Black Sheep and Prodigals

Religion poses many questions that have troubled theologians through the ages. “Is there a God?” “What is the nature of God?” “What is the Trinity all about?” “Why is there a sheep on a skateboard at the front of St Marks?” [1]

A partial answer to this last imponderable was that we had a well-attended talk last night (4th Feb.) from Dave Tomlinson, promoting his latest book, “Black Sheep and Prodigals”. As for the others, and similar questions, Dave’s main theme was concerned with avoiding black and white answers. Most of us do not experience the blinding light of revelation on the road to Damascus. At best we may experience an unreliable, intermittently flickering bulb, more often off than on. Indeed, it’s a good idea to be wary of those who purport to have all the answers. This instantly creates a divide: you can’t belong to our club unless you believe what we do.

Dave was at pains to stress that none of us have exclusive access to “The Truth”. We should encourage doubts and tolerate dissention, for that is how new insights may emerge.

We had forty minutes or so of these and many other thought provoking ideas, followed by an extensive question and answer session. I’m not going to deal with all the ideas here – buy the book, it’s the one we will be using for Lent discussions anyway!

Dave finished his talk by quoting my other favourite writer on religious topics, Karen Armstrong, “Jesus did not spend a great deal of time discoursing about the Trinity, or original sin…. He went around doing good and being compassionate.”

Or, to paraphrase Dave:- there is little point in asking what Jesus would do if he was around today – discover Jesus within yourself and act on it!

“Live passionately, believe sceptically, Love extravagantly”

 

Bob Shatwell 5th Feb 2018

 

 

[1] It’s to look as equally cool as the sheep with sunglasses, grazing nearby.

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