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Why we hate -a book review

The topic of this book is important as we are seeing a rise in all sorts of hatred across many societies. Social media seems not to helping -rather the reverse: fanning the flames. Our global community is increasingly being stressed by climate forcing -related changes which are beginning to push populations into harm's way in terms of forcing people to confront others who are being demonised. And our propensity to emote synergistically with those around us has always been a force for fanning the flames of conflict as we can be induced to hate someone designated 'enemy'.  I came to this book also with my own questions about how anger and hate interrelate and how our psychology around hate can be manipulated and how that manipulation can be counteracted.  I thought I'd give this book a try also because I recently became intrigued by this: Hilge Landweer distinguishes between Verachtung (contempt) and Hass (hate). She argues that contempt fits perfectly into the neoliberal
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Trinitarian Formation

 I think that formation is one of the key issues going forward for the church in relation to climate and environment emergency. This is because some degree of change -no; damage and loss- is baked in and the only question is how bad it will get and where? And following on from that is how will we Christians respond? In response to those challenges, I think we need, NOW, to be discipling each other in ways that will equip us to be good neighbours in climate and environmental emergencies. So it is vital that we re/consider how to disciple well -or to put it otherly: how to do good Christian formation. So my interest in this book is to enable to make sure my own thinking about formation's current agenda is Trinitarian. One of the things I found helpful in reading this is the interaction with JKA Smith, where the latter's questioning of the Reformed Christian 'cognitive first' approach is affirmed though the replacement with centring desire/love/worship is critiqued because

Turning over the Church's year

 I find myself saying from time to time that we should make more of Holy Saturday. I know that the Orthodox have a liturgy about the burial of Christ's body . I think that holding it as a day of lament, a day to consider what it would be like to live, for example, in a meaningless universe without God, a day to remember the finality of death -holding back from anticipating a relativising of that finality. This appears not to be what the Orthodox do -as they think about the harrowing of hell and the 'resting' of Christ -which still seems framed by the hint of resurrection. I think we could do with an exploration of the darkness, maybe. But then as I think about adjusting our liturgical practice, a flow of other things I'd like to explore about the church's year starts (some of which I've posted before ) ... I think that we should perhaps start the church's year with Creationtide; in September. This would align with the new academic year and draw us much close
 I found this quote in a Toot today and find it thought-provoking as I have sometimes used 'allegiance' as a way to talk about following Christ. "Take the idea of loyalty. I don’t believe in loyalty, not as such. I believe in solidarity, instead. These are comparable social values, but the difference matters. Loyalty, as I understand it, is about allegiance. Allegiance is about the subordination of one to another. Loyalty happens, by and large, in a hierarchical fashion. Solidarity is performed between equals." ( Original context here )   It's an unusual source for the quote for me. However it's a good point and the article is interesting and helpful in pushing us beyond stereotypes.  Anyway, for me, the quote has me thinking about recasting some of my talking and explaining about Christ -following as "solidarity" rather than loyalty. Not necessarily always: loyalty to Christ is arguably an already subverted loyalty in that 'I am among you as one

How to Read the Bible Well -a book review

 Issues of biblical interpretation are a constant theme in ministry among university (and other) students. From those trying to treat scripture as if it's a text book, to those who have little time for an ancient collection of writings filled with patriarchal, genocidal, abusive and ignorant opinions -and many in between who find some inspiration and wisdom while also wrestling with other parts that seem far less so. So, I came to this book wondering whether it might possibly be something I'd put into the hands and consideration of students and those who work with them. In terms of the level at which it's written, I think I'd be reasonably confident that it would work in such hands. It's well-informed but deliberately eschews footnotes -which I mention as a signifier of the approach: intelligent popular, not academic but informed by scholarship. It's written from a broadly Evangelical background and addresses people formed in that sub-culture. It's also very

St Austell's "Earth Goddess statue"

It's not often that idolatry becomes a national news outlet topic, but last weekend it did. Though it seems that it's a story that's been rumbling on in more local reporting for a couple of months or more. St Austell has got itself a massive sculpture to commemorate its clay mining heritage. It has attracted comment about both its form and now its name: "Earth Goddess" Media story templates Now, I'm a bit cautious about what has gone on in actuality. My experience with newspaper reporters, editors and the BBC leads me to think that they tend to work with story templates in their minds and that they feel they work more efficiently if they can shoehorn events into those templates. In turn this can mean that reports miss or skew things in ways that frustrate those who are insiders to the communities and events being reported on. Religious stories are often victims of this. For example, it takes a bit of reading between the lines of several of the reports to notic

Such a Mind as This

 Despite a lot of time spent trying to get people to recognise that our rational and cognitive life is only a part of what makes us who we are and -vitally- only a (often small) part of what we mobilise to inform our decisions and attitudes, it is nevertheless important to give it proper attention and make sure it is a (but not always 'the') central part in our outlook and action in the world. Hence, a book such as this is important to take notice of. The writing makes use of many good sources which are deftly deployed having been well understood. So it seems a bit jarring that the exposition of the early chapters of Genesis reads as if the author is taking it as literal history. That's merely a minor irritant though as the theological points are often not dependent on this (and it may just be an artefact of taking the text as given in the way they write or assume closer-to-original hearer/readers would have understood it). I was also interested that the Augustinian interpr