Here’s some quick catches …
… One of the reasons that I left the academy some years ago and went into full-time work in the church instead was that I found I was getting more of a buzz myself out of meeting clergy who were at the [coal] face, if you like, than simply teaching undergraduates who wanted to know “How soon can we finish this tutorial and then I can get off and play tennis?”
… I think one of the critical things that I have worried about a lot is that many people when they hear the idea of kingdom of God or kingdom of heaven, they think it simply refers to a place called heaven where you go when you die. That is clearly not what it means in the New Testament. It’s like kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. It isn’t kingdom as in a place; it’s kingdom as in kingship, as in sovereignty, as in rule.
… So much of the Bible is appropriately metaphorical and we need to know what it actually refers to. But much more important than that is to get into our heads what the New Testament really is banging on about, which is resurrection, which is not a synonym for going to heaven when you die, but is what is going to happen after that.
… It isn’t a matter of simply taking a step of faith; it is a matter of signing on with the acknowledgement that Jesus is Lord. When the disciples made the decisions to down tools and follow him around Galilee, they were saying with their feet as well as with their hearts, we’re with this man. Wherever he goes we’re going to go, too.
… It would be a very trivialized read of Jesus if we imagined that Jesus simply came to give us a set of teachings on every possible subject that we might ever want to know anything about. And that’s not how the early Christians saw Jesus at all. There are all sorts of lessons that need to be learned about how you use the New Testament authentically and with wisdom instead of cutting and chopping and picking out bits.