Liberal theology and bishops’ beliefs

Bishop David Jenkins

Bishop David Jenkins

Should bishops publicly state their religious beliefs, even when they differ from church teachings?

Rowan Williams, when he became Archbishop of Canterbury in 2003, as an Anglican Catholic took the view that his duty was to represent the faith of the whole Anglican Communion. However he was faced with intense and well-organised opposition to his support for gay and lesbian relationships. To make matters worse they knew his views and were quite happy to manipulate his commitment to church unity by threatening schism. Continue reading

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The special and the beyond

What does it mean to call something special?

St CuthbertLast Sunday the main service at St Brides Liverpool was on the topic of pilgrimage. Many of the people there had been on the St Brides Pilgrimage to Lindisfarne. I hadn’t been myself but it was interesting to hear the stories and see the photos.

So we heard about acts of worship, meditations, the local church, the walk along St Cuthbert’s Way, watching the stars in the absence of street lighting. People kept affirming that such-and-such a thing, or event, or place, was special.

Special? What’s that about? You mean it produced a funny feeling in you?

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Corbyn voters: supporters or entryists?

ballot boxThe Labour MP Simon Danczuk has called on the Party to cancel the leadership elections , claiming ‘infiltration’ by those who were ‘not genuine party supporters’.

Apparently the Party has rejected 271 applications from people who in the May election were candidates for other parties, mainly the Green Party. Is the system so open to abuse by other parties that the election should be cancelled?

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Godless morality, empty or full

cartoon of puzzled dogPeople who don’t believe in God can live good moral lives every bit as well as believers can. Most people accept this. It’s not controversial. Indeed they can live better lives than believers who are only ‘good’ to avoid divine punishment.

The more difficult question is: how to justify it? Can unbelievers explain, rationally and convincingly, why they think they should live moral lives, and which actions are moral, without falling back on some kind of supernatural authority?

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Calais, migration and God

map of Calais and DoverHow do we respond to the information about the refugees at Calais? About Prime Minister David Cameron’s description of migrants as a ‘ swarm ‘? What feelings does immigration evoke?

This post relates the question to the declining influence of Christian morality, especially the idea that all the world’s people are equally created and loved by the same god.

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What’s the point of children?

Boy writingTeaching philosophy to primary school children can improve their English and maths skills, according to a pilot study highlighting the value of training pupils to have inquiring minds.

So writes Sarah Cassidy in The Independent . Apparently,

Children from deprived backgrounds benefited the most from philosophical debates about topics such as truth, fairness and knowledge.

No doubt this is true, but it’s a superb illustration of the topsy-turvy nature of our society. It means that English and maths are the objectives: truth, fairness and knowledge are the means.
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God?! What is that?

Conf2015‘Seeking the sacred’ was the title of last week’s annual conference of Modern Church together with the World Congress of Faiths.

We heard speakers from a wide range of different faith traditions, and in some cases representatives of different traditions in dialogue with each other.

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Churches and death: can others do it better?

Group of people drinkingHere’s confirmation of one of the points Professor Linda Woodhead made in the talk she gave at St Brides Liverpool on Monday.

The talk was entitled ‘What’s wrong with the Church of England? And can anything be done?’

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What’s wrong with the Church of England?

Linda Woodhead

Linda Woodhead

– and can anything be done?

At last night’s lively talk at St Brides’ Liverpool, and the equally lively discussion afterwards, Linda Woodhead presented an alternative vision of the Church of England.

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The Pope and the environment

Pope Francis' coat of armsLaudato Si is the papal encyclical about the environment published on 18th June 2015. The subtitle is ‘On care for our common home’. At 40,000 words it is a substantial document. I hope this post serves as a useful summary and commentary, and perhaps encouragement to read the whole thing.

On the whole I think it is excellent but I expect criticisms, mainly on two points.

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