Franks Letter 28th Oct 2012

Fifty years ago in March 1963 Bishop John Robinson published his little book “Honest to God”.(SCM Press) He was surprised by the publicity it received but not by the furore it raised in ecclesiastical circles. In his book Robinson questioned whether in our modern age we can accept any longer the traditional ‘supernatural’ ways we have thought about ‘God’ . He wrote “What I have tried to say in a tentative and exploratory was may seem to be radical and doubtless to many heretical. The one thing of which I am fairly sure is that in retrospect it will seem to have erred in not being nearly radical enough “ (We now have fifty years retrospect. Was he right ?) He confesses “ I am well aware that much of what I shall seek to say will be seriously misunderstood and will doubtless deserve to be. Yet I am impelled to the point where I can do no other. I do not pretend to know the answers in advance . It is much more a matter of sensing certain things on the pulses, of groping forward, almost of being pushed from behind. All I can do is try to be honest- honest to God and about God- and to follow the argument wherever it leads” An increasing number of people- in and beyond the churches, in and beyond PCN- will recognise this description of his pilgrimage as their own. Certainly the preface to his book would seem quite at home in the pages of ‘Progressive Voices” now. This is a book to read again. I would be delighted for us to study it if we could put it in our programmes sometime in the next month or two. We meet this coming Saturday. Eric will not be able to be with us so we shall postpone our original theme (What do we expect of PCN worship?) I suggest we take up the question prompted by Mark Townsend’s visit, and, I understand , his book. “ Is ‘evangelism’ part of our Christian calling? If so, what do we understand by it? What are our experiences of receiving or doing it? Is it a presumtuous activity, can it be damaging to people? We know that Jesus is good news for people like us, - how do we share him ? Look forward to meeting on Saturday again Frank G.

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