Heaven on Earth
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This course is based on seven live webinars run every Thursday at 3.00pm (UK time) from 4 June to 16 July.
The Quaker movement began with an extraordinary confidence that the kingdom of heaven was arriving on earth. The living word of Christ was sounding among his people and transformation was at hand for those who heard and responded. Ideas that had become part of Christian doctrine such as the second coming and the expectation that God’s righteousness would triumph in the affairs of the world were perceived as imminent realities. Friends felt they were living in the same Spirit as the early followers of Jesus and this brought vivid meaning to the teaching and stories of the New Testament. But just as change came for the first Christians, so Quakers had to adapt their thinking once the world did not transform in the 1650s.
We will explore the new vision that animated both movements as well as how they responded when their expectations were not met. There will be plenty of input, a chance to hear the three course leaders in discussion each week as well as time to reflect on where this leaves the Quaker faith today. Is there meaning we can draw out of this central part of our faith tradition for the challenges of our lives today? What might heaven on earth mean for us now?
Timothy Ashworth draws on biblical study, retreat work and interfaith dialogue to illuminate the nature of spiritual transformation.
Ben Pink Dandelion is Learning and Research Leader for the Centre for Research in Quaker Studies. He has responsibility for our postgraduate programmes run in partnership with the University of Birmingham and Lancaster University. He both teaches and supervises postgraduate students in a variety of fields, and his own specialism is sociology of religion. He is a prolific author and editor.
Stuart Masters has been a tutor at Woodbrooke for over ten years. His research, writing, and teaching interests focus on Quaker theology and spirituality and the connections between Quakerism and other Christian traditions. He is currently working on a book about the theology of the early Quaker minister, James Nayler.
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