In Depth Meets

The In Depth Group met on July 14 2009. The discussion was after the paper on J. A. T. RobinsonClick to read the paper and included his rejection of Thomism.
One member remarked with some passion that John Robinson's Honest to God (1963) had impact but no real effect, and thus left nothing to tell people outside the Church that people inside think sensibly. One said it had impact in its day, but none since and had melted away. The simple straightforward view that 'God is love' - said one - is what Robinson was trying to say.
One though rejected a "conspiracy theory of preaching" that was being suggested, as if the elite do not want people to hear content differently. But I wanted to defend this view, and oppose the suggestion that the faith of the Church is collective and not for individuals. I said preaching is supposed to be about truth, and whilst others may hold other views (of course) nevetheless preaching should be authentic. If I was preaching I would want to say something like, "This is my view, and this is the other view, and you can hold that, but I do think this." This is better, I suggested, than the skilful use of language in preaching that appears to mean one thing and actually means another.
The point was queried whether Robinson ever properly presented the Thomist position, that he so opposed, in that the 'out there' was something of an Aunt Sally. rather, the philosophical-theological tradition has a mystery of interconnections. I thought this a significant comment, but pointed out that still Robinson wanted to present God's love shown in weakness at the cross, a panentheism about the biblical narrative rather than an omnipotent God as a scheme.
My main point was Robinson's inability to protect the uniqueness of Jesus; one participant said he'd said before that there is nothing special about Jesus. The Eucharist is just taken. I said in my case it started with the curate giving promises I could not keep, and a crack was there and then it just cracked through. But another doesn't have such agonies despite handling of criticism. He did, though, think this a fairly unique group running for some 15 years now. He would like to think there were groups like it up and down the land, but rather doubts it.


Adrian Worsfold

Pluralist - Liberal and Thoughtful