• Jesus in an Age of Enlightenment: Radical Gospels from Thomas Hobbes to Thomas Jefferson. By Jonathan C.P Birch

      Greenaway, Jonathan; orcid: 0000-0001-5636-7707 (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2021-02-07)
    • Convergence and Asymmetry: Observations on the Current State of Jewish-Christian Dialogue

      Vincent, Alana; University of Chester (Equinox, 2020-11-06)
      Drawing on a survey of forty-five statements on the status of Jewish- Christian dialogue, this article argues that the theme of convergence which underlies a substantial portion of this dialogue programme arises from an asymmetric power relationship, in which Christian institutions have been insufficiently attentive to the issue of Jewish self-understanding.
    • Towards a New Homiletic

      Shercliff, Liz (SAGE Publications, 2020-09-11)
      Feminism’s contribution to homiletics so far has arguably been restricted to exploring gender difference in preaching. In 2014, however, Jennifer Copeland identified a need not merely to ‘include women “in the company of preachers” but to craft a new register for the preaching event’. This article considers what that new register might be and how it might be taught in the academy. It defines preaching as ‘the art of engaging the people of God in their shared narrative by creatively and hospitably inviting them into an exploration of biblical text, by means of which, corporately and individually, they might encounter the divine’ and proposes that in both the Church and the Academy, women’s voices are suppressed by a rationalist hegemony. For the stories of women to be heard, a new homiletic is needed, in which would-be preachers first encounter themselves, then the Bible as themselves and finally their congregation in communality. Findings of researchers in practical preaching discover that women preachers are being influenced by feminist methodology, while the teaching of preaching is not. In order to achieve a hospitable preaching space, it is proposed that the Church and the Academy work together towards a new homiletic.
    • Hans Frei: beyond liberal and conservative

      Fulford, Ben; University of Chester (Wipf and Stock, 2020-04-30)
      At first glance, Hans W. Frei does not fit the profile of an ecumenical theologian, nor does he seem to have been considered in these terms before in scholarship. Unlike his colleague, George Lindbeck, he does not appear to have taken a close interest in the ecumenical movement or particular ecumenical dialogues or reconciliation, as Lindbeck did in his The Nature of Doctrine. Nor is his work seek to mediate between Anglican and Quaker beliefs. Yet he did seek a way forward, theologically, for what he called a ‘generous orthodoxy’ in an approach that would transcend and re-frame the conservative-liberal polarity and offer an approach to orthodoxy that was at once flexible, accountable to Scripture, resilient and progressive.
    • Kleśas and Pretas: Therapy and Liberation in Buddhist Recovery from Addiction

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Equinox, 2020-04-24)
      This article offers an analysis of Buddhist approaches to addiction recovery in the terms of some of the key debates in addiction/recovery studies. Buddhist recovery teachings are analysed for the extent to which they embody models of addiction which construe the problem as a disease, as a moral problem, as a problem of powerlessness, as a problem of control, as a choice, as a social or a personal problem, and as continuous (or not) with putative saṃsāric experience. They are also analysed for the extent to which recovery is modelled as a change of identity or of practices, and how far “recovery ideals” align with Buddhist soteriology. The article exposes philosophical and epistemological diversity across Buddhist recovery pathways, and argues that the therapeutization of Buddhism (Metcalf 2002) is inadequate as a categorical frame.
    • Spiritus Contra Spiritum: Spirituality, Belief and Discipline in Alcoholics Anonymous.

