Living as Christians in a complex world

22 August 2021

Home group study sessions for autumn 2021

Dear Friends

When we met in July, I offered some Home Group sessional notes on a number of topical issues under the heading  “Living as Christians in a Complex World.”   I promised to let you have the first couple of sets of notes during August, and these are now attached.

There are a few points to note:

The series will cover 7 sessions altogether;  I am offering them to use as you see fit. Some of the sessions cover quite difficult and sensitive issues, but are all designed to stimulate discussion on the kinds of considerations which Christians might bear in mind when taking a view about the issue.   They are not intended to tell people how they ought to think.

The series will work best when full use is made of the accompanying videos.  Each session is accompanied by a video exploring some of the key issues.   We are used to viewing services on the All Saints You Tube channel, so this series works in exactly the same way.  Simply click on the link shown and you will be taken to the relevant video.  When showing a video you may be happy to show it on a laptop or computer screen, but you will get a better result if you connect up to a larger TV monitor using an HDMI cable.

The series covers the following issues:

Session 1: An introduction, in which Bishop David Atkinson asks questions about how our lives measure up to what we believe, and how we show this in our behaviours.   That is followed by some questions for group discussion around things such as the factors which shape our beliefs and values, the balance between privacy, freedom and security, the role of media and - specifically - what difference our faith makes to the way we run our lives.  You probably won’t want to run all these questions, but might prefer to stick to a couple of them.

Study notes for Session 1

YouTube video link:

Session 2: An issue which is sure to be topical when we move into the Autumn - namely, to what extent should we obey those who rule over us?    For this one, I have recorded an interview with Revd Helen Burnett who was arrested during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration a couple of years ago.

Study notes for session 2

YouTube video link:

Session 3: Exploring some of the issues around Assisted Suicide - something else that will arise in the Autumn when the House of Lords debates Assisted Dying.  I have recorded a think-piece on that and asked a number of questions to illustrate some of the issues we need to consider when taking a view as Christians about this important issue.

Study notes for session 3

YouTube video link:

Session 4: “Justice and Peace” - a session in which we ask ourselves how we react when facing a situation of war.  Bishop David has recorded a helpful video to take us through some tricky questions on our views about war.  Given that 1 million people marched against war in Iraq, I should be very surprised if we don’t have to think again about where we stand on these issues very soon.  And decisions will soon have to be made on the future of our nuclear capability.

Study notes for session 4

Youtube video link:

Session 5: This will be aimed at helping us in our thoughts and prayers as the major Climate Change Conference (COP26) gets underway in November.  This is about environmental issues and “Green Religion”.

Bishop David Atkinson discusses climate change in this audio file:

Study notes for session 5

YouTube video link:

Session 6: “Social Justice”.  Archdeacon Rosemarie Mallett has agreed to participate in a video on this subject and I will be recording it next month.

Study notes for session 6

YouTube video link:

Session 7: Will cover the use and misuse of “Power” - in government, business, family and church.

YouTube video link:

Study notes for session 7 on Power

I do hope you find them helpful and that they lead to some lively, stimulating conversations. They are all highly relevant and raised ethical issues which we cannot avoid. There may be other topics your groups may like to discuss in the future - in which case, please let me know and we will do our best to cover them.

With kind regards and best wishes

Jeremy Groombridge

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