by Liam Purcell
from Signs of the Times No. 22 - Jul 2006

Here at the Student Christian Movement, we have a couple of new developments which might be of interest to MCU members.

Firstly, news about our Friends - the network of former SCM members who support us financially and practically. We're expanding the network by encouraging younger graduates to join, and exploring a range of ways of involving them more closely in the life of our movement. They're invited to attend the termly gatherings we have for our student members, to meet the current crop of SCMers, see some excellent speakers, and share stories.

by Gillian Cooke
from Signs of the Times No. 22 - Jul 2006

The April 2006 Signs of the Times reported the Archbishop of Canterbury's interview with The Guardian and was entitled 'Archbishop supports science'.

That is good to know, because the Church seems not to have noticed that science and medicine have all but vanished in the debates on sexuality. The highly respected Anglican moral theologian Gordon Dunstan (under whom I studied Christian Ethics) always stressed that it was not possible to have informed debates on issues which involved medical evidence unless one was prepared to first understand the science. Earlier reports and statements reflect this, but that is not the case recently.

by Martin Camroux
from Signs of the Times No. 22 - Jul 2006

It's good to celebrate successful church growth in the URC! 10 years ago Donald Hilton and I decided to organise a conference at Windermere to positively affirm the liberal heritage of the URC.

We called it 'Free to Believe - taking our liberal past into the future'. We had no idea whether anyone would come but in fact Windermere was full and those who came wanted more. Another conference followed on liberal evangelism and in order to accommodate more people we found ourselves having to leave Windermere and move on to larger venues. Without meaning to we had created a liberal network within the URC.

by Marcus Braybrooke
from Signs of the Times No. 22 - Jul 2006

'What is true religion?' is the question now, not 'Which is the true religion?'

These words of Bishop George Appleton some twenty years ago are even more relevant today. We have become very aware how easily religion can be hijacked by extremists, for example in former Yugoslavia or in the Middle East. This is why moderate members of all religions need to deepen their appreciation of each other and work together for a more just and peaceful world.

Religions do not always agree, but I think we should see their differences as in a sense complimentary. The image of balancing scales may be helpful. For example, an over-emphasis on God's mercy may neglect demands for justice but to stress justice may limit compassion. Only the Almighty holds a true balance. In our respective faiths we seek a similar balance as we try to do God's will.

by Adrian Alker
from Signs of the Times No. 22 - Jul 2006

For a moment think about some of those great Enlightenment thinkers such as Voltaire and Rousseau or those nineteenth century biblical scholars like Strauss and Renan and great twentieth century theologians like Schweitzer, Bonhoeffer, Von Rad, Barth, Moltmann.

Recall the modernist churchmen of the 1920's and 1930's such as Henry Major and Hastings Rashdall and remember the excitement of the 1960's and early 1970's with the publication of Honest to God and the writings of Maurice Wiles, Dennis Nineham, John Hick and the whole Myth of God Incarnate debate. Call to mind the excitement of ordinary folk beginning to be stirred up in their thinking by prelates such as David Jenkins. More recently in the last twenty years, think about the contribution of the Jesus Seminar scholars in the USA, writers such as Dominic Crossan, Marcus Borg, Elaine Pagels, Robert Funk and the challenges to old ways of thinking of Christianity put by Jack Spong.