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Equinox, 2020-03-15)
      The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) suggest that the solution to alcohol addiction may be found in ‘a power greater than the self’. Carl Jung, who engaged in a correspondence with one of AA’s founders, asserted that medicine, even analytical psychology, could be of limited use to a sufferer. He agreed with AA that the problem was of a spiritual nature and a solution was to be found in a spiritual awakening. This chapter explores the ways in which members of Alcoholics Anonymous identify their recovery as ‘spiritual’. It demonstrates that much contemporary AA engagement deviates considerably from its Christian theistic roots and sits more comfortably within the holistic milieu. However, the practice of ‘spiritual discipline’ central to the Twelve Step programme captures an easily overlooked feature of AA, and one which also sets it apart from self-soothing and happiness-seeking features of contemporary well-being spirituality.
    • The human face of God: notes on a journey through practical theology

      Graham, Elaine; orcid: 0000-0002-0358-0624 (Informa UK Limited, 2020-02-23)
    • Revelation

      Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (T & T Clark, 2020-02-20)
      A social identity commentary of the book of Revelation in a single volume commentary of the New Testament
    • The Scarecrow Christ: The Murder of Matthew Shepard and the Making of an American Culture Wars Martyr

      Middleton, Paul; University of Chester (Amsterdam University Press, 2020-01-31)
      In this essay, I examine the popular martyr-making process in respect of Matthew Shepard, arguing that both the making of the martyr and the reaction it provoked reflects American ‘culture wars’. Martyrology is conflict literature. However, as I have argued before, the most significant conflict in a martyrdom story is not necessarily between the martyr and the agents of execution, but the story-tellers and their opponents.9 Yet, martyrological narratives are difficult to control, as I will demonstrate from the contested nature of Shepard’s secular canonisation process. For at least some in the LGBT community, the dominant hagiography of Matthew Shepard, the gay martyr, is seen as unhelpful. Ironically, both LGBT activists and right-wing religious groups have in some ways sought to undermine Shepard’s martyr status, by focusing on his life rather than his death. Nonetheless, I argue, such efforts continue to have limited effect because in martyrologies any interest in the lives of their heroes is incidental, merely setting the scene for a significant death.
    • Ecumenical Mission Communities in the County of Cumbria: An Interrogation of the Impact of Implementation on Chaplaincy Models

      Glynn, Jones (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2020-01)
      In 2014 Anglican, Methodist, Salvation Army and United Reformed churches in Cumbria came together under a formal covenant to form ‘Mission Communities’. The stated intention for these new groupings was to resolve to seek out every opportunity for joint initiatives: to work together to equip both lay and ordained ministry – and to share buildings and resources wherever possible. Mission Communities were to share a common evangelistic emphasis under the banner of ‘God for All’. This thesis identifies that the ecumenical and evangelistic nature of the new, imposed structure has been the cause of a disconnect between chaplains and Mission Communities. The research question addressed throughout is, ‘What is the impact of Mission Communities on chaplaincy models in Cumbria?’ After tracing the historical development of Mission Communities, due to the needs of the research I identified all the chaplains in the county and offered every one of them the opportunity to participate by expressing their perception of how the introduction of Mission Communities has impacted upon their work and ministry. A thematic analysis of responses extrapolates that five significant issues arise: ecumenism, same-sex relations, sacraments, the role of women in Christian leadership and episcopacy. The weight of the collective view on each of these issues is balanced against an alternative view and then synthesised into a summary of the theological and practical impact as a whole. Whilst the purpose of this research was to identify early impact with a view to informing the wider church of the implications of reorganising in this way, the results are mixed and reflect the issues that were uppermost in church conversation at the time the research was conducted. It may provide the foundation for a longitudinal study at the conclusion (in 2020) of the Cumbrian outreach initiative ‘God for All’, when ecumenical Mission Communities in Cumbria will have been established for four years and a second phase of impact can be assessed. Three outcomes were envisaged: 1) To provide denominational leaders with a basis on which to assess the impact that their decisions have made on ordained and lay ministers across Cumbia. 2) To encourage chaplains to assess how they engage and function with Mission Communities after identifying themselves and/or their colleagues in this study. 3) To be of practical use to those of the wider church who may be in the process of exploring similar changes. To this end, the thesis concludes with a clear set of recommendations to enable chaplains and Mission Communities to reconnect.
    • A Christian Case for Farmed Animal Welfare

