Friday, 25 April 2008

O God! I'm not a liberal!

Our little course using "Living the Questions" DVD material is ongoing in the hall on Thursday nights. Stimulating stuff, that gets the happy half dozen talking and ye Rector (that's me folks)shows off his hibernating scholarship. Last night we got to lives of Jesus. After the 1st bit, I was debating strongly with one of the faithful (and he genuinely is) in defence of biblical criticism as a useful, nay essential tool. Then we got to Marcus Borg on what he believes about Jesus. It was when we got to the Resurrection that the rubber hit the road and my voice came out saying: "Well, to be honest, I really part company with this lot here."

I am not really terribly liberal in theology. I actually do believe he rose again, is alive and I have a relationship with him. It isn't "an eschatolgical manifestation of the ground of our being" (whatever that is) or a culturally conditioned response by the religious bit of my id, ego or super ego. Incarnation is a reality, as is resurrection. Otherwise, I really was wasting my time and got 50 quid under false pretences from the family whose 93 year old ma I planted with prayer in the local cemetery yesterday afternoon.

Then I read this and think: "dogmatic little bugger!" Try again. For me, incarnation and resurrection are real and matter. I say the creed without a qualm and am grateful that I can. If others have difficulty with that, but feel they can say the creed by doing some (what I regard as) intellectual gymnastics and travel with people like me in the mad ecclesiastical organisation I work for, then great, I'm happy and welcome aboard, let's journey together. Let me say the creed ex animo and I'll let you say it cum grano salis. And we'll still meet at the altar rail together and break bread together on our knees.

Hey! Maybe I am really a liberal after all. Just doctrinally a wee bit conservative. I think I can live with that.


  1. Watch the dougal-shaped space as the years pass: interesting things happen to what you believe ....

    ..said she, never much of a theologian, but benefiting from being somewhat ...old. :-(

  2. Oh, they have Oscar, they have! Once upon a time, I was a good wee Anglo Catholic who didn't believe in Richard Holloway or wifie priests. And the other clergy who thought like that were really straight! Aye. Right. Scotland is the only country 2 x +ve = -ve!

    Came across a rather good bit of advice which inspired me:

    "Draw deep from the well of Biblical critiscism - but don't give your congregation too much of the rope to chew!"

  3. Your last sentence says it all. That's what's so lovely about our church - there's room for so many diversities of theology. It's only when one lot starts dictating to the other lots that problems arise IMO.