Permission to Speak is the ministry of retired Christian minister, John Churcher. It is an exploration of an emerging understanding of spirituality and of the sacred freed from the old ideas of an exclusive supernatural 'god Being' somewhere 'out there'.
Permission to Speak is pushing the boundaries of belief in an attempt to make the Jesus message more relevant in today's fast changing and increasingly secular world.
Although the starting point is that Jesus of Nazareth is a gateway into the sacred, Permission to Speak respects and honours those who have found other gateways. The past in different faith traditions is important in understanding how we have arrived at the present, but Permission to Speak is more concerned with living in today's world than with tradition.
As membership of traditional, institutional churches continues in free fall, the time has come to stop preserving the ancient understanding of an
interventionist god that will one day right all that is wrong with
life - all the desolation of war and the exploitation of the poor
majority by the powerful, rich minority; all the injustice and
inhumanity that exists across the world; all the illnesses and tragedies that happen to many people. "God has given us free will" and "be patient for the day of God's wrath and judgement will come" are cop outs from reality.
We each pass this way once and we have responsibilities to ourselves, to our families, to our neighbours [no matter who or where they are] and to the planet, our only and shared home in a vast and developing universe.
However, there is a sacred bond that unites us all and Permission to Speak explores that which may be 'sacred' today. In the experiences of an increasing number of people, sacred has become all that needs to be
preserved and encouraged to make humanity whole.
The following list describes the sacred qualities that can be found in the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. These are included in Gretta Vosper's book 'With or Without God', "I am deeply
aware that, should we lose even one of these things, the world would
be a very different place: hope, peace, joy, innocence, delight,
forgiveness, caring, love, respect, wisdom, honour, creativity,
tranquillity, beauty, imagination, humour, awe, truth, purity,
justice, courage, fun, compassion, challenge, knowledge, daring,
artistry, wonder, strength, and trustworthiness." [p.32]
Change will happen but it will not be through words of traditional belief. It will come through people of good will acting together to challenge injustice and inequality, seeking a wholeness for both this planet and all humanity. The future of religion cannot be guaranteed but unless there is compassion and serving those in need then religion in an increasingly secular world will become little more than a relic of the past, a museum piece.
The Christian Church has a positive and healthy future, but only if it starts afresh in its explanations of the god experiences that we meet in Jesus of Nazareth.
Through Permission to Speak you may find support for your own spiritual development in these uncertain, fast-changing times. For more information or to make comment, email: firstname.lastname@example.org