20 May 2015

Our Christian Faith

Our Christian Faith  edited by Dr Brian Hick,
published by Larkpress,  2015.
Price: £8.00 + £1.00 P&P 
Details from Catherine Fozard [cathy@fozard.com] U.C.A.

“What is it that is deep within me that I cannot understand?
It is Love, Holy Spirit, dearest God!”

This book is a collection of twenty eight essays and two poems written by members of the Unitarian Christian Association, some of whom are also members of the Fellowship of Non-Subscribing Christians.  The project was originally launched for the UCA by the Reverend Bob Pounder and the editorship continued by Dr Brian Hick.  It is a well presented small volume, a stimulating read full of interest and wisdom, all for the  modest price of £8.00.  But be aware of the weakness of the“perfect binding” of the shiny card-thick pages - my month old copy is already showing signs of disjointed wear and tear.

The twenty eight authors include a bundle of ministers, a clutch of Lay Preachers, a basketful of members from gathered congregations and one Non-Subscribing Christian who has never knowingly met another Unitarian - of any persuasion - face to face.  Twenty eight pieces, each unique in its narrative, detail and interpretation, make for a multi layered work with poignant personal accounts interleaved with a more general survey of our Christian faith.  For example:  personal Faith - “I feel in my faith to occupy a narrow middle ground,…a place of vital significance, dearly won”;  our Hope - “The most significant years of Liberal Christianity may be ahead of us”;  AgapĂ©, a loving acceptance -   “All that we share is greater than all that divides”;  Spiritual journeying - “I view faith as a journey and not as a destination - the journey continues and I do not know the destination.  But I hope and pray that God will continue to guide me and inspire me, along all my ways.”  

The result of this eclectic mix is a text fashioned a little like the web of a cack-footed spider.  As a web it could not be described as a miracle of classic arachnid design, but rather an agglomeration of strands - some long, some short, some dense, some delicate. But at its centre it is all wonderfully brought together like Eliot’s ‘still point of the turning world’ - that which is, for us, the living presence in our lives of a man called Jesus.  “[Jesus] … is saying that when you love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself, that when you live with love in your heart for all people because you know that all people are made by God and held by Him in His love, then the kingdom is right here and right now.”  It is this first century Rabi, whether he be God or man or myth, who is “the hero of our belief system”; who “has a potential to offer a Middle Way”; and is “the central figure of the Gospels’ esoteric texts which describe the spiritual journey of Everyman (and Everywoman)…” and in whose name “… the great Christian festivals witness to the Human Form Divine…”  This is the Man of God and the Son of Man, who is both our inspiration and at the heart of our heterogeneous Christian Faith.    

“… We shall always be trying … new beginnings, for until the hour of our death we are all beginners.”  We are, indeed, all beginners.  All our contributors have looked back to their own new beginnings and  reflected upon where they are now. But the journeys sustained by our Christian faith are never ended, the Circle is unbroken and our Dance continues.