Alister's Blog

If you are interested in reading more about Cafehchurch-y stuff, you might find our pastor Alister's blog interesting. Rather unimaginatively, it is at alisterpate.com

He is particularly proud of

Alister in Krakow back in 2011

Cafechurch, Faith, and Mystery

In a segment filmed for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN channel, author Brene Brown reflects on why she left the Roman Catholic faith of her youth, and how she has found herself back in the Episcopal church.

One of the key points she makes is that she originally “fell in love with the faith and the mystery piece.” However, over time her experience of church, “became less about faith and mystery, and more about politics and certainty.”

Why Does God Send People To Hell If They Don't Believe

This is the next in our series of sessions inspired by Marty Sampson's excellent questions. You can find the series home page here. This session was led by Andrew, an elder at Cafechurch.

The Hell Question

Hell.

It can have a devastating impact on how people think about the character of God. People rightfully walk away from Christianity because of it. Though they don't always have to—I hope Marty doesn't.

No-One Talks About It

Recently the Christian interwebs were set a-twitter by a few high profile leaders saying that they had lost, or were losing, their faith. I was particularly struck by Marty Sampson's story. He was a worship leader at Hillsong church, and a big figure in the Pentecostal world. You can read what he has to say about his faith at Relevant Magazine (the original Instagram post seems to have been taken down.)

The Bible Is Full Of Contradictions

This is the next in our series of sessions inspired by Marty Sampson's excellent questions. You can find the series home page here. This session was led by Matt, an who is a UCA Candidate for Minister of the Word and Sacrament.

For many people who have moved out of formative experiences in conservative Christian traditions a relationship with the bible can very quickly become … complicated. Many conservative Christian traditions hold very strong views on what the bible is, and how the bible should be interpreted.

When Christian Leaders Go Wrong

“Every human community will disappoint us, regardless of how well-intentioned or inclusive.” Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint

The Gospel and the Anxiety of Choice

What is the Good News in our context? There's a theory, originating from Paul Tillich, that the basic problem for Christians of the Classical Age was the anxiety of death and fate, to which the answer was Christus Victor, leading captivity captive. For medieval and early modern people it was the anxiety of guilt and judgement, powerfully expressed by Luther in his quest for a gracious God. But what is the specific issue of our time and place? Is it meaninglessness? Or is it anxiety?

The Resurrection and the Meaningless Universe

What is the fundamental problem – the underlying anxiety – facing humanity in contemporary culture? That’s the question the church needs to ask, in order to see how the Resurrection of Jesus speaks deeply to us. Following J D Hall (especially in The Cross in Our Context), in this session argues that the fundamental problem confronting our culture is not the anxiety of guilt and shame so powerfully addressed by salvation theories that revolve around substitution. He argues that the real issue in our world is:

How Can We Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus?

Some nights, Cafechurch gets philosophical. Alister's first degree was in philosophy, and it's hard to break early formation! What follows is a pretty dry summary. the actual evening was much more interesting, and conversational, than you might think. For a slightly more narrative, less explicitly philosophical take on this, you might enjoy a sermon I preached at Easter - Practice Resurrection

Resurrection, Luca Giordano, 1665

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