Friday 28 January 2022

Theology in Scotland 28, 2 (2021) on Theology and the Environment

Coinciding with COP26  having taken  place  in  Glasgow  in  November 2021, the contributions to the latest issue of Theology in Scotland are devoted to theology and the environment. The articles are available as pdfs from here.

Lina Toth and Doug Gay

Editorial: Theology and the Environment

The co-editors reflect briefly on what has historically been a complex relationship between ecology and the Christian faith before giving an overview of the issue's contents.

Pat Bennett and Richard Bauckham

Rediscovering the Community of Creation

The biblical scholar Richard Bauckham’s 2010 book Bible and Ecology provides a useful jumping-off point for his conversation with liturgist and writer Pat Bennett on humanity’s relationship to the rest of creation in the context of the current ecological crisis. Their discussion reflects on Bauckham’s view that a correct biblical understanding of this relationship requires us to read beyond Genesis 1:26–28’s mandate of human dominion over other living creatures. They explore how, rather than a relationship of dominance (which has been used by some to justify exploitation of the earth’s resources), the full picture the Bible presents is one where humans are part of a community of creation alongside other creatures.

Graeme McMeekin

Scottish Lenses, Languages and Landscapes: Engaging Evangelicals with Environmentalism

This article points out the dissonance between young people’s environmental and justice concerns, and the lack of sufficient interest in the ecological aspects of Christian witness in Scottish evangelical circles. Reminding us that language matters enormously – as illustrated by the tensions even around the terminology used to describe the current ecological challenge – it explores the anthropological lens through which evangelicals tend to view the created world, and suggests a pragmatic response in terms of the kind of images and language that would naturally speak and relate to evangelical believers.

Robyn Boeré

How Can We Love What We Don’t Know?: Children and Ecological Care

This article addresses the intersection of child ethics and ecological ethics, arguing that ecological care should be viewed as a shared endeavour between children and adults, where each have something to offer to and learn from the other. It is incumbent on adults to foster an embodied, intimate relationship with nature as something that is key to children’s moral development, including their morality of ecological care. This perspective also provides a model of discipleship for adults, characterised as a Rahnerian environmentally-conscious second childhood: by recollecting, observing and mimicking children’s relationship with nature, adults can learn to become like them in their care for the earth.

Stuart C. Weir

Work and the Shema

This article offers a proposal for a spirituality of work that takes its inspiration and guidance from the Shema, ‘the greatest commandment’. Drawing attention to the Hebraic holism and its incorporation of the physical expression of loving God with all one’s ‘might’ or ‘strength’, it calls for a ‘somatic revival’ of human work. It highlights the harmful effects of the sedentary working conditions that have come to characterise the working lives of many in today’s Scotland, and urges the development of a spirituality of work that takes a fuller account of the Shema, ‘which moves its utterers to working in a way that ignites soul, mind and body […] to implement afresh the greatest commandment as integrated in active Christian living’.

Anna Fisk

Review Essay: The Double Edge of Lament: Love and Justice at the End of the World

Written in the run-up to the COP26 summit held in Glasgow, this review essay reflects on theological tools for the climate justice movement in conversation with five recent books.

Jock Stein

Two Poems

Theology in Scotland on arts and culture is a new section which we hope will have a regular appearance in the journal, featuring creative work of Scottish artists, theologians and practitioners of faith. On this occasion, Jock Stein, a Church of Scotland minister who took up writing poetry in his retirement, shares two poems which speak of his own hopes for COP26 and beyond.


Friday 21 January 2022

Everyday Faith Portal

‘Everyday Faith’ is a recently-launched portal from the Church of England.

According to its website:

‘Everyday Faith offers bitesize, yet in-depth, resources on topics relevant to you, that will help you help find and follow God in everyday life. These resources will inspire, equip and encourage you in your everyday faith. whoever you are and wherever this is.’

Journeys – featuring reflections, prayers, and guidance – are designed to help users work out and express their faith in everyday life.

This forms part of the Church of England’s ‘Setting God’s People Free’ initiative, seeking to facilitate a shift in church culture to ‘enable the whole people of God to live out the Good News of Jesus confidently in all of life, Sunday to Saturday’.

You can sign up from here.

Thursday 20 January 2022

A.J. Nickerson on Modern Spirituality

The latest Cambridge Paper from the Jubilee Centre is available online here (from where a pdf can be downloaded here), this one by A.J. Nickerson:

A.J. Nickerson, ‘Modern Spirituality: Learning from the Poets’, Cambridge Papers 30, 4 (December 2021).

Here is the summary:

‘The last decade has seen striking growth in the popularity of alternative spiritual practices requiring neither doctrinal explanation nor institutional affiliation. This essay offers a brief account of such contemporary beliefs before asking what it is like to negotiate the tension between the assumptions of secularity and the impulses towards extra-ordinary forms of experience. Some of the richest accounts of modern spirituality come from the 1930s, and this paper examines some of the period’s profoundest poetic explorations of belief before considering T.S. Eliot’s analysis of the modern situation in the light of Christian revelation.’

Tuesday 18 January 2022

Lausanne Global Analysis 11, 2 (January 2022)

The latest issue of Lausanne Global Analysis, from The Lausanne Movement, is available online from here, including pdfs of individual articles as below.

Moyra Dale

The Diversity of Muslim Women

Daniel Munayer

Embracing Reconciliation

Jim Memory

How Do We Measure Missional Understanding of Churches?

Las Newman

The Leadership Legacy of Joel Edwards

Tuesday 4 January 2022

Conversations That Count

The C.S. Lewis Institute has put together a small group resource called ‘Conversations That Count: An Introduction to Apologetics for and by Women’.

They note that ‘while the questions in apologetics are for the most part the same for both men and women, in recent years, female Christian apologists have provided some important and unique perspectives to the discipline borne out of their own experiences as women sharing their faith with others’.

The course covers six key topics and is organised into seven small group sessions, including an orientation session. Each of the six topics has most of the following components:

• Key Bible verse for memorisation and meditation

• An article written by a Christian woman with expertise in the topic

• A video lecture given by a female Christian apologist (Amy Orr-Ewing or Jana Harmon)

• Discussion questions for your small group

• Conversational apologetics practice

See here for the start of the course.

Saturday 1 January 2022

Mission Frontiers 44, 1 (January–February 2022)

The January–February 2022 issue of Mission Frontiers, published by the U.S. Center for World Mission, contains a number of articles exploring the issue of ‘the changing shape of people group strategy’.

Here is the issue blurb, which sets the scene:

‘Things are changing all around us every day with increasing speed. Some of it is good and some of it is bad. But in all cases, we are forced to adapt to the new realities that change brings. Some people adapt easily to change, and others do not. For 45 years now, Frontier Ventures has proclaimed the biblical mandate to reach all peoples with the gospel of Jesus Christ, but the realities on the mission field are changing. The fact is, ever since the promise came to Abraham to bless all peoples, the tribes, clans, families, peoples and nations of the earth have experienced continual change. The problem in our day is that the rate of change is growing exponentially, making it difficult to cope with a rapidly changing people group picture.  That is what this issue is all about.’

The issue is available here, from where individual articles can be downloaded, and the entire issue can be downloaded as a pdf here.