Saturday, 17 August 2013

Spurs for the title (and other Premier League 2013-14 predictions)

The new Premier League season starts in bang on an hour's time (as I type this) so I thought I'd post some quick predictions.  Feel free to agree, disagree, laugh in my face, bookmark this post for future laughing in my face etc. etc.!

Soldado photo from
First up, I'd love it if Spurs won the title this year.  They play good football, their manager is good (in both senses of the word, it seems to me!), and it'd just be a change.  If Soldado makes a quick transition from Spanish football to the Prem then I think they'll be challenging for the top three at least; up front is the only area that really let them down last season.  I'm not sure whether Bale stays or leaves will make much difference, as long as (a) it's decided soon, and (b) if he leaves they spend the money sensibly (which they probably will; Spurs don't seem to get diddled in the transfer market very often).
From - Bale back in his Saints days

Being realistic, though, I'll pick Chelsea to win, followed by Man City and then Spurs.  Moyes has been giving 'Oh my word, I'm scared' vibes (as noted by Football365) and Man Utd still look flaky in centre midfield.  But have Arsenal or Liverpool got enough to challenge them?  I'm not convinced, even if Liverpool keep Suarez.  Actually. I reckon Liverpool might be better off without Suarez.  He's a great player, for sure, but when he plays everything goes through him; it seems most of the other players take a metaphorical step back and leave Suarez to work his magic.  I saw a couple of Liverpool's games late last season when Suarez was banned and they were great, full of purpose and creativity.  So I won't weep if he swans off to Madrid or wherever.

Anyway, here's my prediction for the top six:

Man City
[Bit of a gap]
Man Utd

And then...  Southampton for seventh place!  It's a bold prediction, I know, but I really can't see any other team nailed on to finish ahead of the Saints.  Perhaps Swansea; and I'd be happy with that as they play beautiful football and just seem like a nice, likeable club.  West Brom maybe; Norwich have spent quite a lot of money quite well, I think; Everton will struggle at first with Roberto 'My defences are always as leaky as a sieve' Martinez; and who else is there?  So, yes, Saints for seventh.  [Prepares to eat humble pie next Spring]

Saturday, 10 August 2013

The gospel according to Paul

The New Testament letter-writer Paul is a guy about whom there are a wide range of views. Some see him as a raving misogynist, and there are a few passages in his letters that seem to back this up. For others, Paul was a legalist who emphasised personal morality and purity far more than Jesus did. Again, some portions of Paul's letters lend weight to this idea.

I'll soon be starting the second year of my theology Masters, with the first module being all about Paul and his theology. Our main course text is 'Reading Paul' by Michael Gorman; a book I wasn't familiar with but have been intrigued by as I start to dip into it. Gorman sets out to paint the broad sweep of Paul's theology and, while I'm sure he has something to say about the misogynistic and legalistic passages, it's the big picture I've been reading about so far.

Describing Paul as 'a proclaimer of the good news of God's intervention in human history through Jesus Christ', Gorman says this (introducing me to a new word in the process):
This good news was not a private message of personal salvation, though it included the salvation of individuals. It was a political announcement, or better a theopolitical announcement (politics involving God), that challenged – and challenges – the very core of how people relate to one another in the real world.

Gorman tries to summarise this overall message of Paul's with eight phrases, in an attempt to give a framework that might help us make more sense of what we read in Paul's letters. I'm looking forward to digging in to Paul's writings as I haven't really read them with a clear framework in mind and I do find such things help to increase my understanding.

Each element of Gorman's framework has a chapter in his book and I may well blog about some of them over the coming week. In the meantime, here are the eight elements:
  • 'In the fullness of time'
  • 'The gospel of God'
  • Even death on a cross'
  • 'God raised and highly exalted him'
  • 'Justified by faith and crucified with Christ'
  • 'Called to be saints'
  • 'Conformed to the image of God's Son'
  • 'The glory about to be revealed'

My course starts back with a four-day residential block right at the end of August. We'll be focusing on this module about Paul's theology and I'm excited to find out what's in store!