A people-centred Church

by Richard Martin
from Signs of the Times No. 23 - Oct 2006

What did Jesus teach on the subject?

Jesus often quoted the Old Testament in his teaching and disputations. On one occasion the Pharisees were criticising him for socialising with publicans and sinners. Protocol prevented them from so lowering themselves. They felt themselves too holy to do such - and felt that it was shameful for any teacher to so lower himself. Jesus answered 'But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance' (Matthew 9:13).

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The pity and the wonder: character, talent, chance and destiny - part 1

by Patrick Lewin
from Signs of the Times No. 23 - Oct 2006
[Other parts: • part 2part 3part 4part 5part 6]

The arrogance of youth does have its lighter side. Some fifty years ago now, a politically incorrect story was circulating in Oxford.

An undergraduate, cycling not far from the city on a summer's day at lunchtime, noticed one of those colourful old inn signs leaning up against the wall of a pub prior to rehanging, and decided to snitch it from under the noses of those eating and drinking outside. The element of surprise in his favour, he returned to college as fast as his booty would allow, with half the village in hot pursuit.

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Benedict XVI: The metaphysical pope and the historical church

by John Mackrell
from Signs of the Times No. 23 - Oct 2006

Benedict XVI's lecture on the role of reason in religion has upset many people, not just Muslims.

It would be churlish to deny that the Pope delivered a brilliant philosophical discourse, which will reverberate for years to come in specialist journals. Whether this self-contained exposition bears any relationship to religion itself is very questionable.

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Afterthoughts on the 2006 MCU conference

by Graham Hellier
from Signs of the Times No. 23 - Oct 2006

Having enjoyed the MCU conference on human sexuality, may I offer some fragments:

Is patriarchy too easily diagnosed or assumed to be oppressive? It is good the age of equality has dawned but we can be quick to judge the past. Do we misrepresent some periods of Jewish history or forget the realities of many working class families in nineteenth century mill towns? We expect an equal range of choices and become impatient with the separation of gender roles. Yet different roles do not necessarily imply inequality. Our modern individualism may distort our understanding. Historically the family was seen far more as a unity - the husband and father more often operated in the public arena but he represented his whole family and was answerable for all its members.

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The story behind my 'conversion'

by David Ananda Hart
from Signs of the Times No. 23 - Oct 2006

In his generous Foreword to my book Marcus Braybrooke speaks of my moving to Kerala as 'a journey both physical and spiritual'. Here he has put his finger on a key factor in what has happened to me this year, which has incorrectly been portrayed in some of the media coverage (both in the UK and in India) as some kind of publicity stunt which at the same time is designed to snub my Christian roots.

On the contrary, it was precisely because I had an Anglican upbringing that I wanted to discover some cultural equivalent in my new community here in India of attending Evensong in the village church, and that is what made me stumble upon Naga and his worship in my small but welcoming Hindu village.

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