Another new book: Christmas: Ancient Meanings, Modern Faith by Adrian Alker

from Signs of the Times No. 43 - Oct 2011

This is the third book in the series of Together in Hope resources for group study, sponsored by Modern Church alongside our other partners.

The title is indicative of how the author, Adrian Alker, who was Vicar of St Marks Broomhill, Sheffield, for twenty years, wishes us to see the Christmas stories. In this short study book, the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke are critically examined to reveal a depth of theological significance for a modern faith.

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Review: Making Sense of the Bible, by Helen-Ann Hartley

by Alan Wolfe
from Signs of the Times No. 43 - Oct 2011

This is a good era for us laypeople to start serious Bible study.

Until quite recently, most scholars (and clergy) believed that the Gospels were not written down until at least the fourth century AD/CE and so were based on tenth-generation oral-tradition, and were then partially re-written in Constantinian times to support the doctrines of the newly-accepted Church. This seems to have meant that thinking Christians had the choice of taking everything with either a dose of agnosticism or alternatively with simplistic fundamentalist credulity.

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Review: Making Sense of God's Love - Atonement and Redemption, by Lorraine Cavanagh

by Mary Roe
from Signs of the Times No. 43 - Oct 2011

I found this book to be something of a Curate's Egg.

This is partly because it often falls between two stools: is it intended to be a theologically coherent account of how the crucifixion (and resurrection) of his son effected our redemption and our "at-one-ment" with God, while rejecting doctrines which propound retributive justice or a legal transaction, or is it an aid to devotional meditation on how God's loving, self-giving identification with humanity affects our daily lives as his redeemed people?

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Greenbelt 2011

from Signs of the Times No. 43 - Oct 2011

Two perspectives on the four-day annual Greenbelt Festival held at Cheltenham Racecourse over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Christine Alker
'With 21,000 people, music, campers and traders aplenty, Greenbelt might look like any other Festival.  But scratch beneath the surface and you find something special...'

So says the Greenbelt website. This was certainly the experience of those of us who spent time at Modern Church's stall in the G-source tent. We found ourselves  being a focus for many interesting conversations again this year. A banner which said that Modern Church rejected the Anglican Covenant called for explanation many times over. The leaflet Liberal Theology was the one most frequently picked up off the display stand and the Forewords booklets were again popular.

It was important that we were there amongst a wide range of Christian organisations.

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An anthem for Modern Church

by Mary Roe (first performed at the 2011 Conference Cabaret)
from Signs of the Times No. 43 - Oct 2011

We are the Modern CHURCHMEN,

At least we used to be;

But now we watch our language,

We're studiously PC.

No longer called a UNION,

That title's too old hat;

We still support each other,

With conferences and chat.

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