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2017 Niblett Memorial Lecture: How to Speak of God?
- Course Dates: Sat 23 September 2017, 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
How to Speak of God? Challenges for the Churches in a World ‘Troubled’ by Religion.
Recent cases of the representation of religion in the British media suggest that the gulf of what is sometimes termed ‘religious literacy’ is widening.
Some of this can be explained by broader social trends which suggest that whilst religion is more publicly visible and newsworthy in Western societies than for several generations, there is still widespread discomfort and resistance towards those who ‘speak of God’ in public. This unprecedented, unanticipated, agonistic co-existence of religion and secularism is sometimes termed the ‘postsecular’, and is characterised by a world (and media content) that is simultaneously fascinated and troubled by religion. This lecture will consider the implications of the postsecular for the public witness of Christianity and its representatives.
Elaine Graham argues that everyone, from Church leaders to local activists and campaigners, may need to learn again how to ‘speak Christian’ in these contexts and that this is necessary as a way of finding theological justifications for their presence in the public square and to justify the very relevance of their faith to a culture that no longer grants religion automatic privilege or credence.
Professor Elaine Graham is Grosvenor Research Professor of Practical Theology at the University of Chester and Canon Theologian, Chester Cathedral. She is the author of many works in practical theology, including Transforming Practice (Mowbray, 1996) Words Made Flesh (SCM, 2009), What Makes a Good City? Public Theology and the Urban Church (DLT, 2009 with Stephen Lowe), and Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Public Theology in a Post-Secular Age (SCM, 2013).
Respondent, Peter Selby, was Bishop of Worcester and Bishop for Prisons. His latest book is An Idol Unmasked: A Faith Perspective on Money.