NOW AVAILABLE. My new book:
The Apostate's Creed: Rethinking Christianity for the C21st.
A humanist-focused reworking of statements from the Apostles' Creed and a series of reflections inspired mainly by Luke's gospel.
Order from www.ypdbooks.com 170 pp. £10 + p/p.
'Honest and clear'. 'Really interesting'. 'Most enjoyable'
Why not invite me to a Zoom group to discuss it? Copies for groups are available from me at a 50% discount. I will even send a sample copy FREE if you contact me with a postal address.
Most people in our modern culture no longer believe in 'a God'.
But that doesn't mean there are no other kinds of personal 'spirituality' in the Christian tradition. So let's have a grown-up conversation about it.
All religions and their gods are just human beings searching for truth, not the last word on everything forever. So we can change them in the light of what we now know that we didn't know before. For me, the story about Jesus still has value once you recognise that WE decide how to tell it.
I am not therefore a 'Christian' as usually understood, just watching with interest from the sidelines. Admittedly, there are a lot of versions of 'Christianity' I could choose from, though some are frankly appalling. There are 250+ different denominations/churches across the world that claim to be 'Christian', many also claiming that they are the only 'true' one! But there has to be an acceptance of difference, even a celebration of it, if most people in our modern context are going to be interested.
I do still go to a church now and then; to a very diverse inner city CofE with an inclusive approach and a radical stance on community engagement. Its care for asylum-seekers and the vulnerable challenges and encourages me. I can't affirm most of the normally-expected beliefs, but I am welcome anyway and still feel part of the family. Like an embarassing uncle at Christmas! Sometimes I just sit and reflect during the service, or light a candle or share someone's joy or sadness.
I'm not interested in my own alleged 'salvation'. Or in a God we have created who decides who gets it and who doesn't. But I am also a 'cultural' Christian; I enjoy exploring much of its history, art, architecture, music and literature, and I'm always very happy to discuss it! However, many ancient beliefs no longer make sense. What matters most? The preservation of the past and its claims or being a community that actually helps us to live well together, now, as human beings?
When it comes to the content of 'faith', the theology, the doctrines, (which hardly anyone ever wants to talk about for fear of the changes it might mean), how can anyone claim to 'know' anything about a reality beyond us in such minute detail? It's just us talking, feeling our way into what, by definition, is unknowable. Everything we claim to know about a 'God' is mediated through the limits of our own human perceptions. All scriptures, images, beliefs and creeds have been devised by human minds. A 'religious 'experience is a human experience that we have defined as a 'religious' experience. It cannot be anything else.
So if any supposed 'relationship' with 'Him' or sense of 'God's will' are all of my own (or others') devising, then there is no pre-determined meaning or value to life. We have to create our own meanings and values and make our own decisions, where we are now. That's what it means to be fully human. We have come of age'. A 'God' who 'speaks' cannot do it all for us. (See Richard Holloway's excellent new book, 'The stories we tell ourselves' for more on this idea).
I still try (and no doubt fail) to follow what I can discern of the 'Way' of Jesus because he seems to have embodied essentially humanist values, and, like many others, paid with his life as a result. But I cannot share the C1st world-view which took a God for granted. Human creativity is capable of greatness on its own - like a Chopin Nocturne or Venice. An interventionist and personal God is not required to affirm the importance of justice, beauty and love. They are part of us.
Maybe this is all no different from just hoping to live well and with a care for others, especially the oppressed and excluded. But is there still something here that can help us to be our best, God or no God? Join me on the journey and see where it takes you!
I have now retired from my school attendance training role.
This website now reflects only my other interest: Can Christianity and its central figure mean anything to those who are not convinced that conventional ideas of 'God' and religion take us where we need to go as modern, thoughtful human beings?
On this page you'll find details of how to purchase my book 'The Apostate's Creed'. PLUS a link to a page that explains why I am not 'a Christian' and another which sums up my approach to the Way of Jesus.
In Study Resources you'll find a PowerPoint (with audio) on 'Who wrote the Bible'?; discussion notes on the classic book from the 1960s, ''Honest to God' and my own reflections on the Psalms from 2011, 'Walking without God'. These are all free.
Friendly Feedback is always very welcome. Please let me know if you have found my ideas interesting and helpful.
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