Theology matters. That’s been a theme running through many of the contributions we’ve heard at the annual Society for the Study of Theology conference in Nottingham this week.
Whether it is in interpreting popular culture (including Dr Who, zombies, vampires and all), in confronting the great injustices of our world, thinking through the Cartesian dualism present in current thinking about Artificial Intelligence (AI), or simply trying to bring pleasure and meaning together to create delight, theology matters.
A great cosmologist dies and is buried on March 31st, Easter Eve, as it was kept this year by Western churches. For the Orthodox churches, Easter comes a week later.
This year, partly due to the disparity which exists between the Eastern Julian calendar and the Western one, the Western celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation was moved to April 9th. It often falls in the latter part of Lent or in Holy Week itself. This year it would have fallen on Palm Sunday. So the Western church allows it to be a ‘moveable’ feast.
If you are someone who has to speak publicly about the events of Good Friday, and if you have done that with integrity and the conviction of faith, you will be feeling pretty wrung out by Saturday morning.
A single day, the day we call Holy Saturday, is hardly enough time to gather shattered emotions together and turn a numb brain towards thoughts of the Resurrection, but it must be done, and it must be done with as much conviction as anything that was said on Friday.
A few years ago there was a popular game of Bug the Bishop. Every Easter at least one newspaper would publish a shock story about a bishop who didn’t believe in the Resurrection. They don’t do it much now, because nobody cares what bishops think.
The catch was: if the bishops didn’t believe Jesus rose from the dead they were betraying their duty as church leaders. But if they did believe it they would be out of touch with reality.
The recent revelations of sexual abuse horrify us, particularly when the victims were children.
It is one thing to feel horrified, another to respond in a constructive way. Much of the public response has sounded to me like Guardian readers making Daily Mail responses, which they would not have made if the crime in question was, for example, addiction to illegal drugs.