by Tim Stead
from Signs of the Times No 52 - Jan 2014

A Liberating Spirit? Exploring Spirituality for the 21st Century

14th – 17th July 2014

What might be a “liberal” approach to spirituality? Many in our world have lost interest in institutions and are weary with dogmatic arguments but are looking for authentic, intelligent and accessible ways of reflecting on the realities and mysteries of life which can actually make a difference to their own lives. This conference will be an opportunity to explore some of the contemporary approaches to spirituality through the lens of open minded and well-informed enquiry.

by Alan Wolfe
from Signs of the Times No 52 - Jan 2014

Those of us who have problems with 'comparative religion' tend to read specialist books by experts on Islam, or Buddhism, or Christian Science and so on.

This book, though handling the subject in less depth, is nevertheless extremely helpful in a different way. The editor, an academic, has collected from his acquaintance representative believing practitioners of 12 different religions - from Baha’i to Wicca - and asked them to summarise in 1-2 pages each the answers of their religion to five questions:

by Peter Ashwell
from Signs of the Times No 52 - Jan 2014

This is an interesting and reflective read which led me to parts of the Bible to which I had not previously paid attention.

The author is well known as a theologian and biblical scholar and in this book she wants to remind the reader of the importance of worshipping and glorifying God all the time, not just on Sunday in church.

The author points out that 'Ordinary Time' in the church calendar lasts 33 weeks of the year and whilst it has the potential to be the soggiest season it is available, if we use it well, to let us balance, understand and celebrate more fully the festival times like Christmas and Easter.

by Alan Race

from Signs of the Times No 52 - Jan 2014


When it was first coined, the Christian Aid slogan ‘We believe in life before death’ caught a mood.

It was symptomatic of a cultural drift in Christian focus away from preoccupation with ‘pie in the sky when you die’ to a faith motivated more by ethical demands in the present than by theological speculations about an after-life future. This same drift is echoed by Paul Badham’s first sentence in his Introduction to this accessible and far-reaching book: ‘For some Christians, belief in life after death has simply evaporated.’ Why this has happened is not easy to analyse, but Paul is clear that he does not agree with it.

by Christine Alker
from Signs of the Times No 52 - Jan 2014

Readers of this newsletter may feel that every ounce of discussion and insight has already been squeezed out of Bishop John Robinson’s book Honest to God during its anniversary year. There have been day conferences in Bristol and London, lectures in Cambridge and Canterbury plus special publications of Modern Believing and other journals.

Was there more to explore? Some of us thought there was and Elaine Graham, Grosvenor Research Professor at the University of Chester and a trustee of Modern Church, agreed to chair a conference with the title Being Honest to God..., working with a planning group drawn from both Modern Church and the Progressive Christianity Network Britain. The prospect of these two organisations working together on a residential conference was exciting and the planning group soon warmed to the theme of 'honesty': honesty about Jesus, honesty about the Church, honesty about ourselves and honesty about God.