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Modern Church General Secretary Jonathan Draper reflects on our partnership with this year's festival and sponsorship of three acts

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Our annual conference - A student's perspective

Trainee Methodist Pioneer Minister Dave Shaw thanks delegates who donated to enable student volunteers to attend this year

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The ‘pierless’ faith of Emily Dickinson

by Daniel Boscaljon
from Modern Believing Vol 59:4 - Oct 2018

Abstract:

Within Christian traditions, the philosophical tends to drown out the potentiality of the poetic as a mode of thinking theologically. This essay examines Emily Dickinson's approach to defining ‘faith’, in part because the resulting agnosticism is quite fascinating, and in part to make space for the possibility of expanding the margins of the liberal theological tradition. By incorporating the everyday and the unknown into her poems, and by emphasizing the unknowable instead of the definite, Dickinson provides her readers with an experience of faith that remains simultaneously within – and a challenge to – other forms of Christian liberal theology. 

Keywords:

AGNOSTICISM

BELIEF

CHRISTIANITY

EMILY DICKINSON

FAITH

IMMORTALITY

LIBERAL THEOLOGY

OPINION

PIERLESS FAITH

POETRY

RESACRALIZATION

SCENERY

SECULARIZATION

UNCERTAINTY


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.

Review: Religion, Faith and the First World War

by Michael Brierley
from Modern Believing Vol 59:4 - Oct 2018

Abstract:

The author reviews nine books as evidence of the current religious and theological interest in the First World War, all published during the course of the present centenary. The nine books represent a range of aspects of faith during the First World War: six deal with the impact of the war on particular individuals; another is a new edition of a work of theology from 1918 by one of those individuals; one book, taking a general view, makes an overall assessment of the impact of the war on faith in Britain; and one is a more meditative reflection on how various issues raised by the war affect us today.

Keywords:

RELIGION

FAITH

FIRST WORLD WAR


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.

Envisaging afterlife in light of the doctrine of divinization and the co-presence of the divine in and through all things

by Alan McGill
from Modern Believing Vol 59:4 - Oct 2018

Abstract:

This article considers the implications of divinization and divine co-presence for a Christian vision of afterlife. If the human dead can be incorporated by grace into the Godhead, and if God is co-present in and through all things, then the divinized dead may be sacramentally present in and through creation. This suggests a model of afterlife as a new form of engagement with the world rather than an escape from it.

Keywords:

AFTERLIFE

CO-PRESENCE

CREATION

DEATH

DIVINITY

DIVINIZATION

HEAVEN

KINGDOM OF GOD

PHYSICALITY

SACRAMENTAL UNIVERSE

THEOSIS

TRINITY


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.

Books reviewed October 2018

from Modern Believing Vol 59:4 • previous edition
Life after Tragedy: Essays on Faith and the First World War Evoked by Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy
M. W. Brierley and G. A. Byrne, eds.
Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2017. Pp. xxiv, 254. Pb. $31.
ISBN 978-1-5326-0226-9.

Review by Stuart Bell, Durham University


Invisible Worlds: Death, Religion and the Supernatural in England, 1500–1700
P. Marshall, 
London: SPCK, 2017. Pp. viii, 260. Pb. £17.99.
ISBN 978-0-281-07522-5.

Review by Georgina Byrne, Worcester Cathedral 


Perfecting Perfection: Essays in Honour of Henry D. Rack.
R. J. Webster, ed., 
Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2016. Pp. xii, 297. Pb. £24.
ISBN 978-0-227-17588-0.

Review by Sarah Heaner Lancaster, Methodist Theological School in Ohio


God and Churchill: How the Great Leader’s Sense of Divine Destiny Changed His Troubled World and Offers Hope for Ours.
J. Sandys and W. Henley, 
London: SPCK, 2015. Pp. xxx, 268. Pb. £19.99.
ISBN 978-0-281-07527-0.

Review by Warren Dockter, Aberystwyth University 


Secularism: Politics, Religion, and Freedom.
A. J. W. Copson, 
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. x, 153. Hb. £12.99.
ISBN 978-0-19-880913-5.

