Being honest to God - twice over

by David Driscoll
from Signs of the Times No 52 - Jan 2014

John Robinson would have been extremely surprised in the amount of interest there’s been in the 50th anniversary of the publication of Honest to God last year.

I’ve certainly had my fair share of reminiscences of the impact the book made on so many of us at the time. Honest to God caused a lot of controversy, but more importantly, it proved a lifeline for lots of people that it was still possible to have a faith. It is a real tribute to the book that it’s never been out of print!

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Pilling on sex: modified rapture

by Jonathan Clatworthy
from Signs of the Times No 52 Jan 2014

How did you celebrate the publication of the Pilling Report on sexual ethics in the Church of England?

As for me, I went to a Greek food shop and bought a jar of Lesbian honey. I’m sure Sappho would approve.

There have been heaps of immediate responses. The press release and tidy list of 18 recommendations made it easy, but I decided to follow Pilling’s advice and read the whole 200-odd pages. As a result I have written a commentary1 which is almost 5,000 words long.

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Is God a psychopath?

by David Copestake
from Signs of the Times No 52, Jan 2014

Most Christians seem to believe that God has made everything, and this is clearly stated in the creeds, church liturgy and many hymns.

Some modern religious songs such as 'Jesus is Lord' suggest that Jesus personally designed and made living creatures. However, modern biology has revealed to us some very unpleasant creatures in nature such as parasites and viruses. Are we to suppose that God has carefully designed each of these? 

One such unpleasant creature is the malarial mosquito and associated parasite. This gnat is called anopheles from the Greek word for 'hurtful'. Only the female bites and she stabs the skin of humans with styles having dagger points and saw like edges.

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Being honest to Jesus

by Graham Hellier,
from Signs of the Times No 52 - Jan 2014

Luke was a gentle soul. He smoothed out the awkward parts of Mark’s Gospel. In his account, though copying almost word for word, he cannot bring himself to say that the disciples were complaining, or jockeying for power, or that they deserted Jesus.

Similarly whereas Mark records Jesus’ anger when confronted with leprosy or with the obduracy of his opponents, Luke censors these passages. And most significant of all, he omits the cry of dereliction from the cross. A long process is underway - to enhance the standing of Jesus from one who was, in Peter’s words, 'singled out by God' (Acts 2:22) to one who would be described as 'true God from true God'.

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The liberal hour and worldly holiness

Editorial by Anthony Woollard
from Signs of the Times No 52 - Jan 2014

Our former (still very much with us) General Secretary has often commented on 'signs of the times' which suggested that liberal Christianity might, despite gloomy indications to the contrary, be heading for something of a revival. Whilst we live in a dark world, and all is not well in the Church either, those signs now seem to be multiplying.

We now have both a Pope and an Archbishop who, without compromising on traditional beliefs, are making liberal noises on issues ranging from economics to sexuality. Pope Francis, in his demonstrable bias to the poor, 'walking the talk' in ways that so very few of his predecessors have done, seems to be living up to his chosen papal name – and transforming his Church. Justin Welby is the first Archbishop of Canterbury since William Temple who has really engaged with economic injustice. And both of them appear to be on a positive learning curve when it comes to gender and sexuality.

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