12th October 2022

Those of us who’ve been offering our ‘Thoughts’ for quite some time have just been asked if we wish to continue sharing in this way, a chance to bow out graciously before the next rota is drawn up. Personally, I have found most fascinating what other contributors have offered; long may this venture continue. As someone has pointed out, no-one really knows who these thoughts of ours reach, and who they might influence for good and the Gospel in the great scheme of things.

If people didn’t share their thoughts in books, sermons, conversations, where would we be now? Back in some dark age, no doubt. Recently I’ve been reading two books which are challenging me to re-examine my theology. Both are by Anglican priest G. A. Studdert Kennedy, dubbed ‘Woodbine Willy’ by ‘Tommies’ in the WWI trenches. A strange choice of author, you might think. The first is called simply ‘Lies’, a series of hard-hitting chapters on popular myths, and their relation to faith.

The second is ‘The Wicket Gate’ – the title a reference to Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ – which is a step-by-step journey through the Lord’s Prayer, in which Studdert Kennedy rails against clever theologians who do nothing but play with words. He quotes one, Miguel de Unamuno: “There are people who only think with their brains… while others think with all the body and the soul, with the blood, with the marrow of the bones, with the heart, with the lungs, with the belly, with the life. The people who think only with the brain become definition-mongers”. Let’s continue to give our ‘Thoughts’ all we’ve got!

David Bell