Review by Grace Davie, University of Exeter 


Modernities, Memory and Mutations: Grace Davie and the Study of Religion.
A. F. Day and M. Lövheim, eds., 
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2015. Pp. xvi, 255. Hb. £65.
ISBN 978-1-4724-3617-7.

Review by Martyn Percy, University of Oxford 


Fortress Britain? Ethical Approaches to Immigration Policy for a Post-Brexit Britain.
B. W. Ryan, ed.
London and Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018. Pp. 176. Pb. £16.99.
ISBN 978-1-78592-309-8.

Review by Nicholas Sagovsky, King’s College, London


Blessed Are the Poor? Urban Poverty and the Church.
L. A. Green, 
London: SCM Press, 2015. Pp. xviii, 218. Pb.
ISBN 978-0-334-05365-1.

Review by Angus Ritchie, Centre for Theology and Community, East London


Plundering Egypt: A Subversive Christian Ethic of Economy.
G. P. Wagenfuhr, 
Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. xiv, 257. Pb.
ISBN 978-0-7188-9468-9

Review by Eve Poole, Church Commissioners, London 


Inspired Sustainability: Planting Seeds for Action.
E. Lothes Biviano,
Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016. Pp. xxxiv, 286. Pb. £23.99.
ISBN 978-1-62698-163-8.

Review by Frances Ward, Mirfield 


Christianity and Religious Plurality, Studies in Church History 51.
C. M. Methuen, A. P. Spicer and J. R. Wolffe, eds.
Woodbridge and Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 2015. Pp. xxiv, 454. Hb. £45.
ISBN 978-0-9546810-3-6.

Review by Michael Ipgrave, Diocese of Lichfield 


Jesus and Buddha: Friends in Conversation.
P. F. Knitter and R. Haight, 
Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2015. Pp. xviii, 253. Pb. £17.99.
ISBN 978-1-62698-151-5.

Review by Ross Thompson, Mere, Wiltshire 


Playing with Leviathan: Interpretation and Reception of Monsters from the Biblical World.
K. van Bekkum, J. Dekker, H. R. van de Kamp and H. G. L. Peels, eds., 
Leiden: Brill, 2017. Pp. xxviii, 315. Pb.
ISBN 978-90-04-33795-4.

Review by Andrew Angel, Burgess Hill 


Paul and His Recent Interpreters: Some Contemporary Debates.
N. T. Wright, 
London: SPCK, 2015. Pp. xxiv, 379. Pb. £25.
ISBN 978-0-281-06758-9.

Review by Michael Lakey, Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford 


Traces of the Trinity: Signs of God in Creation and Human Experience.
P. J. Leithart, 
Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2015. Pp. x, 165. Pb. £10.99.
ISBN 978-1-58743-367-2.

Review by Andrew Robinson, University of Exeter


Systematic Theology.
A. C. Thiselton,
London: SPCK, 2015. Pp. xiv, 453. Pb.
ISBN 978-0-281-07330-6.

Review by Alexander D. Garton, University of Cambridge 


Philosophy of Religion: A Very Short Introduction.
T. J. Bayne,
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. xxii, 133. Pb. £7.99.
ISBN 978-0-19-875496-1.

Review by Keith Ward, University of Roehampton 


William Desmond and Contemporary Theology.
C. B. Simpson and B. T. Sammon, eds., 
Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017. Pp. viii, 301. Hb. $50.
ISBN 978-0-268-10221-0.

Review by John Reader, Ironstone Benefice, William Temple Foundation and University of Worcester


The Problem of Evil.
D. Speak, 
Cambridge and Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2015. Pp. viii, 149. Pb. £15.99.
ISBN 978-0-7456-6407-1.

Review by Mark Hocknull, University of Lincoln 


Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory: Rethinking the Things that Matter Most.
J. L. Walls, 
Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2015. Pp. 235. Pb. £12.99.
ISBN 978-1-58743-356-6.

Review by Robin Parry, Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, OR 


Hope and the Longing for Utopia: Futures and Illusions in Theology and Narrative.
D. Boscaljon, ed., 
Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xx, 239. Pb. £18.
ISBN 978-0-227-17505-7.

Review by Stefan Skrimshire, University of Leeds 


Science Fiction Theology: Beauty and the Transformation of the Sublime.
A. P. R. Gregory, 
Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2015. Pp. x, 318. Hb.
ISBN 978-1-60258-460-0.

