years.

Are you decaying nicely?
Ageing means our bodies are not what they were... but we mustn't lose heart

Different worlds
How do we respond to the world of the broken? By Michael Manning

Working with our primary schools 
The primary school is a place where community really meets – and where Christians can serve with integrity


The Paradise Papers and slavery
 Both reveal a global financial system that is relentlessly in favour of the rich while exploiting and dehumanising the poor. Scripture's joyful, justice-filled economics challenges the offshore finance model, and Christians need to pray for and articulate its vision, writes Michael Manning, a Baptist church member in the Isle of Man 

Heart to Heart Listening 
A reflection on the art of listening well. By Sandra Haynes

A beautiful fragrance 
As a dyed-in-the-wool, evangelical Baptist, I don’t care much for incense. But then I read Revelation and the word has taken on a whole new meaning

Martin Luther King: radical Christian peacemaker, not secular hero  
It's the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's visit to Newcastle University. Current university chaplain and lecturer Nick Megoran argues that all King stood for was rooted in his radical Christian faith that built on a Baptist tradition of non-violence. If we really want to honour King’s legacy, Christians in general and Baptists in particular ought to recommit to this tradition in the 21st.

Sleepy Pope awakens radio opportunity 
The Pope admitting to occasionally falling asleep when he prays led to the BBC calling Baptist minister Chris Band, author of a recent book on prayer, for a series of radio interviews 

A new method of dialogue 
Interfaith discussions and studies are fine - but are we asking the right questions?

Would Jesus drive a diesel?
Or more relevantly, should we be concerned about our modes of transport and the source of our energy consumption?


Three lessons to learn from events in 2017
2017 didn’t have the same shock value, but it did have its share of defining events. Here are just three

3 (more) lessons to take from 2017
Reformation, disasters and terror: some more defining events of 2017 – and what they mean for Christians

Can we really say Happy Christmas?
There are many grim stories from around the world - but the Christmas story is essentially about putting it right

Don't forget the angels this Christmas
We live in a world more convinced of fairies, yet angels are everywhere, including the heart of the Christmas story

When faith gives way to sight 
Do we really believe that one day we will see Jesus? An invitation to ponder one of the richest and most challenging verses in the whole New Testament. 



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