Here’s something to make the heart sing - particularly the two books recommended under Theology in the reading-list:
Strangely, your link took me to an article ‘How to succeed at Eton’ for which one needs a Times subscription to read more than the first paragraph or two. Having aroused my interest, I’d love to know the titles you found so interesting.
Sorry about that. I thought the link would work for anybody, whether they had a Times subscription or not. Here’s a potted version of the relevant part of the article:
Eton’s list: How many have you read?
The books every bright 16-year-old should read
Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
Atonement, Ian McEwan
Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe
Sophie’s World, Jostein Gaarder
Rethinking Life and Death, Peter Singer
The Case for Religion, Keith Ward
The Sea of Faith, Don Cupitt
History of art
Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling, Ross King
The Story of Art, Ernst Gombrich
© Tony Little 2015. Taken from An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Education, published by Bloomsbury on July 16 and available from the Times Bookshop for £14.99 (RRP £16.99), free p&p, on 0845 2712134;timesbooks.co.uk
I find it very encouraging that the two books chosen by the outgoing headmaster of this country’s most famous school as his recommended theological reading for intelligent 16-year-olds are books by Keith Ward and Don Cupitt. I think this takes us one big step further along the road that will eventually lead to the acceptance and recognition of progressive Christianity as orthodox Christianity.
Thanks Fred. I’d agree, it comes as a pleasant surprise to see his choice though I’m probably less hopeful about what it portends than you are. Yet the change if it ever comes could be quite quick, in the way that paradigms flip quite suddenly. I am always being surprised how much more radical Christians are in private conversation than you hear in public. You’ll almost never hear a progressive Christian voice on the BBC. This makes me think that by the time progressive Christianity starts to get traction in the media, there will already by quite a head of steam for a progressive approach among the grass roots
I agree with you that existing Christians are sometimes surprisingly radical. However, existing Christians are not the problem. The problem is intelligent, civilised, humane opinion-formers such as Matthew Parris, Philip Collins and Stephen Fry who have dumped God in the same rubbish-bin as the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas. It seems to me that if they hear an outgoing head of Eton telling them that they’ve got it wrong, we may be in with a chance. Still I hear what you say and I’ll not be holding my breath.
Although this is quite an old thread, the underlying theme is worth reviving. In essence, is contemporary education driving a ‘paradigm shift’ from orthodox to progressive Christianity?
I see very little evidence of this ‘shift’ in practice. For instance, the local parish churches still widely organise evangelical ‘Alpha’ courses and show little awareness or welcome for progressive alternatives.
This opens out a wider question.
Is an alternative education using a progressive curriculum really appropriate? If we are drawn towards orthopraxis rather than orthodoxy, perhaps a ‘hands-on’ version of the social gospel is more appropriate than theoretical educational courses. In other words, could people become interested in PCN because of what we DO, rather than what we BELIEVE?