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Modern Church is 120!

Modern Church is celebrating 120 years with a social media campaign recording key moments in its history

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More... Modern Church, Greenbelt & Pussy Riot    

Modern Church, Greenbelt & Pussy Riot

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

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More... Our annual conference - A student's perspective    

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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‘Sing, O barren one who did not bear’: Childlessness, Blessing, and Vocation in the Old Testament

by Meg Warner
from Modern Believing Vol 60:2 - April 2019

Abstract

In the Old Testament, fertility is closely associated with divine blessing, and infertility with the absence of divine blessing. If I am an infertile woman, reading the Old Testament today, how am I to understand this pattern in my own life? Am I not blessed? This article considers issues of context, both of the Old Testament and of today, arguing that the Old Testament speaks about questions of fertility with multiple voices. Although the production of children is foregrounded, the Old Testament presents other vocations as paths to divine blessing. In particular, service of the earth is singled out in the article as a vocation that is foregrounded by the Old Testament, that is blessed and that has particular application to our own context.

Keywords

Bible, Old Testament, Infertility, Childlessness, vocation, blessing, creation, earth, women


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.

 

Modern Believing Editorial: Theology and Childlessness

by Karen O'Donnell
from Modern Believing Vol 60:2 - April 2019

This issue of Modern Believing is one very close to my heart. In fact, I have both contributed to it and co-edited it alongside Dr Allison Fenton and it is an issue that was lined up many months before the Managing Editor’s role at Modern Believing was advertised. The theme of this issue is “Theology and Childlessness” and addresses a range of perspectives on the topic—including Dawn Llewellyn’s work on voluntary childlessness, Daniel Nuzum’s reflection on stillbirth, Meg Warner’s biblical exploration of fruitfulness and blessing in the Hebrew Bible, and my own work exploring the theology around reproductive loss.

Whilst the work in this issue does not necessarily point to one conclusion, the common thread in these essays is that most of these experiences are rarely talked about openly and that when they are not, assumptions are made, unhelpful things are said, and people are hurt. One in seven couples have difficulty conceiving; somewhere between 20 and 50% of all pregnancies end in a reproductive loss; nearly four in every thousand babies in the UK is stillborn; and more women than ever are choosing not to have children. Whilst none of these experiences are in the majority, they are far from uncommon. Many people we know will go through something like this during their lives. Many of the people in our churches will be struggling with infertility, experience a stillbirth, or choose not to have children. In a Christian culture that focuses so strongly on the family and the blessings of children, our theology can often be woefully inadequate to respond to these experiences—if we have any theological response to offer at all.

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Modern Believing Introduction: April 2019

by Allison Fenton
from Modern Believing Vol 60:2 - April 2019

This special edition brings together voices from different theological disciplines to begin to break the silence on childlessness. In a recent editorial of this journal, Jane Shaw and Linda Woodhead wrote that, ‘All theology is autobiographical because it is inescapably shaped and limited by authorial standpoint.’[1] In planning this volume we, too, have been aware of this positionality: our contributors bring their own stories into the theology they write. They draw on experiences of childlessness which are their own or which have been shared with them in their research.

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Adoption – A Hermeneutic to Reflect Upon the Praxis of the Church?

by Andrew Large
from Modern Believing Vol 60:4 - October 2019

Abstract

This article reflects on how a theology of adoption and an exploration of its praxis can help inform and critique aspects of the contemporary praxis of the Church.

Keywords

Adoption; children; church; doctrine; ecclesiology; family; metaphor; praxis; relationship


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.

 

The Death of God and the ‘Foolishness of the Cross’ in 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5

by Colin Eckstein
from Modern Believing Vol 60:4 - October 2019

Abstract

Paul grounds his first letter to the Corinthians on a theological paradox: ‘God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom.’ I examine the two separate terms of this dichotomy – ‘the wisdom of the world’ and ‘the foolishness of the cross’ – in order to determine, in their relationship, the radical socio-political potential of Paul’s Corinthian church collective. I conclude that the ‘foolishness of the cross’ (death of God) in 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5 functions to destabilize the ‘wisdom of the world’ (Symbolic Order).

Keywords

1 Corinthians, Big Other, Death of God, Foolishness, Materialist Theology, Order, Saint Paul, Radical Theology, Slavoj Zizek, Symobolic order, WIsdom


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.