The spirituality of what?

Editorial by Anthony Woollard
from Signs of the Times No. 54 - Jul 2014

The intensities of Lent, Holy Week and Easter are long past. I suspect that I am not the only member of Modern Church who finds these times a little difficult, and is relieved to enter the sunnier uplands of the post-Easter and post-Pentecost periods.

This is not just about belief – the problem of working out in what sense, if any, one can accept Atonement or Resurrection, or what one makes of the traditional paradigm of sin. All these are common preoccupations for liberal Christians. But behind them lie issues of spirituality. What, if anything, does all this mean to me at the deepest level of my being? What makes me tick, and what role does faith play in that? Ultimately – who am I?

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Directions for liberal theology

by Michael Wright
from Signs of the Times No. 54 - Jul 2014

Jonathan Clatworthy in Two directions for liberal theology (Signs of the Times No. 53 - April 2014) sees an important role in the future for permissive liberalism as an alternative vision of progress. He finds it difficult to see where else such a vision might come from except some coherent philosophy about the divine.

'As I see it, the key theological difference' (between apologetic and permissive liberalism) 'is about the existence of God. Apologetic liberalism defends religious belief against atheism as well as fundamentalism. Permissive liberalism permits disbelief, without necessarily drawing the line at God.'

He describes ‘permissive liberalism’ as defined by what it doesn’t believe. It often does, but need not do.

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Should liberals be more evangelical?

by John Goodchild
from Signs of the Times No. 54 - Jul 2014

Liberals have good news to share about Christ’s death and should do so with passion.

In creating a world where people could become morally responsible human beings, God had to give us free will which meant we could harm each other.. He also had to make a world with a regular pattern of cause and effect and an element of chance. This has meant much innocent suffering. Good people have their lives wrecked by others, suffer grievous misfortune or are struck down by cruel diseases. God has a lot to answer for. Although we may not admit it there is a lot of anger and bitterness in our world which may be directed at God. We are suspicious and wary of him if we do not openly condemn him.

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Speaking about God in a parish of many faiths: part 1

by Guy Elsmore
from Signs of the Times No. 54 - Jul 2014

Part 1 of 3: Christian Exclusivism In the Parish of St Luke in the City, Liverpool

Part 2: Christian Inclusivism

Part 3: Pluralism

I regularly meet followers of other faiths. In Chinatown, I know members of the See Yip Association, upholders of traditional Chinese beliefs. In other parts of the parish, I have Muslim, Jewish and Hindu friends. Life together brings opportunities and invitations to work alongside one another. How should I relate to people of other faiths? Should I be trying to convert them to Christianity? Should I refuse or welcome acts of worship which involve other faiths? How should the Churches in the St Luke’s Team relate in mission to multifaith neighbourhoods?

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Letter to the editor

by Helen Oppenheimer
from Signs of theTimes No. 54 - Jul 2014

I have been a member of Modern Church for many years and would count myself a liberal of the 'apologetic' variety.

I go to church, not because I 'want to cling on to church life' without any specific belief in God, but because I do believe in God and must express my belief by joining with other Christians. But the only reason why I am able to believe in God, in the face of all the suffering in the world, is that I am convinced by the Christian story, the dogma, of a God who is not aloof in heaven, but took responsibility for creation and entered into the sufferings of the world. The Gospel has to be more than 'a belief in cosmic value.' David Jenkins, erstwhile Bishop of Durham, long ago summed up his undoubtedly liberal faith as follows: God is. He is as he is in Jesus. Therefore there is hope.

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