Tomorrow (Monday) is a bad day to be issuing a press notice about this blog. I am driving down to Lee Abbey in Devon to speak at a conference there until Friday. Now, that is very nice because Lee Abbey is set in a wonderfully beautiful environment where nature is at its wildest best. But it is also a place where there is no mobile phone signal and no wireless broadband internet access. So, I’ll be driving up the hill once a day to get phone and text messages – and I’ll have to find a way to get my emails and do some blogging.

The theme of the week is based on the earlier title of one of my books: Jesus and People Like Us (now re-issued as Scandal of Grace). It follows Jesus and his friends along a journey that is sometimes missed by people who read the gospels with a prejudiced eye. The Church is sometimes good at taking ‘heroes’ of the faith, putting plates around their head in stained-glass windows and calling them saints. At one stroke we make them people who are not like us.

But read the Bible and it is full of people who mess life up a million times and still find God on their side. The disciples of Jesus discover this as they journey from the hills of the north to a gallows outside the city walls of Jerusalem and an empty tomb in a garden. Life is transformed for them, but there is nothing religiously romantic about it.

This week at Lee Abbey will be an attempt to encourage people in their Christian faith by taking a fresh look at the gospels and the people in them – who are just like us. If I can get online during the week, I will explain more as we go along. Furthermore, I will do so in the context of Obama’s inauguration in the USA…