Category Archives: provocateur (faith and philosophy)

British Values?

I wonder how many readers of this college’s blog will have been worried by the instability left in the wake of the UK General Election last Thursday (8th June2017)? And I wonder how many are similarly worried by the tack the media are taking with respect to the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) who are to work with the Conservative party in trying to govern the UK?

The minute this uneasy alliance was proposed, commentators in the media (notably the BBC and Channel 4 of course) were raising their holier-than-thou shrill voices about these ‘unpleasant people’ (DUP), many of whom are ‘against same-sex marriage’ and ‘homophobic’; ‘against abortion’ and have members who believe that ‘Creationism should be taught in schools’. All things, we are continually told, which do not fit in with our ‘British Values’. Read more »

Gender Inclusive Language and God

I wonder whether you’ve read the recent news about those within the Church of England who wish to begin addressing God as ‘She’? Of course, this is no new idea; the femininity of God is suggested in a small number of places in scripture, and occasionally, cults have arisen which emphasise God’s feminine nature. (1) In this case, a group which meets at Lambeth Palace with the snazzy name of the “Transformations Steering Group”, is calling for a rethink on language about God and is seeking to have changes made to the liturgy; changes which are, in some places, already taking place on an informal basis, with ‘He’ being changed to ‘She’ for example, when talking of, or addressing, God. The Daily Telegraph on 31st May, 2015 notes that ‘Hilary Cotton, chair of Women And The Church (WATCH), the group which led the campaign for female bishops, said the shift away from the traditional patriarchal language of the Book of Common Prayer is already at an “advanced” stage in some quarters.’ (2) Read more »

St. Mugg and Christmas

I’ve always been a great fan of the writings of Malcolm Muggeridge – ‘St. Mugg’ as he affectionately became known in his later years. Muggeridge led an interesting life; as a young man he was the Guardian correspondent for the USSR, and during World War 2, a secret agent. In later life he became editor of Punch magazine, and later still found celebrity status in the UK and America, largely due to his new-found Christian faith, which eventually led to the nick-name. Read more »

‘Praying’ Prayers.

Yesterday (Good Friday, 2014) I joined many other local Christians of different denominations in the annual Good Friday ‘procession of witness’ through our village. This begins with a 20 minute service at the Roman Catholic Church; the congregation, of maybe one hundred, then silently moves on in double file, with someone carrying a large wooden cross at the front, to the Anglican Church, where another short service takes place. And finally, the procession snakes its way back through the village to the Methodist Church, where another 20 minute service ends the morning. During the outdoor processing, the traffic is seriously held up on two occasions and it would be difficult for anyone in, or passing through, the village, not to notice it. Of course, behind the procession is an unspoken announcement ‘we Christians are still here in this village, and we want to remind you what this day is really about!’ Read more »

Theology and Science

I’m sure everyone at KEDS will be interested to hear about Mike Brownnutt, one of our students in the third year of his master’s course. Mike, who already holds a PhD in Physics from Imperial College, London, has recently finished running a three week course at Hong Kong University, in collaboration with the Faith and Global Engagement Initiative, entitled “Belief in Science and Religion.” Slides for this may be found at; http://beta.gened.hku.hk/archive

Following this, on 13th March, Mike gave a lecture at an interdisciplinary workshop for the Department of Christian Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck, entitled; “Determinism/ Indeterminism in Nature: Agency, Genetics, Quantum Mechanics.” The workshop website is here:
http://www.uibk.ac.at/philtheol/powers/conferences/workshop_determinism.html.

Mike currently lives in Innsbruck, Austria with his wife and two children (they have a third child due at the end of March). In between writing his thesis, looking after his family, and giving interdisciplinary lectures in far-flung places, Mike is busy as an assistant professor of experimental quantum mechanics at the University of Innsbruck. When asked if he had any encouraging words for other students, Mike replied; ‘A spouse that supports you is worth more than their weight in gold. Hold on to them!’

I’m sure everyone juggling families, work and studies will want to add a heart-felt ‘Amen’ to his words, and wish Mike all the best for his future work and ministry.

Are You a Homophobic Bigot?

I wonder how many readers of this blog heard last week’s Any Questions (BBC Radio 4, 8pm, Friday 8th Feb 2013). The panel for the evening included feminist Julie Bindel. Ms Bindel describes herself as a ‘radical feminist, not the fun kind but an out and out proud lesbian.’ As the topic of ‘gay marriage’ is hot in the news at the moment, I listened carefully to her comments. Ms Bindel began by saying that ‘those who are opposed to equal marriage are either ‘homophobic, bigoted or are on nodding terms with bigots’ and commented that being against gay marriage is ‘gross discrimination’. Read more »