      Adam, Margaret B.; Clough, David L.; Grumett, David; University of Chester; University of Chester; University of Edinburgh (MDPI, 2019-12-11)
      It is now common to blame Christianity for broader society’s general inattention to the needs and comfort of animals in general, and farmed animals in particular. This critique of Christianity claims that certain biblical themes and biblical passages form the foundation for an anti- animal position that Christianity has imposed on Christians and on wider Western society. This article concedes that Christianity has often been used to justify exploitation of animals, but argues that it is a mistake to consider Christianity inevitably opposed to concern for animals. After reviewing the views of critics such as Lynn White Jr., Peter Singer, and Tom Regan, the article demonstrates the complexity of interpreting biblical passages and the possibility of readings that affirm the importance of treating animals well. It shows that Christians have indeed been advocates animals, notably in relation to the first legislation against animal cruelty in the early nineteenth century and the formation of the RSPCA. Finally, it proposes a constructive framework for a Christian ethics of farmed animal welfare that could provide the basis for Christian action to reduce consumption of animals and shift to higher welfare sources.
    • Perception of Spirituality among Substance Addicts with Incarceration Experience: A Phenomenological Study

      Ceylan, İsa; Metcalf-White, Liam (Association for Spiritual Psychology and Counseling, 2019-10-15)
      This paper examines the role of spirituality in a recovery context by drawing on qualitative research conducted at a residential recovery community in North Wales, United Kingdom. The study aimed to examine perceptions of spirituality among exprisoners and people identifying as in recovery from addiction. The researchers explored ideas of “spiritual coping” and “spiritual wellbeing” in terms of meaning, purpose, connectedness, forgiveness, and peace in addiction treatment programs influenced by 12-Step models, for instance, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Also, this paper focuses on both spiritual counseling services shaped by pre-determined meanings and values and secondly, on individuals’ perceptions about spirituality through the language of desires, needs, and expectations. The data for this research produced from five semi-structured interviews with male individuals who had recovered from their addiction and had practised some custodial life. To discover the common context of different perceptions of the language spirituality, the data was coded by the first and second loop encodings from the data analysis methods used. The central schemes that appear as “Spirituality in Experiences, Spirituality in Values, Spirituality as Meaning/Purpose of Life, Spirituality as Attachment, Spirituality as Coping Mechanism” have been evaluated within the framework of the concept of spirituality. In the conclusion of this study, it was observed that spirituality was used as a coping mechanism for buffering the sensation of hopelessness and powerlessness often experienced by people in active addiction.
    • Rethinking our treatment of animals in light of Laudato Si’

      Clough, David L.; University of Chester (Routledge, 2019-09-19)
      The encyclical Laudato Si’ builds on and extends previous Roman Catholic church teaching on animals to affirm their value as beloved creatures of God and reject anthropocentric claims that they were created merely to provide for human needs. It draws on the Franciscan tradition to affirm other animals as our sisters and brothers, and notes that these relationships have implications for our treatment of animals. The encyclical fails to connect concern for other-than-human animals with critiques of industrial animal agriculture, however, which is an odd omission given its consideration of other practical issues such as the genetic manipulation of plant and animals, its express concern for biodiversity, and its call for an ecological conversion in the context of climate change. This chapter begins by surveying the valuable framework the encyclical sets up for understanding the place of animals in Christian theology and ethics. It then describes how we are using animals for food today. Finally, it makes the case that the encyclical’s framework demands obvious and urgent changes in the way we make use of other animals for food.
    • The Gift of Leaven: A new feminist theological praxis for urban church

