(How) does God matter to you?

From cheers to jeers to plain old ‘meh’, everyone seems to have some kind of view or question about God. What’s yours?

The German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose faith led him to resist the Nazis, and who paid for it with his life, once said: “May we always live aware that God is near and present with us.”

For some that’s very true. For others it may make little or no sense. In any case, which God are we talking about? The name of God is evoked in praise and as a curse. To bring life and to destroy it. For Christians, what difference does it make to talk of the God of Jesus, for instance?

Whatever comments or questions you have about “God matters” – whether you’re reading this as a believer or sceptic, religious or not, we’d like to hear from you.

CLiC aims to put on events and discussions which respond to the real concerns and questions that people have about God, faith and (not least) Christianity in a diverse world.

We need your input for that – though please, keep comments, however passionate, polite and respectful to others.

We look forward to hearing from you – just add your response below.

Meanwhile, here’s a few more pithy responses to “God matters” from Bonhoeffer:

* Our relationship to God is a new life in “being there for others,” through participation in the being of Jesus.

* We should find God in what we know, not in what we do not know.

* God is the centre of life and doesn’t just “turn up” when we have unsolved problems to be solved.

* God is near to lowliness – in loving the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak, and the broken.

CLiC’s own God Matters course starts on 24 October 2012. 

Posted in God Matters, Questions | 1 Comment

Exploring ‘the New Monasticism’

CLiC is delighted to announce an evening event on Sunday 11 November 2012. Full details below.

In recent years many people in different countries, denominations and faith communities have begun to feel a growing desire to learn something of the wisdom of the historic disciplines of the monastic tradition.

Alongside long-established dispersed orders such as the Third Order Franciscans and the Iona Community and the more recent Northumbria Community and Community of Aidan and Hilda, local Christians here in Edinburgh are beginning to explore the rich discipleship resources of the Rule of St Benedict, as well as ideas emerging from new communities across the UK and beyond.

Writers such as Shane Claibourne (Irresistible Revolution, Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals) show how the new monastic movement is tapping into a desire to go further and deeper in the Christian life in a way that crosses all denominational barriers, and draws on the best, most enduring and most life-giving of our Christian spiritualities and traditions.

Please come along to join in the discussion about the roots of this new movement and its expression in Edinburgh and beyond.

With Andrew Bain and Elspeth Strachan

Sunday 11 November
7pm – 9pm
Emmaus House, 14 Gilmore Place, Edinburgh

To express interest, write to: Elspeth Strachan

Posted in New Monasticism, Programme 2012 | 1 Comment

CLiC launches with wine, food and a song

Many thanks to all who came along to the ‘First Supper’ yesterday (Sunday 7 October) to celebrate the launch of the Centre for Living Christianity in Edinburgh.

Over 50 people turned up to hear about CLiC, meet one another, enjoy some food and wine provided by Hendersons Cafe, and even to have a bit of a sing – as you can see and hear.

Donald Reid from St John’s introduced the ideas behind the new Centre and its future possibilities as well as the team behind it. He stressed that CLiC is for those inside and outside the church, those “clinging on by their fingernails”, and enquirers everywhere. It’s about shared exploration, not labels.

More to follow here on what CLiC is planning, and on the banner and “God matters” invitation to be unveiled later today…

Posted in Launch, News | Leave a comment

Your invitation to the First Supper!

The new Centre for Living Christianity, dubbed CLiC for short, is starting up in Edinburgh this weekend with an informal social event reflecting its “relaxed but thoughtful” approach to exploring religious faith in a sceptical age.

CLiC’s ‘First Supper’, from 7 to 8.30 pm on Sunday October 7, takes place at Henderson’s Café at St John’s Church, located at the corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road, in the heart of the Scottish capital.

There will be food and refreshments, plus an opportunity to hear about the vision and plans for the new initiative, which describes itself as “exploring faith at the crossroads.”

The full CLiC programme can be viewed and downloaded on the Centre’s new website.

The ‘First Supper’ at 7pm on Sunday 7 October is open to all. There will be a charge of £5 to help cover costs.

Those planning to attend are asked to drop a note to: Donald Reid

Posted in Programme 2012 | 1 Comment

Announcing CLiC

The Centre for Living Christianity is beginning operations this weekend, with the First Supper social event at Hendersons Cafe at St John’s.

It has also been publicised here on AllMediaScotland.

CLiC will have its main base at St John’s, a high-profile church in Edinburgh which has also been the venue for the annual Festival of Spirituality and Peace for the past twelve years.

The venture has been founded by a range of organisations, including Edinburgh City Centre Churches Together, the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia, the Cornerstone Bookshop, and the Episcopal Diocese of Edinburgh’s Adventures in Faith programme, alongside St John’s.

CLiC is open to people of all backgrounds and traditions, its organisers stress. Its low-cost events will run from a number of locations and will involve socialising and reflection, as well as thinking, discussion and exploration.

The Centre for Living Christianity aims to take traditional faith very seriously, but in an open and engaging way that recognises the fears and doubts many people have about “organised religion” and unthinking dogmatism.

“CLiC is for those interested in exploring how to live out Christianity in the modern world, in a way which is thoughtful and faithful,” says the Rev Donald Reid. “It is about how to understand Christianity from the margins of a society which is both diversely spiritual and secular.”

Posted in Launch, Media | Leave a comment

Faith in Film

A discussion of issues of faith and life explored through film – either DVD or cinema.

Dates to be arranged.

Cost £5.

To express interest, please email: Donald Reid

Posted in Faith and Film, Programme 2012 | 1 Comment

Moving beyond ‘organised religion’

New date being negotiated.

Many people today feel an instant disconnect or disinterest in ‘institutional’ or ‘organised’ religion. There is a sense abroad that faith, not least Christian faith, has been turned into a self-perpetuating bureaucracy which operates out of self-interest, refuses difficult questions, and suppresses alternatives. This afternoon event revolves around the new and experimental shapes Christianity might take in a world where ‘top-down religion’ (along with ‘top-down economics’ and ‘top-down politics’) appears to be in crisis.

1  A new world coming: the shift from Christendom to post-Christendom. What happens next when Christian institutions, beliefs and behaviours become suspect and unapproachable for a growing number of people?

2  Radical traditions: looking at the history and promise of faithful dissent within Christianity, yesterday and today. How can we adapt to the subversive way of Jesus in a conformist church and world?

3  The church as a movement for change: Can we break free of institutionalisation, and redo our structures according to a vision of hope in a broken world? Can we hold inherited and emerging church in creative tension?

Cost: donation of £5 suggested.

To express interest or confirm attendance, please email: Simon Barrow

Posted in Disorganised Religion, Future Church, Programme 2012 | 2 Comments