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Ryan Shelton

Ryan joined the Evangelical Alliance in 2020 as a graduate researcher for the Being Human project. Originally from the US, he had spent a decade working as a worship music director while obtaining an MDiv and ThM in worship and theology before he moved to Northern Ireland for doctoral research in history. The unifying theme in Ryan’s research is how big and abstract ideas are tangibly lived out in the experiences of individual people and worshipping communities.

Show and tell

30 September 2021This past year, to pass time during recurring coronavirus lockdowns, I’ve been reading the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. I must confess that despite having been assigned a lot of Shakespeare in school, I never actually read a full play of his until recently. Sure, we supposedly read Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar in English literature classes. But like any enterprising youth in the internet age, I discovered convenient online summaries that enabled me to pass the reading…

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The consequence of false worship

23 June 2021The problem of idolatry is a creativity malfunction. God isn't anti-creativity—He gave us part of His own creative nature. He isn't anti-gold or anti-silver, either. While our art-making and book-making and wealth-making are perfectly fine as human vocation, these creations make lousy gods. Notice the psalmist’s indictment of the creative work of our hands: They have mouths but cannot speak; they have eyes but cannot see; they have ears but cannot hear; there isn't breath in their mouths. Our…

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Reading our times while being human

4 February 2021And since we’re in the podcast business these days, it’s only fair for us showcase one of our favourites. Spencer hosts some smart humans on the show who are writing interesting and influential books that shape our public conversations. In fact, if you were listening to Being Human alongside Reading Our Times, you might have even gotten the idea realised that we coordinated. (Spoiler: we didn’t!) But we’d love to introduce you to this great show, and to point out a few places of resonance…

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Sea shanties: a new song for your city?

2 February 2021The TikTok trend at the start of 2021, according to American late night host Stephen Colbert, is the Sea Shanty. In our fragmented and divided age, who would have thought that maritime folk songs from 19th century sailors would bring together teenagers from Tokyo to Tulsa? What in the world is going on? Singing is fundamentally an act with the world and for the world. Songs travel where people cannot. Songs cross borders and can be an embassy unto themselves. Christians get this. The gospel…

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