      Dawson, Claire L (University of Chester, 2019-09)
      This thesis documents my research quest into the post-regeneration community of Bootle, North Liverpool. A Housing Market Renewal Initiative had decimated the area. As a Church of England minister, I was struggling to find signs of life and had no theological paradigm in which to situate my ministerial practice. My argument is that the current arborescent theology and practices of the Church of England have excluded the phronēsis of white working-class women and have failed to deliver a life-sustaining praxis for urban church. I argue for a reprioritisation of the poor and the inclusion of marginalised voices; allowing these voices to shape and define the academy as opposed to letting the academy shape which voices are to be heard. I came to this research holding a feminist and liberative theological standpoint: prioritising and privileging the voices of women and those on the margins. My research design adopts a feminist and narrative methodological framework in its quest to uncover the hidden phronēsis of the Bootle women. The transcripts of their lives are analysed using a thematic network analysis which generates three global themes: hope; placed and particular; and the death space. This thematic network is the main finding of my research quest and is the Gift of Leaven: the distilled phronēsis of the Bootle women. This research project is multidisciplinary. The Gift of Leaven is brought into conversation with voices from social science; public urban theology; feminist theology; and urban geography. Through a spiralling process of theological reflection the strands of a new feminist theological praxis for urban church are defined. What I produce in this thesis is a new feminist praxis for urban church from the underside of life and from voices that are notably absent from academia and ecclesiology. This new praxis is not a carefully-crafted mission action plan of how the Church should engage in urban life. What is offered instead is a new way of seeing and feeling the urban. This is situated within the lo cotidiano and objects of the ordinary and is revealed through fragments; it is new women’s knowledge coming to birth in women’s story and women’s song. It does not readily offer quick social or theological fixes to life’s fissures. It provides a way of flourishing and life from a different paradigm, and that paradigm is the phronēsis of the Bootle women. It is the women themselves who become the heralds of good tidings and the God bearers. They bring the Gift of Leaven for the whole community so that bread may be baked and the wounded body fed. The task is now to make space so their voices can be heard.
    • Introduction

      Dunn, Jonathan; Joziasse, Heleen; Patta, Raj Bharat; University of Chester; University of Manchester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019-08-24)
      This introduction explores how the volume addresses the challenges of living together after empire in many post-colonial cities. It explains how the first section focuses on efforts by people of multiple faiths to live together within their contexts, including such efforts within a neighbourhood in urban Manchester; the array of attempts at creating multi-faith spaces for worship across the globe; and initiatives to commemorate divisive conflict together in Northern Ireland. It outlines how the second section of the volume utilizes particular postcolonial methods to illuminate pressing issues within specific contexts—including women’s leadership in an indigenous denomination in the variegated African landscape, and baptism and discipleship among Dalit communities in India. In the context of growing multiculturalism in the West, this volume offers a postcolonial theological resource, challenging the epistemologies in the Western academy.
    • Remembering together: Commemoration in Northern Ireland

      Dunn, Jonathan; University of Chester; University of Manchester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019-08-24)
      This chapter addresses the challenge of remembering conflict together in the context of a society still divided by “legacy issues”. Its focus is on the particular challenges presented by efforts to commemorate the conflict in the author’s native Northern Ireland. In light of this series’ theme of ‘living together after empire’, the task of commemoration is re-imagined as ‘co-memoration’; a public remembering which has the potential at least to include all elements within society. The author explores the possibilities and challenges posed by re-imagining commemoration as co-memoration, drawing on the insights of public theology and his own experience of Christian ministry in the context to do so. Objections and motivations which have hitherto represented barriers to co-memoration are reconsidered in light of historian Michael Ignatieff’s concept of ‘keeping faith with dead’. In doing so the author suggests that these deep-seated commitments, which have long been viewed in terms of assumed allegiances to national identities, must be understood as primarily personal loyalties owed to family, friends and community. The chapter then moves to assess the possibilities for co-memoration within Protestant places of worship in Northern Ireland, by considering issues which arise from the interaction of the personal and communal loyalties with physical symbols and liturgical practices. The conclusion considers the possibilities and challenges ahead and suggests the shape of the further research which is required in this area.