Review by Stephen May, Worcester 


Reimagining Worship: Renewing Worship in a Changing Church.
A. M. de Lange, B. T. Lloyd, T. R. Stratford and I. D. Tarrant, eds.,
London: Canterbury Press, 2017. Pp. xiv, 273. Pb.
ISBN 978-1-84825-913-3.

Review by Bridget Nichols, Church of Ireland Theological Institute, Dublin 


Congregational Music-Making and Community in a Mediated Age.
A. E. Nekola and T. J. Wagner, eds., 
Farnham and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2015. Pp. xiv, 263. Hb. £65.
ISBN 978-1-4724-5919-0.

Review by June Boyce-Tillman, University of Winchester 


Sexuality, Struggle and Saintliness: Same-Sex Love and the Church.
S. Hensman, 
London: Ekklesia, 2015. Pp. xvi, 255. Pb.
ISBN 978-0-9932942-0-4.

Review by Alan Wilson, Diocese of Oxford 


Scars Across Humanity: Understanding and Overcoming Violence Against Women.
E. Storkey, 
London: SPCK, 2015. Pp. 320. Pb. £9.99.
ISBN 978-0-281-07508-9.

Review by Lesley Orr, University of Edinburgh 


Soft Shepherd or Almighty Pastor? Power and Pastoral Care.
A. Dillen, ed., 
Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2015. Pp. xx, 200. Pb. £16.50.
ISBN 978-0-227-17522-4.

Review by Margaret Whipp, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 


The Logic of the Spirit in Human Thought and Experience: Exploring the Vision of James E. Loder Jr.
D. R. Wright and K. J. White, eds., 
Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. xxvi, 357. Pb. £27.50
ISBN 978-0-7188-9378-1.

Review by Rebecca Nye, Open University, Milton Keynes 


The Resourceful Self: And a Little Child Shall Lead Them.
D. E. Capps, 
Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. xiv, 203. Pb. £16.50.
ISBN 978-0-7188-9390-3.

Review by Fiona Gardner, Bath 


Still Growing: The Creative Self in Older Adulthood.
D. E. Capps, 
Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. xviii, 190. Pb. £16.50.
ISBN 978-0-7188-9391-0.

Review by James Woodward, Sarum College, Salisbury, and University of Winchester 


Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness, 2nd edn.
K. E. Greene-McCreight,
Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2015. Pp. xxiv, 216. Pb. £12.99.
ISBN 978-1-58743-372-6.

Review by Julian Raffay, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool 


In the Fellowship of His Suffering: A Theological Interpretation of Mental Illness - A Focus on ‘Schizophrenia’.
E. Hessamfar, 
Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 2015. Pp. xii, 375. Pb. £25.
ISBN 978-0-7188-9382-8.

Review by Christopher Cook, Durham University 


Psychological Perspectives on Religion and Religiosity.
B. Beit-Hallahmi, 
Hove and New York: Routledge, 2015. Pp. xii, 316. Pb. £34.99.
ISBN 978-0-415-68287-9.

Review by Laura G. E. Smith, University of Bath 


Books received October 2018

Publishers know that Modern Believing's team of book reviewers, led by the Reviews Editor, Rev. Dr. Michael Brierley, do an outstanding job in providing constructive, critical, fair and discerning reviews.


A. Autiero and L. Magesa, eds., The Catholic Ethicist in the Local Church. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2018. Pp. x, 341. Pb. £37.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-274-1.


K. J. Barnes, Redeeming Capitalism. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xiv, 233. Hb. $25. ISBN 978-0-8028-7557-0.


M. D. Barram, Missional Economics: Biblical Justice and Christian Formation. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xviii, 263. Pb. ISBN 978-0-8028-7507-5.


R. M. Ellis, The Christian Middle Way: The Case against Christian Belief but for Christian Faith. Alresford: Christian Alternative Books, 2018. Pp. xiv, 307. Pb. £17.99. ISBN 978-1-78535-756-5.


C. Greenough, Undoing Theology: Life Stories from Non-normative Christians. London: SCM Press, 2018. Pp. x, 219. Hb. £65. ISBN 978-0-334-05621-8.


