Unexpanded notes from our meeting on Monday 3 July 2017

Present: Richard, Gareth , Norman, Christine, Brian M, Brian P, Nigel, Jan, John, Julie, Ruth, Liz, Julia. Apologies: Pat, Michael, Kerstin

What was achieved by the General Election?
Government with constraints, partnerships, different atmosphere. Some chinks of hope but changes in equality and diversity not in prospect. An election of personalities. Manifesto of labour party will remain, others will not. Presidential style of election processes: most agree that this is not what is needed. Democratic style of leadership required. Inter-party discussions? Coalitions are difficult to handle; formal alliances make this problematic. Supply and confidence. Northern Ireland uncertainty and disruption, security issues. Involvement of younger voters. No clear leadership by Corbyn at referendum.

Grenfell Tower
Future for the families. Fault in local government structure. Weak health and safety culture. Emergency response. Narrow focus of inquiry in comparison with Hillsborough. Danger of treating people as expendable? New Orleans flood comparison. Emergency services do their jobs because they care. Context of the fire, prayers in churches and how are these reconciled. Response of local religious organisations.

Discussion in future on prayer please.

Discussion of Alistair McGrath’s “A fine tuned universe”.
Science and religion in the modern world. Late 1600s Boyle lectures founded. Currently utilitarian teaching style? Tensions in society. Conventional believer? Trinitarian. Powerful personality has dominated thinking for some time. Academic discussions have not percolated to the pew. Some things beyond our comprehension. Trinitarian / Natural Theology trying to see in nature something of the nature of God, revelatory theology. Assumes Trinitarian view of the world. Does he document his journey within faith? Conversion also not documented. Influence of Northern Ireland background? Faith commitment in a conventional situation. Studied Theology alongside PhD in science, has closed off some areas of questioning. Wrote ”The Dawkins delusion”. Takes Bible as definitive; some theological backwaters. Atheist who became Christian at Oxford University. (Martin Reese “Just 6 Numbers”)

Journey from evangelical to PCN needs to be recorded. “Heresy” defined by those in power natural theology bridges the gap, behind the universe is a systematic thought, where did this come from? Is this a universal value? Human values, truth, beauty etc. Development of thinking in1970s and Christian understanding grew at this time.

Connection between “me” and the universe; where is God in this? What do his terms mean? What does he say about god? Paradox that intellectual rigour not applied to theology. John Polkinhorn similar but not evangelical. Separating science from religion? Another writer with more liberal theology Arthur Peacock. Is Martin Reese accessible? Keith Wall? Francis Collins DNA sequencing there because of God: not chance. God is there but leaves to chance what happens. “The Selfish Genius” by Fern Elsdon Baker recommended, explores Dawkins.

What does it mean to explore God and Science? How can our understanding of God speak to events such as Grenfell Tower? Can conclusions be draw? Michael rewrote Lord’s Prayer using love in place of God. Is love to do with human activity and how does this relate to God? Faith of many prays for intervention. Harry Williams view of God emotional; how was Polkinhorn influenced by this?

Request from Norman to devote a meeting to a discussion of prayer.

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