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Surfing on the Sea of Faith: The Ethics and Religion of Don Cupitt [Paperback]

By Nigel Leaves (Author)
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Item description for Surfing on the Sea of Faith: The Ethics and Religion of Don Cupitt by Nigel Leaves...

Don Cupitt's ideas cannot easily be translated into practice. Or, can they? In this companion volume to "Odyssey on the Sea of Faith, Nigel Leaves tackles Cupitt's major themes of religion and ethics. He debates whether Cupitt's ethics provide an adequate response to Christian living after God. Has Cupitt's radical Christian humanism or post-Christianity broken the ecclesiastical ties, or is there still room for maneuver? What is the role of the Sea Faith Networks and its principal writers in this the church of the future? This enthralling book once again makes sense of Cupitt.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Polebridge Press
Pages   194
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 28, 2006
Publisher   Polebridge Press
Edition  New  
ISBN  0944344631  
ISBN13  9780944344637  

Availability  1 units.
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More About Nigel Leaves

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Leaves is Director and Dean of Studies of Wollaston College, Perth, Western Australia. He is also Chair of the Perth branch of Sea of Faith in Australia Network.

Nigel Leaves currently resides in Perth. Nigel Leaves was born in 1958.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living

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Reviews - What do customers think about Surfing on the Sea of Faith: The Ethics and Religion of Don Cupitt?

Sun and surf  Dec 1, 2005
Surfing on the Sea of Faith is a companion volume to Odyssey on the Sea of Faith. Although it is not necessary to have read the latter to enjoy the former, this new volume is a satisfying unfolding of some of the themes and issues just hinted at in "Odyssey". In this volume the author continues his description and discussion of the works of Don Cupitt, the radical theologian. In particular in this book he investigates Cupitt's ethics. Having outlined the five phases of Cupitt's ethical journey (in part 1) the author goes on in part 2 to discuss the implications of Cupitt's ethical positions, especially insofar as they may or may not be compatible with church membership. In the final part, the Sea of Faith Networks (and some of the writings of their members) in Britain, New Zealand and Australia are discussed as their relationships to Cuppit are brought into focus.

Once again Nigel Leaves describes Cupitt's writings with sympathy and insight. He also helpfully engages in dialogue with some of Cupitt's critics, revealing shortcomings in their arguments. This is no sycophantic writing however, and the author identifies and discusses problems and unresolved issues in Cupitt's ethical stances.

In a time when we are faced with religious fundamentalism and nihilism as the two sides of a global coin, Cupitt's `solar' ethics offers a lively and life-affirming alternative. For those who don't have the time to read Cupitt's prolific writing, "Surfing" is an excellent introduction to one of the most innovative religious thinkers of our time. However, "Surfing" is not just a book about Cupitt. It also stands as an insistent plea for anyone interested in exploring the ethical and ecclesial possibilities of being both anti-realist and a member of the church to investigate the questions for oneself and not to accept the empty rhetoric or of fundamentalism and nihilism.
Christian World View After God  May 19, 2005
Ascension Day, May 5, 2005: Little mention is made in the church of this `Holy Day of Obligation'. It seems that we have become adept at avoiding St Luke's story that Jesus went up into the sky (Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:9-11). Our twenty-first century cosmology is too sophisticated for most of us to accept Luke's account literally.

Don Cupitt, Church of England priest and academic, is one of a small band of Christians who insist that Christianity is being held back by the literalists. For Cupitt, not only is the Ascension not literally true, it is not even metaphorically true. For Cupitt, there is no heaven, no world other than the one we know, nor is there a real God for Jesus to ascend to.

As Cupitt said in a 2002 Australian Broadcasting Corporation interview with Rachael Kohn, "There is only all this and our language that makes it into a world".

Surfing on the Sea of Faith is the second of local priest Dr Nigel Leaves' books on Don Cupitt's thought. The first, Odyssey on the Sea of Faith, analysed the progression of Cupitt's ideas. The purpose of Surfing on the Sea of Faith is to show what it means for Cupitt to continue as a Christian, and an Anglican priest, without God ... or as he expresses it, after God.

Christianity without God first affects ethics. The most original of Cupitt's five `phases' of ethical thought is `solar ethics'. Like the sun, Christians should simply pour themselves into living, and like the sun, do this knowing that the end of this outpouring is death.

In this book Nigel Leaves invites us into the fascinating conversation between Cupitt and his critics, not only about ethics, but also what religious practice and belief look like `after God'.

Cupitt believes that after God we can still benefit from worship, spirituality, ethics and prayer. Religion is a human creation. Its practices affirm our humanity. It's simply, for Cupitt, that we don't need an external God to validate them. This is indeed `Christianity lite'.

Nigel Leaves introduces us to the original writers being thrown up by the Sea of Faith networks. These add to this serious conversation about the future of Christianity. Leaves writes for the serious lay-people he has met through his involvement in the networks. His writing is clear and ordered, giving us a sense both of the depth of the ideas he mentions and of where they might fit into the reader's understanding of Christianity.

I congratulate Dr Leaves for his courage in publishing this book. There is a view abroad that clergy, like politicians, for fear of confusing the faithful, should stay on message and on the party line. Nigel Leaves treats his readers as intelligent Christian people who may welcome the opportunity to eavesdrop on conversations about how Christianity is to be expressed with integrity in this changing world.

Sometimes, Surfing on the Sea of Faith has to ride some complex philosophical waves: Cupitt's approach to Christianity is more philosophical than theological or scriptural. This complexity should not be seen as an obstacle to understanding the issues, but as a mark of how seriously both Cupitt and Leaves take their audience.

The basic ideas, however, are challenging. Sometimes I wished I was eaves-dropping on easier conversations: for example, Michael Polanyi's personalist views of transcendence are much easier to encompass in a traditional theological world-view, or the radical views of American celebrity theologian, Stanley Hauerwas, at least keep their feet in Biblical territory. I can easily envisage fruitful conversations between Cupitt, Polanyi and Hauerwas.

But each of us needs to make our own appropriation of faith, and that process is enormously aided by Christian thinkers making themselves vulnerable in sharing their understanding of being a 21st Century Christian.

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