As many of you know, Lucy and I have just returned from a holiday in the United States and we have had a wonderful time. But one the things which struck me about the US (and this will not come as a great surprise to anyone) is how polarised political opinion is there. Of course, we face the same issue here, particularly over Brexit. When opinion is polarised and the ‘culture wars’ begin, it’s difficult to have a measured and sensible discussion on any sensitive subject. Issues of faith and morality are often the most sensitive of sensitive issues. The question is how can we (in the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury) ‘disagree well?’ For me, the answer lies in the approach that we take to how we debate issues. When we come across a really good example of good and courteous debate on very sensitive issues, it is so remarkable that I think it is worth bringing to the attention of others and this is what I am hoping to do here.
Justin Brierley of Premier Radio brings together Christian and Non-Christian speakers to debate very sensitive issues in his weekly show called ‘Unbelievable?’ The show is also a popular podcast available on I-Tunes.
Recent topics have included:
‘Can Science explain everything?’
‘How should the church respond to transgender’
‘How should gay Christians express their sexuality’
There are probably few issues as sensitive as these in the church today. But Brierley’s podcasts include debates on some really sensitive issues contributed to by people on both sides of the argument who really know what they are talking about often from personal experience. If you want to try and understand a different view from the one that you hold on these difficult issues, I cannot recommend a better place to look.
Most recently, as part of a special edition, Justin has featured another podcast called ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’ by Tom Newman which was inspired by his show Unbelievable?. Tom is an agnostic and the five part series maps his exploration into Christianity. Tom is the son in law of the late David Lyons who lived at Lower Chilland House. Once you have got through all Justin’s advertising (at 0.11.52), the featured episode includes a voice which you may find familiar….
Justin Brierley’s book Unbelievable? Why, after ten years of talking with atheists, I’m still a Christian (SPCK) is available at www.unbelievablebook.co.uk.