J. M. Houston and J. Zimmermann, eds., Sources of the Christian Self: A Cultural History of Christian Identity. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xxvi, 694. Hb. $55. ISBN 978-0-8028-7627-0.


S. C. Ilo, A Poor and Merciful Church: The Illuminative Ecclesiology of Pope Francis. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2018. Pp. xii, 308. Pb. £33.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-265-9.


E. A. Johnson, Creation and the Cross: The Mercy of God for a Planet in Peril. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2018. Pp. xviii, 238. Hb. £23.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-266-6.


C. R. Koester, Revelation and the End of All Things, 2nd edn. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xii, 214. Pb. $24. ISBN 978-0-8028-7578-5.


P. Lewis and S. Hamid, British Muslims: New Directions in Islamic Thought, Creativity and Activism. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018. Pp. xiv, 250. Pb. £14.99. ISBN 978-1-4744-3276-4.


I. S. Markham and J. T. K. Daniel, eds., Reasonable Radical? Reading the Writings of Martyn Percy. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2018. Pp. xviii, 354. Pb. ISBN 978-1-5326-1783-6.


J. L. McLaughlin, An Introduction to Israel’s Wisdom Traditions. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xii, 217. Pb. ISBN 978-0-8028-7454-2.


S. Mitralexis, ed., Polis, Ontology, Ecclesial Event: Engaging with Christos Yannaras’ Thought. Cambridge: James Clarke and Co., 2018. Pp. xviii, 259. Hb. ISBN 978-0-227-17669-6.


S. W. Murray, Post-Christendom: Church and Mission in a Strange New World, 2nd edn. London: SCM Press, 2018. Pp. xvi, 253. Pb. £16.99. ISBN 978-0-334-05704-8.


M. F. Perham, One Unfolding Story: Biblical Reflections through the Christian Year, ed. P. R. Gooder and J. Moriarty. London: Canterbury Press Norwich, 2018. Pp. viii, 200. Pb. £14.99. ISBN 978-1-78622-049-3.


A. S. G. Platten, Grasping the Heel of Heaven: Liturgy, Leadership and Ministry in Today’s Church. London: Canterbury Press, 2018. Pp. xviii, 179. Pb. £22.99. ISBN 978-1-78622-002-8.


A. Riccardi, To the Margins: Pope Francis and the Mission of the Church, tr. D. Livingstone. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2018. Pp. vi, 184. Pb. £20.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-277-2.


R. Rohr, Essential Teachings on Love, ed. J. Chase and J. Traeger. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2018. Pp. xxii, 263. Pb. £17.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-269-7.


R. D. Shaw and W. R. Burrows, eds., Traditional Ritual as Christian Worship: Dangerous Syncretism or Necessary Hybridity?, American Society of Missiology Series 56. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2018. Pp. xxiv, 278. Pb. £41.99. ISBN 978-1-62698-262-8.


J. D. Small, Flawed Church, Faithful God: A Reformed Ecclesiology for the Real World. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xx, 242. Pb. $35. ISBN 978-0-8028-7612-6.


D. I. Smith, On Christian Teaching: Practicing Faith in the Classroom. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. x, 172. Pb. $22. ISBN 978-0-8028-7360-6.


D. K. Thompson and D. C. Murchison, eds., Mentoring: Biblical, Theological, and Practical Perspectives. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xii, 244. Pb. $30. ISBN 978-0-8028-7499-3.


J. E. Turner, The Labour Church: Religion and Politics in Britain 1890–1914. London and New York: I. B. Tauris and Co., 2018. Pp. xii, 273. Hb. ISBN 978-1-78453-943-6.


S. M. B. Wells, Incarnational Mission: Being with the World. London: Canterbury Press Norwich, 2018. Pp. x, 254. Pb. ISBN 978-1-78622-036-3.


D. Wenham, From Good News to Gospels: What Did the First Christians Say about Jesus? Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018. Pp. xx, 124. Pb. $16. ISBN 978-0-8028-7368-2.


G. D. Westhaver, ed., A Transforming Vision: Knowing and Loving the Triune God. London: SCM Press, 2018. Pp. xx, 252. Pb. £35. ISBN 978-0-334-05568-6.