Welcome to my blog Ragged Theology!  It has taken me many years to finally join the blogosphere but thanks to my lovely wife Kirsteen who is a seasoned blogger, I have finally launched into this exciting (if slightly daunting) online world.

As you will see as you read this blog, I am no theologian but have a passion to know God better and see him honoured in every area of life.  William Perkins, the father of English Puritanism once said that theology is ‘the science of living blessedly for ever’.  I believe that our problem as Christians is not that we desire pleasure, but that we do not desire it enough, and that we seek it in the wrong places.  The preacher and pastor John Piper has said ‘God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him’ (John Piper, Desiring God, Meditations of a Christian Hedonist, Sisters: Multonomah Press, 1996).  It is my hope that through this blog I can encourage a few others to find help in the places where I have found help over the years and that together we can enjoy God better.

Living as a Christian husband, father, son and leader in 21st Century Scotland is tough going but I have found tremendous help in the lives of other great leaders particularly my great hero Thomas Guthrie (1803 – 1873).  His statue stands resplendently in Princess Street GardensEdinburgh as a memory to one of the greatest preachers and social reformers Scotland has ever seen.  It is sad that such little is known about Thomas Guthrie today even in Edinburgh where so much of his influence was felt in the 19th Century.  Hopefully this blog will do a little to change that!

Why Ragged Theology?  Thomas Guthrie was the 'Apostle' of the the Ragged School movement (as Mr Smiles in 'Self Help' called him) which opened its first school in 1847 in Edinburgh.  Inspired by the Industrial Feeding School of Sheriff Watson in Aberdeen which had been operating from 1841 Guthrie used all his skills as an orator, writer and organiser to turn the idea in to a national movement.  Called from a rural parish in Fife, Guthrie came to Old Greyfriars in Edinburgh as an assistant from 1837-1840 when he established a new church called St John's in Victoria Street.  Guthrie was appalled by what he saw around him an pioneered what would now be called 'early intervention.'  His vibrant theology was no ivory tower teaching but Biblical truth set on fire with activism and engagement.  Social intervention and sound doctrine were not enemies to Guthrie but the very essence of Biblical theology.

It is my hope that some of Guthries 'Ragged Theology' can be rediscovered through this blog.  I would be delighted to hear from you and would love for you to leave your comments after any posts you find interesting.  


  1. Very nice to "meet" you, David! My daughters and I have enjoyed visiting w/ Kirsteen on her blog.
    I had never heard of the Ragged Schools before - or of Thomas Guthrie. (Unfortunately, that is not saying much - there are too numerous wonderful people in history that I am not aware of!) I am enjoying reading thru the information you have here. We've been studying some such folks in our homeschool this year, and I will definately add this gentleman to our list!
    Nice to have you on blogland!

    1. Thanks Keri. I think you are mixing up your Murray's! I am Andy - David Murray is in America!! Thanks for your kind comments.

  2. Ah, right after I posted, I looked at my daughter and said.."did I just call him David?"...You know, I am frequently known as: Sarah's mom, or Benjamin's mom, or (fill in the other eight children)'s mom.....I think I just slipped your son's name in there....At any rate, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, ANDY!

  3. Eight kids! You deserve a medal! I can't remember the names of my boys and I only have 4!

  4. Happy Birthday, Andy! Saw your wife's blog and the lovely dinner and dessert she made for you! May the Lord bless you this year as you serve Him!

  5. I look forward to reading your posts. I have read a number of Dr. Guthrie's pamphlets and written some of his work with the Ragged Schools (in articles and blog posts). My grandfather, Norman Guthrie, was Dr. Guthrie's grandson, and I grew up hearing about Dr. Guthrie and the Ragged Schools. A few years ago I wrote a paper comparing homeschooling in the U.S. to private "informal" schools in the developing world (that James Tooley reports on in his book The Beautiful Tree), and Adventure Schools and the Ragged Schools in Scotland. http://www.economicthinking.org/APEE2010-EducaPaperNEW.pdf

  6. Lovely to hear from you Gregory. It would be great to correspond - can you e-mail me via the blog? Check out my latest post http://raggedtheology.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/guthrie-and-silver-teapot.html