Friday, October 26, 2007

Re-engaging the brain

Feeling slightly recovered from the malaise of the past four days, I felt up to opening my new book. ( I must just add, however, that it is dispiriting to note that the 4lbs shed during the aforementioned four days seem to have come off such unhelpful parts of the anatomy as the fingers and the face. Perhaps this is why I needed to engage my brain again).

But a nos moutons. Spong's prologue and opening chapter have left me asking the same question as he does:
"Is faith so weak and life so afraid that those who dare to pose questions must expect to be attacked for faithlessness by the religiously insecure?"
Immediately before that question, he asks his readers if they have felt the tension between their inability to believe literally the supernatural things said about Jesus in the Bible and reiterated in Christian history and their being drawn "deeply and expectantly" into the Jesus experience. As one of these readers, I know that there are areas of my religious thought that I simply don't share - unless, perhaps, with an interested non-believer. Safer that way, don't you know.

There is little chance that someone like me will receive death-threats over this - unlike Spong. And my job doesn't depend on my toeing the party line. But surely all these highly-educated clergy of my acquaintance must know all this stuff? So what happens? Does every priest have to stick to the curriculum regardless of what they know? Is there a rule about this? (These aren't rhetorical questions: feel free to enlighten me)

I wasn't really brought up to believe much. I was taught the basics and allowed to go my own way, and it was experience of something which happened in an Anglican framework which caught me, so perhaps it was always going to be easy for me to question and to feel it was ok to use the brains I'd been given rather than give them a Sabbath rest. And yes, I'm a Christian, one who doesn't want to live in a mediaeval cosmology. Just let me keep the music ....


  1. Anonymous6:43 PM

    Your 4lb weight loss leaves me curious. Do you weigh/measure the girth of your fingers? I know you can measure your thighs but fingers?

  2. Well yes, in a way - my rings are almost falling off. Usually I have to tug, and sometimes use cold water for minutes followed by soap - on fat-fingered/hot/drunken nights!

    I knew I should have left that bit for another post!

  3. I've recently finished reading 'The story of Christian Theology' by Roger Olsen. I sound like a real bore!

    It's actually very interesting and I particularly enjoyed following the historical roots of many modern strands of Christian thinking and points of contention.

    I'm thinking a lot about the broad church (excuse the pun) that calls itself Christianity and what exactly are the necessary doctrines that one must adhere to in order to be recognised as a Christian. It's an interesting question, however it ought not to eclipse the central point of Christianity as a relationship with God and not simply adherence to dogma. I'm not entirely sure of where the balance should be struck.