Learning in Lent 2020 Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Sundays 11.30-12.30pm ‘The Great Theologians’
The Christian religion has prompted some of the finest intellects in history to wrestle with fundamental human problems by exploring the nature of God revealed in the Scriptures. The results of their efforts have hugely influenced Christian belief and practice. Yet, faithful Christian often know relatively little about who they were and what they thought. This series of talks, with time for questions and comments seeks to fill that gap. March 1st Augustine of Hippo Augustine of Hippo (354–430 AD) was a Roman African, a Bishop, and one of the most important Church Fathers of the Latin Church. His theological writings are deep and voluminous, but he is most widely remembered for the intensely personal Confessions, that will be the focus of this session. Presenter: Dr James Eglinton, Meldrum Lecturer in Reformed Theology,University of Edinburgh March 8th Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (1225 –1274) was an Italian Dominican friar and priest. As one of Christianity’s greatest theologians and philosophers, both support or opposition to his ideas shaped much modern philosophy and theology. The Catholic Church honours him as the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood. Presenter: Fr John O’Connor OP, St Albert’s Priory, Edinburgh March 15th Martin Luther Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a key figure in the Protestant Reformation. The Ninety-Five Theses he formulated for debate sparked an intense dispute that led to Luther’s excommunication and break with Rome. The underlying theological issues are still crucial to Christian belief and practice. Presenter: Professor Susan Hardman-Moore, Professor of Early Modern Religion and Principal of New College University of Edinburgh March 22nd John Calvin John Calvin (1509-64) broke with the Roman Catholic Church and became a major contributor to Reformed theology. Through John Knox, he came to have an immense influence on the development of Christianity in Scotland. In addition to his Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin wrote commentaries on almost every book in the Bible. Presenter: Professor David Fergusson, Professor of Divinity, University of Edinburgh March 29th Friedrich Schleiermacher Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768 –1834) was founding Professor of Theology at the University of Berlin. A celebrated professor and preacher, his effect on subsequent Christian thought was so profound that he came to be regarded as the "Father of Modern Liberal Theology". Presenter: Dr Ulrich Schmiedel, Lecturer in Theology, Politics and Ethics, University of Edinburgh
Tuesdays 10.30-12noon ‘Practicing Prayer’
Do you sometimes find it hard to make time in your day to pray or to know how? Is this Lent the time to try something different, something new, something out of your comfort zone? ‘Practicing Prayer’ is an opportunity to come together to hear about and experience different ways of praying, with time for personal reflection. We will meet every Tuesday morning for 6 weeks. Each session will include an introduction, the opportunity to experience different ways of praying together, time for silent personal reflection using resources provided, and ending with coffee and conversation. Lenten material from the Ignatian Spirituality Centre will also be available to use alongside the sessions. 3 March Praying on our own (ways to reflect on the day, Journalling, Lectio Divina) 10 March Praying in Community (using SEC Daily Prayer and other resources) 17 March* Praying with Imagination and Story (Ignatian Imaginative Contemplation and Godly Play) 24 March* Praying through Art and Music (Using image and music as a focus for prayer) 31 March* Praying with silence (Julian of Norwich, Mindfulness and Christian meditation) 7 April * Prayer and the Eucharist (sharing together in communion and community) Revd Jane Green, Assistant Priest at Christ Church Places are limited to 12 for each session and the course is now full. *These sessions have been postponed until further notice
Wednesdays 7.30-9pm ‘Contemporary Moral Problems - searching for a Christian perspective’
The Gospels do not directly address any of the moral questions that so concern the contemporary world. Since sincere and faithful Christians can be found on all sides, it seems there is no ‘Christian’ position on these issues. So does Christianity have nothing to say about them? This series of talks with discussion will explore the competing arguments on both sides of five highly contended topics. The main aim will not be deciding who is right and who is wrong, but exploring the difference it might make to approach them as followers and disciples of Christ. March 4th Abortion The freedom of women to terminate unwanted pregnancy, and the protection of unborn children has deeply divided Christians, especially in the United States. This session will set out the competing Pro Choice and Pro Life arguments as dispassionately as possible, look at the implications of recent advances in medical technology, and reflect on the theological significance of birth. March 11th Euthanasia Many countries now permit individuals, under certain conditions, to end their own lives, usually with the assistance of others, a development that has been strenuously resisted by some Christians. This session will outline the important distinction between mercy killing and assisted suicide, and reflect on the theological significance of death. March 18th Same sex marriage For centuries, same sex relationships were hidden by those who engaged in them, punishable by law, and regarded with horror by society at large. In the developed world, all this has changed, but some Christians continue to have deep reservations. This session will focus on same sex marriage, reflecting especially on the theological significance of Christian marriage. March 25th War The 21st century looks set to rival the 20th century’s record as the most conflict ridden in history. Christian thinking about war has an ancient pedigree. The aim of this session is to assess how far the Christian tradition of Just War can be applied to modern warfare, and what those implications would be. April 1st Climate change Climate change is the ‘big’ issue of recent decades, involving complex scientific questions. This session will take a different approach to the topic of climate change, and ask whether in popular ‘environmentalism’, Christian faith encounters an ally or a rival.
Presenter: Revd Gordon Graham, Assistant Priest at Christ Church. Gordon Graham has taught courses on ethics at the University of St Andrews and Princeton Theological Seminary, and from 1995 to 2005 was Regius Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. His publications include Evil and Christian Ethics, Ethics and International Relations and Theories of Ethics.