Hello, and many thanks for visiting The Long Defeat.
We are Aaron, Nathan and Owen - three young Reformed theologians from the UK.
We love theology, and we love Jesus. (Or more accurately: we love theology because we love Jesus.) We long to be faithful & joyful husbands, fathers, friends and followers of Christ.
It can often feel like these two 'spheres' of reality - devotion on the one hand, academia & scholarship on the other - are mutually exclusive. We don't accept that. Holding them together, albeit in tension, has consumed us and shaped our lives. Even though such service is seldom simple (or even successful), we bear witness that theology can & should serve the Church.
We find ourselves attempting this difficult but necessary task - fighting this long defeat, together, through the ages of the world.
We strive to be faithful, academically-trained servants of God's people. Let's be clear: it's incredibly easy to say this. It's quite another thing to actually do it. We fight so that the service of our minds might be characterised by love, friendship, meekness, prayerfulness, and joy.
Why are we so do this? Partly because we know the Church will benefit from such service. Partly because we wish to honour God with the talents he's given us. But primarily - we're passionate about holding this tension because we can never quite shake ourselves of the conviction, that when all is said and done, Theology Is Worship.
What a privilege it is that a theologian might serve to adorn the bride for a marriage of cosmic proportions.
That's why we fight The Long Defeat - to make the Christlike God look beautiful.
I live in Durham and I'm married to the all-round-craft-talented Helen. I'm pursuing PhD studies at the University of Chester part-time on allegory in the ancient world, with special interest in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
My chief hobby is reading more or less anything I can get my hands on, be it Middle English poetry, American Civil War history, multi-book fantasy epics, and everything in between.
I also enjoy sport - both playing it (badly), and watching it (laconically). I worship at and submit to the eldership of Emmanuel Church in Durham, where I particularly serve in evangelistic outreach and student discipleship. Do get in touch with them if necessary.
I'm married to Jo - we live in Chester and we have a house rabbit called George (who happens to be awesome). We've recently started serving at Matthew Henry Evangelical Church in Chester. It's a small, lovely fellowship located in a deprived suburb of the city, dedicated to the Scriptures and the glory of God. (If I do or say anything outrageous, feel free to contact them!)
In my spare time I enjoy getting a little too excited about things. Video games, for example. I own a PS4 for which I saved up all my birthday & Christmas money, just like a 10 year old boy. I also love traditional wet shaving and Doctor Who.
I've worked as a visiting lecturer for various universities / academic institutions and preached extensively. I completed my PhD in Reformed Theology under David Clough & Tom Greggs at the Uni of Chester, having previously studied at Durham University. My thesis explored the messy task of defining the distinctive Reformed voice - how it holds the tension between scripturalism & confessionalism, tradition & doctrinal flexibility, etc. In short: I spent most of my time with dead guys.
I'm a theology lecturer and programme leader at Cliff College, an interdenominational Evangelical theological college which specialises in mission. I did my PhD in systematic theology at the University of Aberdeen, where I also became a teaching fellow in practical theology. Despite being a thoroughbred city-person, I currently live in a small village in the lovely Peak District (yes…it’s basically like living in The Shire). I am accompanied by my beautiful wife Molly and my three young children, Isabelle, Malachi, and Miriam, all of whom are adorable and hilarious, even when they drive us up the wall.
I love Jesus, preaching, theology, literature, music, cinema, modern history, football, backgammon, and the heavenly combination of Scottish shortbread & peppermint tea. I’m sure there are other things I love but those are a few which come to mind. My church background is with charismatic Evangelical networks such as Newfrontiers, where I have always enjoyed serving and leading in local churches, in various capacities. If Eph. 3:10 is to be believed, the Church is a pretty big deal to God, and so it should be for us. Ironically, theologian-types are usually the first to forget this. I hope not to be one of them.