Questions, Beliefs and Doubts (QBD)
Our next series of six fortnightly meetings begins at 7.30 pm on Monday, June 12 2017 for just over an hour in the Side Room 1 at Stratford Methodist Church. Other dates are 26 June, 10, 24 July, 7, 21 August.
Sessions will be led by Rev’d Ros Murphy based on the book ‘Leaving Alexandria – a memoir of Faith and Doubt’ written by Rt. Rev’d Richard Holloway, a former Bishop of Edinburgh.
I shall try to produce, and e-mail where possible, summaries for the chapters we read to prepare for each session, so if you don’t buy the book, you will at least know something for each discussion.
If members wish to buy their own copy, Currently on sale at: £6.78 paperback, £17.60 Hardback, available from here. If you are a questioner, you will be very welcome for one or more sessions.
Our meetings are gentle explorations of people’s questions, usually drawing on the ideas of current questioning writers, but they are not academic seminars.
A group of people interested in exploring biblical and doctrinal issues has been meeting at Stratford Methodist Church since April 2016. We run fortnightly for five or six sessions and then have a break before starting a new series.
Twenty-three different people, mostly Methodists, but now including people from other denominations or none, as the word gets around, have attended at least one session. Some have decided that this is not for them, whereas for others, it is a welcome opportunity to explore questions, which have arisen for them, sometimes many years ago.
A similar group in Birmingham calls itself Heretics Anonymous because they have been considered to be heretical, lacking in faith for wishing to ask questions, so, in the past, they have kept their questions to themselves, often feeling somehow inadequate or insincere. There is for some a great sense of relief in finding that they are not alone in asking questions and rather than faith being decreased, it is actually deepened as they explore.
For many, the questions concern the issue of biblical inerrancy. Should we regard as literally having happened, everything, which we read in the Bible? What about seeming contradictions? What about scholarly discoveries regarding more recently discovered documents, or differences in translations? What do these stories imply for us today, in the way we live, our values, priorities, concern for others?
There is an increasing variety of books and sometimes DVD’s which help us to explore. We have considered such issues as what the Bible actually contains, Nativity and Easter stories, what Son of God might mean, watched a video of Bishop Spong explaining how questioning deepens rather than destroys faith. There are plenty more questions! The important issue is that this sharing of discussion helps us better to live out the faith to which we are deeply committed.