Thursday, 7 October 2010

Faith and the Secular Society

Today I spent all day in Southwark Cathedral attending a clergy study day. The theme was 'Engaging Faith in a Secular World' and we looked at the sociology of religion: How belief affects what people do. Also, the experience of the Jews during the Babylonian exile, and what that has to say today to a church that finds itself in an increasingly secular and sometimes hostile context. After lunch I managed to stay awake for a fascinating talk on 'Public theology, apologetics and the media.' I'm sincere in using the word 'fascinating', as it helped us to understand why the media ignores so much of the positive message of the church in favour of the divisive and scandalous.

An interesting thought about the Babylonian exile: the Jews actually did quite well out of it in the end - they prospered even in a foreign land. And, more importantly, they learnt that their religion would sustain them even when it was practised outside Israel, and even when they had to accept some cultural limitations - particularly the loss of the Temple.

We also got to greet our new Bishop-elect, Christopher Chessun. He is a very popular choice in the Diocese, it seems.

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