Phyllis Tickle Book Review: The Great Emergence & the Re-Emergence Conference, Belfast

Phyllis Tickle is one of the featured speakers at the Belfast Re-Emergence Conference on March 16-18, 2010. Her book, The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why (Baker Books, 2008) sets contemporary controversies, upheavals, and developments within Christianity in a sweeping historical context, proclaiming that we are at one of the ‘hinges’ of a […]

Barbara Walshe in the West Bank: Witness at Checkpoint 300

It’s a long way from Clare to Checkpoint 300. Barbara Walshe, a native of Co. Clare and a student on the Master’s in Reconciliation Studies programme at our Belfast campus, has recently returned from a stint with the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Israel and Palestine (EAPPI). Walshe shared her experiences at […]

Will the Irish Catholic Church Repent?

This morning’s mass in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome had a special message for the Irish bishops: ‘clergy who had sinned must admit blame for "abominable acts".’ The Irish Times reports that Vatican secretary of State Cardinal Bertone spoke at the morning mass, which preceded crisis talks between the Pope and the Irish bishops about […]

Irish Catholic Bishops in Rome: So What?

Bishops of the Irish Catholic Church are in Rome, and will meet the Pope on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the state of the Irish Catholic Church and its response to clerical sexual abuse. So What? Will what happens in Rome really matter to Catholics on this island? The Irish Times reports that Bishop Joseph […]

Peter Rollins & Impossible Tales for Lent: A Review of Seven More Parables from The Orthodox Heretic

Back at Christmas time, I reviewed Peter Rollins’ latest book, The Orthodox Heretic and Other Impossible Tales. With the traditional Christian season of Lent nearly upon us, Rollins’ publisher Paraclete Press has released seven additional parables, available to all those who have purchased the book. Rollins’ tales are short and sometimes cryptic. In the book, […]

Choosing My Religion: A Conversation about our Book, Meet the Evangelicals

Dr Claire Mitchell and I will have a conversational workshop about a book we are writing together, provisionally titled Meet the Evangelicals: Journeys in a Northern Irish Evangelical Subculture, from 9.30-12.30 on Friday February 26, 2010, at East Belfast Mission on the Newtownards Road. The book is the product of more than a decade of […]

Marianne Elliott Book Review: When God Took Sides

Marianne Elliott’s latest book, provocatively titled When God Took Sides: Religion and Identity in Ireland – Unfinished History, (Oxford University Press, 2009) describes how Catholics and Protestants in Ireland perceive each other – and explains why this matters so much today. Elliott’s title conveys the idea that both Catholics and Protestants assumed that God was […]

The Suspension of Bishop Paul Verryn & the Zimbabwean Refugees: Problems with being a Prophet?

Last month Bishop Paul Verryn was suspended from the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. Bishop Verryn was a prominent anti-apartheid campaigner and has in recent years become well-known for opening the doors of the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg to Zimbabwean refugees. About 2,000 displaced Zimbabweans sleep in the church every night. Everyone seems to […]

Evangelicals & Gay Rights in Ireland: Evangelical Alliance’s Surprise Support for Civil Partnerships Bill

One issue that is sure to bring Christian voices out in the public sphere is gay rights. The overwhelming impression that one gets is that Christians are opposed to extending gay rights, particularly when it comes to marriage or civil partnerships. A surprising exception to this has been the Evangelical Alliance in the Republic of […]