Spreading the word – a liberal response

On 6 June 2014 the Church Times published an article by Canon Chris Russell, the Archbishops’ adviser on evangelism, arguing that too many churches appeared to regard evangelism as an optional extra. 

On 20 June they published a response from myself and some other trustees, as well as two other letters from Modern Church members.  This post is an expansion of that response.

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Life: contract or gift?

A Labour Party thinktank is proposing closer links between welfare benefits and contributions, through altering the system for national insurance contributions. The inevitable political quote goes:

Senior figures believe that Labour must counter the impression that it supports a “something for nothing” benefits system by looking at radical change.

In the current political mood it is understandable. The voting public, by and large, have been persuaded to feel resentment that anyone is getting ‘something for nothing’ while they themselves, as the television advertisements keep reminding them, ‘deserve’ at least as much as they are getting, whatever that is.

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Which is the true religion?

This is the last of three posts on ‘religion’. Why are there different religions?

Christianity is one, Hinduism is another, all the religions are different from each other, only one of them at most can be true, so you can’t belong to two at once. This arrangement is not self-evident. It is another product of modern European conflicts.

It is well known that neither Confucius nor Buddha nor Jesus intended to set up a new religion. John’s gospel has a lot of harsh words for ‘the Jews’, but the word he uses means the people of the province called Judaea. An up to date translation might be ‘the Israelis’.

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What does religion tell us?

This is the second of three posts on ‘religion’. The first describes how seventeenth century thinkers developed ‘religion’ as a new concept: a self-contained feature of society, a private matter to do with beliefs about God and life after death but completely separate from public and this-worldly matters. This post describes how nineteenth century ideas excluded this self-contained phenomenon from the whole physical universe.

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Is religion irrelevant?

This is the first of three posts on ‘religion’. What is it, who invented it and what is it for? These days when its social role is changing it is worth asking what we are talking about.

According to the surveys, religion is losing popularity. Most people are happy to call themselves spiritual but not religious. So what is it about religion that puts people off?’

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