Thought for the Month: ‘Fixing the Roof ‘

August 19, 2014 2:56 pm Published by

 Fixing the Roof

Anyone who has lived in this village for any time would have seen from time to time, thatched roofs of old cottages receiving repair or even complete renewal. It’s the price one has to pay to live in a lovely old cottage.

However, much younger roofs need repair too, as I can testify in our house and so have my next-door neighbours. As they say, it’s a good idea to fix the roof in fair weather, though in our case we purchased our house in February, and the roof had three quite substantial leaks, so we had to fix it at once.Customized Inflatables

Life is full of demands to ‘fix the roof’ in many spheres, and our Christian faith is one of them. Do we keep our Christian faith in working order? We have daily challenges to our faith, and one of them is the problem of evil. This is very acute at this present time. The tragic loss of two planes, MH370 and MH317, the suffering and violence in Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Egypt, and Nigeria, to say nothing of the fighting in Ukraine and the Ebola virus in West Africa is making this year a veritable annus horribilis, and it brings into sharp focus the perennial question:can we believe in the existence of a God that is all-powerful, all-good, all-knowing while evil exists?

Some years ago I went on a 10-week Cambridge course on the subject of The Problem of Evil, and the lecturer said bluntly that this was the most difficult problem that theologians had to face. There are answers, or at least partial ones, but in the end, like faith itself, we have to make a judgement. If there is no absolute logical solution to this problem, for it is a logical problem, then is it worth trying to find the answer? I think it is.

Some people may well have such faith in God that such questions do not trouble them. But they should beware. We can be caught out unprepared, and before we know it, we give up on God. Often this can be through personal tragedy or suffering. This autumn there are two courses which deal with this problem, one is the last session of the five-week course, Transforming Communities on Monday evenings at All Saints Church Hall, and details are to be found elsewhere in this Bulletin.

The other is a Belief Autumn Course, Received in Good Faith. This public theology course sets out to give a defence of Christianity against perceived objections from science, morality and secularism. Professional lecturers will bring theological insights and sound leaning to bear in a course which promises substantial answers to big questions:

Why is faith in God not just a delusion?

Why is the Bible not “just another book”?

How credible is God amid suffering and evil?

What truth is there beyond science?

What is the role for the sacred in the world today?

Speakers include Bishop Stephen Venner (former Bishop to the Armed Forces and Bishop to the Falkland Islands); The Revd Dr Andrew Davison (Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences at Cambridge University); The Revd Dr David Munchin (Rector for the Welwyn Team Ministry) and a speaker from the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.

The five week course is open to all who have questions about Christian faith in the modern world and is held on Wednesday evenings throughout October at St Andrews Church Centre, Kimbolton Road, Bedford, beginning on Wednesday 1 October at 8pm. A donation of £3 is welcomed at the door.

I would commend these courses to anyone who have questions about these topics.

Christopher Dawe

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