Thursday 27 July 2023

Theology in Scotland 30, 1 (2023) on Autism and Faith

The substance of the latest issue of Theology in Scotland is devoted to autism and faith. The articles are available as pdfs from here.


Lina Toth

Autism and Faith

As the title suggests, this issue is devoted to a theme that has become much more prominent in the general public discourse over recent years, yet still lacks sustained attention or an in-depth, creative consideration in the life of the Church as well as in theological thought.


Rob Lawson

One Autism Story, Two Autism Theories, Many Autism Gifts

This article reflects on how autism interacts with the Christian faith and the Church. From considerations of the lived experience of the author’s son, who has autism, tensions are noted between the two main theoretical stances which are commonly applied to autism and how this has a bearing on a ‘theology of autism’. Of these two stances, it is suggested that ‘Intense World’ theory is more useful because it treats autistic people with greater empathy; ironically, an aspect that an ‘impaired’ Theory of Mind suggests they lack. This has implications for how the Church can learn from and be enriched by neurodiverse people.

Harry Gibbins

Rolling with Advantage: Why Dungeons & Dragons Provides New Insight into the Christian Concept of the imago Dei for Autistic Christians

What is clear through an exploration of disability theology is that the imago Dei is a crucial component of a proper understanding of disability and creation. Whilst the imago Dei provides excellent utility in terms of the spiritual engagement of autistic Christians, there is much to be discovered concerning new pioneering methods of approaching dialogue between autistic and non-autistic Christians. As I shall explore through an autoethnographic study drawing from my own experiences, Dungeons & Dragons is one of these pioneering methods that is a creative tool for autistic Christians. Thus, new methods emerge regarding what the imago Dei means for those on the autism spectrum.

Edward Caney

‘Though the Earth Gives Way’: An autoethnographic Account of Autistic Grief

Through an autoethnographic account of my mother’s death, I reveal how grief and the desolation it brings the autistic person is vastly different to neurotypical models of grief (such as the Kübler-Ross model) determining when, where and how I was permitted to feel my emotions. Grief takes those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) a greater amount of time to work through, often resulting in periods of meltdown and shutdown (heightened anger and fear) as well as an unawareness of the emotion they are feeling. However, I will also show how parental death can also be transformative, providing a powerful reason to persevere.

Krysia Emily Waldock and Precious Nonye Sango

Autism, Faith and Churches: The Research Landscape and Where We Go Next

Although there is a growing field exploring Autistic people, faith and churches, negative attitudes remain towards Autistic people within some faith spaces. Our paper aims to unpick the theological and sociological issues behind negative attitudes, beliefs and practices. We will then tentatively suggest how this projects a neuronormative and able-bodied image of God, and hinders the flourishing of all church members, notably Autistic people. We will then reflect on the current research landscape and knowledge-to-practice pipeline in churches. Finally, we will provide some recommendations for future directions, and practical recommendations for research and practice.

Arts and Culture

Martin Donaghey

Poem: The Band & the Promise

In a fascinating commentary on his approach to making sense – of texts, of art, and of life itself – the author describes the process whereby this poem came into being: ‘In my classically Autistic sensory experience, I encounter texts (trends, places, people) as a collage of individual pieces, which are then assembled together, mutually transforming each other into the pre-constructed whole that Neurotypical people are commonly gifted to see straight-off.’ He asserts that for autistic people, ‘our gifted advantage is an innate ability to construct that world-of-the-text for ourselves; to go on our own journey of meaning just to arrive at a “basic” definition.’

Review Essay

Armand Léon van Ommen, Ian Lasch, Bryan Fowler, Henna Cundill, Chris Barber

Autism Theology: Discussions from an emerging field

This multi-authored book review explores the current state of the field of Autism Theology through a discussion of four recent publications. A concluding section reflects on several key themes in the individual reviews, drawing particular attention to: Autism Theology's focus on the ideas and practices which enable autistic people’s thriving; the importance of the inclusion of different voices in the conversation (including those who are non- or minimally speaking); and the richness which autistic people’s presence and contributions bring to theology and to the Church as a whole.


Tuesday 25 July 2023

The Big Picture Magazine 7 (2023) on Food and Place

The seventh issue of The Big Picture, a magazine produced by the Kirby Laing Centre, has recently been made available.

Among other items, this issue devotes several articles to the theme of food and place.

More information is available here, and the issue can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Online versions of the previous issues of the magazine are available from here.

Monday 17 July 2023

Theos Report on the United Reformed Church

A new report from Theos has been published:

Nathan Mladin, The United Reformed Church: A Paradoxical Church at a Crossroads (London: Theos, 2023).

More information can be found here, a summary of the six main lessons learned is here, and a pdf of the full report is available here.

Thursday 13 July 2023

Evangelical Review of Theology 47, 3 (August 2023)

The latest Evangelical Review of Theology – a special issue primarily on Christian higher education – is now online and available in its entirety as a pdf here.

David S. Dockery

Christian Higher Education and the Global Church

D. A. Carson

A Biblical Theology of Education

John D. Woodbridge

Biblical Authority and Faithful Christian Higher Education

Jennifer Marshall Patterson

Wisdom for Cultural Challenges about Human Flourishing

Nathan A. Finn

Theological Commitments of Distinctively Christ-Centred Higher Education

Bernhard Ott

Shaping the Future of Theological Education: Introducing the ICETE Manifesto II

ICETE Manifesto II: Call and Commitment to the Renewal of Theological Education

Ian Atkinson

‘In the Land of My Captivity’:

Patrick of Ireland’s Use of the Old Latin Jeremiah

Book Reviews

Tuesday 11 July 2023

Mission Frontiers 45, 3 (May–June 2023) and 45, 4 (July–August 2023)

The May–June 2023 issue of Mission Frontiers, published by the U.S. Center for World Mission, contains a number of articles devoted to the theme of ‘The Gospel Goes Digital’.

Here is the issue blurb, which sets the scene:

‘New inventions have always been met with some controversy and skepticism at first as believers wrestled with understanding the new technology and its biblical implications before adopting it to the glory of God. That process continues in our day at a breathtaking speed. We should seek to use every tool that science can provide to help spread the Gospel. But we cannot just sit back and hope that the scientific community will always use these new technologies wisely. The Church needs to be actively involved in guiding the application of new technologies from a biblical perspective.’

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

The July–August 2023 issue is devoted to the topic of ‘Mobilising the Church to Reach All Peoples’, with the blurb as follows:

Jesus’ last words to His disciples and to us in Matt. 28:18–20 were to go and make disciples of all nations (ethne/peoples), baptizing them and teaching them to obey all that Jesus has commanded us, which also includes this command. For 2,000 years, this command to make disciples should have been one of the first things taught to every new Jesus follower after they repented of their sins and put their faith in Jesus for salvation. But unfortunately, this command has, too often, been forgotten and ignored by the Church. This is why we still have over 7,000 unreached peoples according to Joshua Project, and why we still have a challenge of mobilizing the Church today.’

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

Saturday 8 July 2023

Monday 3 July 2023

Seth Lewis on the Ordinary Christian Life

Every month, The Good Book Company make available digital versions of one of their books at no charge. This month (July 2023) it’s Dream Small: The Secret Power of the Ordinary Christian Life by Seth Lewis, which is available in exchange for an email address here.