If a pivotal word such as “God” can carry so many meanings, the question arises: Is it useful any more? Some think the churches should look for another word that doesn’t mean so many different things to so many different people.
Read Ian Harris’s latest “Faith and Reason” article here
A cultural shift to save the culture – read the whole article here
I think it is true that in the church we have not focussed enough attention on establishing firmly our sense of identity; we are not completely clear about who we are. And that is particularly obvious among the young and disaffected.
In what way is the culture passed on? That is a complicated issue and far more complicated than I can deal with here and probably that I could ever manage. But one thing must be said immediately: Our society and the church has gone through, and is going through, irreversible and cataclysmic changes and there is no going back. But there are those within the many religious traditions who are standing up and asserting that the failure of religion puts humanity at risk, so we must at least think about how we connect with one another around the world and across the generations.
I also want to affirm, there is a way forward. There are churches and religious communities who have faced up to the challenges of modern biblical studies, theology and the realities of the world we live in, who go on to develop their own ways of giving full expression to the traditions and the culture from which they have sprung. Diana Butler Bass shows that in those communities renewal and vitality can spring up again and the next generation can be inspired and join in.
Religion has a role to play for the well-being of all people everywhere and it can do that when we are open to the experiences and traditions of others while being completely true to who we are and to the traditions that have formed us. Religion, when it is focussed on our common humanity, can speak hopefully to a world that is dangerously divided.
That is a bigger vision and will require much of us, but I think there are some small steps we can take towards it. So, in this short article I want to share some convictions and stories that might open up some possibilities for the future. Continue reading Cultural shift – article by Roger Wiig
At this link, you can find a selection of hymns by Andrew Pratt.
This extract is from a communion hymn:
Crowded table, urgent faces,
people longing for the bread,
bread of life and bread for living,
bread for rising from the dead…
All are welcome, wise or foolish,
at this table all are fed,
sharing wine in celebration,
eating Christ’s communion bread.
© Andrew Pratt
The self-described “progressives” among America’s Protestant clergy at the turn of the twentieth century were well known in church circles and beyond for their advanced thinking on theology, politics, and foreign affairs.
As they faced the prospect of a new century, these ministers and academics thought of themselves as broad-minded, humane, and cosmopolitan, in harmony with the very best scientific, political, and theological wisdom of the age.
– Richard M. Gamble in “The War for Righteousness”
Faith is having the courage to keep our vision
and to find our way
through the smaller rules and regulations,
to keep the flame of hope alive,
and to find ways of facing up to change and transitions.
when the road ahead looms endless
empower us to be companions
for one another along the road.
when the road forward is blocked
inspire in us creative responses
that move us beyond the barriers.
when the road before us divides
enable us to make a good choice of direction.
(Shared by Maxine Cunningham)
New Title Release:
Made on Earth
by Dr Lorraine Parkinson, minister, teacher, writer
Published by Spectrum Publications and retails for $34.95. Spectrum Publications – Australian owned and managed for over 30 years.
Why have millions of Christians across two millennia been convinced that Jesus of Nazareth is the divinely anointed Christ? The answer is that ‘evidence’ for it is reinforced with every Sunday reading of the gospels. Each canonical gospel claims to tell the story of Jesus the Messiah, or Christ. Even if startling differences between the gospels are acknowledged, this has not destroyed belief that they are divinely inspired.
In this book Lorraine Parkinson sets out compelling reasons why the gospels may be found to have been ‘made on earth’. She builds a strong argument that each gospel was written to make a distinct case for Jesus as the Christ. She presents detailed evidence that the Christ of the gospels is the creation of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, plus later editors. The sub-text of this book contends that by including teachings of Jesus alongside claims for him as Christ, gospel writers bequeathed to Christianity two contradictory gospels – the gospel of Jesus and the gospel about Jesus.
Rev Rex A E Hunt, writes about this book:
There is both detailed and courageous biblical scholarship in Made on Earth. Parkinson is not afraid to challenge the tradition in open and honest ways. What any scholar worth their salt should always do, but especially those in theological colleges who should be free to ‘teach’ rather than to ‘store up’! It is no longer good enough to ‘fiddle’ the orthodoxy tune from the pulpit while the minds of thinking people move on, vacating nearly every pew in the country.
For that ‘poke’ Parkinson deserves our heartfelt thanks and gratitude. I know I will be referring regularly to Made on Earth.
Lorraine Parkinson is an ordained minister, teacher and writer, whose doctoral research was conducted at the École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem. She leads seminars on progressive biblical thinking around Australia and in New Zealand. Her emphasis in seminars and in writing is on Jesus and his teaching about the kingdom of God on earth: the best possible world. Lorraine and her husband Dr John Bodycomb live in Melbourne, Australia.