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Showing posts from January, 2012

The Heart of the Gospel

This morning I read this provocatively-titled article Why Evangelicals Hate Jesus . The author admits the title is a bit provocative, but he still makes some really good points. (I would only add that it's written from a US-perspective and that even in that context it does not describe all Evangelicals, though it does describe a significant segment of conservative Evangelicals. For a fruitful dialogue between a Unitarian and an Evangelical see this video .) But you do have to wonder how people who are so vocal about being Christian can have values so different from the actual teaching of Jesus. But this does fit into some of the thoughts I'm having at the moment. What is the heart of the Gospel? What is the the most vital part of Christianity? For a great proportion of the Christian population the heart of Christianity is the person of Jesus, devotion to him, and belief in his divine sonship. Now some Unitarians claim that this kind of thing was only made up in the fourth ce

"Can you have sex?"

This does fit into my current musings on theology of ministry, honest.

Have we forgotten how to pray?

Have you read Art Lester’s 2008 Anniversary Sermon ? If not you should do, go on, do it, I’ll wait for you. Even if you’ve read it before, or heard it at the time, go read it again . It’s really important stuff. Go on. Art’s words are on my mind at the moment. You see what I find most disheartening about some Unitarian gatherings is not someone saying “there’s not enough of us” or “we don’t have enough money” – it’s my sense that we’ve forgotten how to pray. When we try to pray, or have something like prayer, I often think to myself that we don’t get it. They might be really worthy words, clever or thought-provoking words, but I don’t think it’s prayer. Maybe I’m being really intolerant and judgmental and not recognising that other people have different sorts of spirituality. Maybe. Forgive me if I am. But Unitarian prayer often seems to me to be not deep enough. Prayer’s not just “here’s some cool words.” Prayer should be saying “OK, what we’re doing here is connecting ourselves

Time and Faith

There may be many reasons why orthodox Christianity doesn't make sense to me, one of them is about a theology of time. Orthodox Christianity seems to me to be a lot about the future and the past, and for whatever reason that doesn't make any sense to me. There's a lot of talk about "what God has done" and "what God will do" which just seems sort of irrelevant to me. Maybe it's because I'm a scientist by inclination and by training, and I sort of look for universal laws. Because the law of gravity is a fundamental law of the universe it was the same 2000 years ago, it will be the same 2000 years from now, it is the same today. It does not change. Similarly I would expect theological laws to be the same today as they were 2000 years ago, yet orthodox Christianity insists that God was more present in the universe 2000 years ago than God is today. I cannot accept that. Also I'm convinced that mindfulness of the present is so very important.

I am not a vicar

The previous post on what ministers should wear during a protest led to a conversation about what ministers should wear in any case, which also leads to the question of what a Unitarian minister is in any case. Sometimes people call me a vicar, usually non-churched friends while we're sitting in a pub. I'm not exactly offended by this, the worst thing to do is judge non-churched folks at using the wrong terms, giving the impression that religious people are hyper-sensitive and easily offended so you need to walk on eggshells around them. But nevertheless I would say, no, I'm not a vicar. The basic way of explaining this is to say vicar comes from "vicarious" - doing something for someone else, and I don't do anything for anyone else. I don't do your religion for you, you have to do it for yourself. But I suppose the basic reason why I don't wear a clerical collar is because I'm not a vicar, this is also the reason I do not use the title "

We are but witnesses

I love the Quakers. I find it quite inspiring the way they have come to a decision on same-sex marriage. They have produced a fantastic document, designed to explain their decision to other faith communities, that you can download here . The most signigicant paragraph of their decision is this one: …we are being led to treat same sex committed relationships in the same way as opposite sex marriages, reaffirming our central insight that marriage is the Lord’s work and we are but witnesses. The question of legal recognition by the state is secondary. It's such a spiritually and theologically articulate decision, and also one that is incredibly simple. It's worth reading if your community is making a decision about same-sex marriage, as my own is doing soon.