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'
Copies for groups are also available from me at a 50% discount.
All our theology, like every book of the Bible, has a context. This is mine. I am not a 'Christian' as usually understood, just watching with interest from the sidelines. I am a 'cultural' Christian; I enjoy much of its art, architecture, music and literature. I am a life-long student of the Christian story, though I'm not sure it has had all that much to do with the real Jesus! I might just be able to accept what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called 'religionless Christianity' but that's as far as I can go. I'm not interested in 'cheap grace' built around my own alleged 'salvation'. Or in a God who decides who gets it.
Such has been the impact of Christianity over the centuries that in one sense it is impossible for someone like me to avoid being part of it. (This seems to be the rather unsurprising point in Tom Holland's book 'Dominion'). But I see that as an entirely human process, not one with Divine sanction. It was largely a matter of luck and being in the right place at the right time. Obviously, with the enormous power that the Church gained came influence, but that doesn't mean that any of the beliefs and claims are necessarily true. Or unique to Christians.
I don't 'know' whether there is any reality beyond us. How can I? Everything we claim to know is mediated through the limits of our human perceptions. But I choose to live as if there is not, because that makes most sense in a rational world 'come of age' that has outgrown the old idea of a supernatural interventionist God. Like all the other versions 'He' was just an idol of our own creation, reflecting its own time and place. All doctrines, scriptures, creeds and authority have been devised by human minds, not handed down in some kind of 'revelation'. There is no pre-determined meaning to life. We have to make our own meanings through the stories we tell and the values we create. (See Richard Holloway's tremendous new book, 'The stories we tell ourselves').
I try to follow the 'Way' of Jesus but I don't share the C1st world-view which took a God for granted. The past is interesting but I don't live there! Maybe this is no different from just hoping to live well and with a care for others, especially the oppressed and excluded. That may be enough. What really matters in life, or in a faith? What is a religion for? I want you to at least think about it, even if you've always taken it for granted before or abandoned it all years ago. Is there still something here that can help us to be fully human, God or no God? Join me on the journey and see where it takes you!
WHO WROTE THE BIBLE? A PowerPoint with audio designed for individual study or a group discussion. If you've never thought about this question, it would be well worth doing so.
Nothing here is especially controversial - except for those who ignore all scholarship and historical insights. What you have always assumed, or been told, may not be true! Does it matter? I think so because so much is sometimes claimed that has no factual basis. Let's at least be honest about what we do know, and what we don't. And then think about how we should use the Bible today. My participation in a meeting by Zoom is currently available on request.
The FREE STUDY NOTES below give you all you need to facilitate a study day/weekend or a series of group meetings, alongside reading this classic book from 1963. together. It is still easily available second hand. CONTACT ME if you'd like me to share in the discussion with you, either in person or by email or ZOOM!
I have pretty much retired from education welfare work but you can still find information on the present arrangements for SCHOOL ATTENDANCE AND ABSENCE here. LAST UPDATED 23rd JULY. As things develop, I may offer some new distance learning packages later. Or CONTACT ME at any time. Enquiries from parents or schools are welcome.
RE-THINKING CHRISTIANITY This website now mainly reflects my other main 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 PowerPoint (with audio) on 'Who wrote the Bible'?; discussion notes on the classic book from the 1960s, ''Honest to God' and my own studies on the Psalms from 2011, 'Walking without God'. These three 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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All information and advice on this website, and in any electronic communication or face to face work, is given in good faith and is accurate to the best of my knowledge and belief. No personal liability is accepted for the adverse consequences of any unintended factual errors or omissions.