Review - Holy silence: The gift of Quaker spirituality by J Brent Bill

by Rebekah Hanson
from Signs of the Times No. 65 - Apr 2017

Brent Bill’s book provides an introduction to Quaker spirituality, which focuses on silence in spiritual practice and worship.

He argues that the riches of spiritual silence are often overlooked in today’s busy world, even in many Christian churches, and invites the reader to reflect on the spiritual imbalance that neglect of silence may bring. The book consists of an introduction, five main chapters, and a short closing chapter, plus sections on practices, queries and a glossary. For a book that has been ‘revised and expanded’ it remains a fairly short and easy read at under 150 pages. However, it covers a range of topics relating to the spiritual depths of silence in both worship and everyday life from a Quaker perspective.

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Review - Out of the silence: Memories, poems, reflections by Terry Waite

by Tim Purchase
from Signs of the Times No. 65 - Apr 2017

We all know of Terry Waite, and most, if not all, will hold him in very high esteem for the totally unselfish way he was involved in hostage negotiations in the Lebanon and his own subsequent incarceration at the hands of abductors for five years. Therefore it was with great expectations that I opened his latest work.

The first thing to note that this is a collection of memories, poems and reflections, and not a normal work of prose. This may put some people off. I am no lover of poetry, and I approached this book with caution, but the poetry is easy to read, and comprehensible, and prompts the reader to return to individual poems over and over again.

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Review - Re-enchanting the activist: Spirituality and social change by Keith Hebden

by Keith Thomasson
from Signs of the Times No. 65 - Apr 2017

Hebden works with the related ideas of enchantment and re-enchantment. This involves releasing ideas (or losing, letting go of them) and becoming reacquainted with those ideas (or reclaiming and re-enchanting them).

He works with the self, God, religion, affliction (or suffering) and death. His creative thinking is enriched by encounter with many current trends of thought and public theology. This is a lively and stimulating read. Goldman, Soelle, and Edwina Currie all within a page of one another! It is from an author who is using such material to weave a response to the inequalities within everyday life.

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Observations from the Student Christian Movement at Modern Church Council

by Ellis Tsang, SCM Fundraising & Communications Officer 
from Signs of the Times No. 65 - Apr 2017

How do we provide a safe refuge for Christians who want to ask questions, be inclusive, and are open to other beliefs and perspectives?

This was the question that kept coming up during the recent Modern Church council meeting at Hinsley Hall, Leeds. It’s the question I ask every day at the Student Christian Movement (SCM), where we reach out to students who might be a little lost in their faith, caught between an aggressive form of conservative evangelicalism and the busy-ness of university life and culture. How do we create a space for these people that combines an open and cutting-edge approach to theology, with a faith that is relevant to their lives and enriches them as young people in the world? The answer might lie in our idea of what theology is.

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