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Dr. John Hughes "jmdh3" (Exeter UK)

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Why Sacraments?
Why Sacraments?
by Andrew Davison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent theological introduction to the sacraments, 4 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Why Sacraments? (Paperback)
Why Sacraments began life as a lecture course for ordinands and this is evident from its easy and enjoyable style - breezy, learned, pastoral and witty. This is a theological introduction to the sacraments which both illuminates them by and uses them to illuminate the key themes of the Christian faith. The theology is, as we would expect from Davison, confident and humane, Anglicano-Thomist and ecumenical, taking no prisoners, and with at times a limpidity of doctrinal exposition to stand with Eric Mascall at his best!

For the Parish: A Critique of Fresh Expressions
For the Parish: A Critique of Fresh Expressions
by Andrew Davison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.53

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the Parish - Recovering a confident and open, Anglican Catholic ecclesiology, 20 Feb. 2011
This book is an extraordinary and exciting intervention, which may well have succeeded in beginning to turn a very dangerous tide that had previously threatened to engulf the Church of England.

The Mission Shaped Church Report and everything that has followed it may well have been a well-intentioned response to the evangelistic complacency and lack of imagination in much of the Church of England. However it contained some remarkably disturbing theological gaps, born of a strange alliance of the evangelical desire for conversion and the liberal dilution of Christian distinctiveness. This combination issued in a dangerously uncritical enthusiasm for 'postmodernity' and a dismissive contempt for the entirety of Christian tradition. There may well be some brilliant examples of 'fresh expressions', just as there are now internal critiques within the fresh expressions movement which are not so dismissive of the parish (as Davison and Milbank recognise). Yet this does not detract from the fact that in the last few years this report has become a Shibboleth of orthodoxy in many parts of the Church of England and has had a very damaging effect on the morale of the parochial clergy. It looked, for a moment, as if the Church of England was in serious danger of abandoning any serious ecclesiology. 'For the Parish' may be sharp in its criticism at times, but this is precisely what was needed. A more cautious response would not have been the page-turner that this is, nor would it have achieved such a broad and sympathetic response from Evangelical as well as Catholic Anglicans, our ecumenical partners, and even from many within the Fresh Expressions movement.

The first three chapters provide an excellent philosophical and theological rationale for the critique, coming out of the Radical Orthodoxy tradition, but representative of the much wider post-Liberal return to the Church in the best theology of the last thirty years. Chapters four and five offer a critique of postmodernity which is not simply nostalgic but genuinely radical (those who think capitalism has all the answers will find this challenging). Of course it is true that parish churches are not immune from the effects of these cultural shifts, as some reviewers point out; but it is Davison and Milbank's claim that at least they do not abandon any resources for resistance and capitulate to an uncritical celebration of the consumerist culture individualism, choice, etc.
The remaining chapters seek to set forth a positive vision of mission in the parish, building on examples of the vitality of traditional forms of Church life, and the potential of these forms for renewal and mission.

Predictably, there has been some metropolitan scoffing at what is seen as a rural or Romantic view of the parish here (morris dancing coming in for particular criticism), yet the authors speak positively of the Church engaging with Goth culture, football, Muslim neighbours, contemporary RS syllabuses, the internet and mass media, in ways which resist this caricature of their agenda. Their point is just that all these imaginative experiments in mission are laudable, providing they are linked into, rather than taken as substitutes for the Church and Gospel of Jesus Christ. What we have in the end here is one of the most exciting expressions of a properly Catholic Anglican ecclesiology and missiology that I can recall seeing, one which neither retreats into a ghetto, nor uncritically embraces everything in contemporary culture, but which rather looks for the transformation of culture through grace.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 22, 2011 9:31 AM GMT

Treacherous Bonds and Laughing Fire: Politics and Religion in Wagner's Ring
Treacherous Bonds and Laughing Fire: Politics and Religion in Wagner's Ring
by Mark Berry
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £95.00

7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More exciting than an evening with Tamsin in the Crown Plaza, 26 Mar. 2006
<<It's ok.>>
This would be the view of Prof Klinowski had he had time to read this magnus opus et arduum. Ben says it's better than the Apprentice.
Good title. Very good cover. Excellent acknowledgements. As always, Dr Berry never ceases to surprise, entertain, illuminate and educate. Newsletta chick says it all. The blood of the philistines should be running cold.

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