Prof. Adrian Thatcher
Tel: 01752 704058
www.AdrianThatcher.org
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    Recent Articles

Theology, Happiness and Public Policy
Much nonsense is spoken about happiness. I was pleased to write an essay about theology and happiness for inclusion in a Festschrift for my friend Tim Gorringe. After three years I have published it here. I still recommend the book, however. The essays all demonstrate the vital contribution theology makes to the pervasive modern discourse about ...

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Gay Marriage and the Church of England
On 11th June, 2012, the Church of England published its response to the Government's consultation on same-sex marriages. This short piece is a critique of that response. A slightly milder version was published in full in the Church Times of 6th July. Readers of my new book Making Sense of Sex will recognize some of the arguments in the last couple of ...

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A Savage Text
This short piece appeared in 'Reform', the journal of the United Reformed Church, in December 2009. It introduces some of the arguments in my book The Savage Text. View it here, or follow the link to the Reform archive.

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Religion, Family Form and the Question of Happiness
Some secular writers now think that the pursuit of happiness is not just something people want: how to get it has become a science! I was pleased to be part of a research project conducted by the William Temple Foundation and the University of Manchester (in 2008 - 09) which examined happiness from different perspectives. Nineteen leading scholars from the ...

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Gender, Inclusivity and the Bible.
Members of the United Reformed Church have a group (a 'caucus') in the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. This short piece was a contribution to their Dec. 2009 Newsletter which was about Inclusive Readings of Scripture. I deconstruct the classical arguments against homosexual people, but try to contribute some new ideas to this distressing squabble ...

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Anglicanorum coetibus - OR, Arrangements for Anglicans
This is an opinion piece I wrote for the regional newspaper The Western Morning News (25th Nov. 2009)in response to the Pope's invitation to disaffected Anglicans to join the RC Church. I say to these Anglicans, 'Go. But don't think your beliefs about women will be welcomed by all Catholics.'

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Why should people obey the Scriptures?
This is a foray into Anglican sexual politics, published in The Church Times on 15th May 2009. Oliver O'Donovan had written a piece on 'How can people obey the Scriptures?' My response is that the scriptures are not to be obeyed at all. At root the issue we are both addressing is how the Bible should be read, and this is the problem that leads to great differences ...

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Loving One's Partner as God Loves God
This short essay draws on Rowan Williams' essay 'The Body's Grace' in order to provide a reflection on the theological meanings of desire, and of marriage. It was written for INTAMS (The International Academy for Marital Spirituality) in March 2009, and is yet to be published.

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The Virus and the Bible - How living with HIV helps the Church to read it
I gave this talk to a group of about forty theologians and church leaders, in January 2008, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance convened a colloquium, hosted by the Christian Aids Bureau for Southern Africa. Our theme was 'Breaking the Silence: Theological Reflection on HIV Prevention'. We were drawn from all five ...

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Nuptial Imagery in Christian Doctrine and its Usefulness for a Marital Spirituality
I know the title looks obscure, but it had to fit a very large volume on the spirituality of marriage, published in 2009 (see link). The essay shows how half a dozen or so models of marriage, found in Christian doctrine over the centuries, can actually illuminate the meanings given to marriage today in a compelling way.

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The Attractiveness of Marriage
Why marry? The argument of this article is that marriage is better than alternatives to marriage - better for the partners, for the common good, and for children. Theological arguments which lead to the same conclusion are discussed and approved. I was invited to write this piece for the Orthodox Church journal, Sobornost, in July 2007, for its issue on the ...

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Beginning Again with Jesus
Don't be put off by the mellifluous simplicity of the title. This was originally a paper read to a research colloquium hosted by the Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium in 2007. The theme was Theology and Children. My contribution contrasted the compassionate and empathic teaching of Jesus about children with what is found elsewhere in the Bible, in ...

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Can sexual teaching change? a short letter
In Feb. 2007, the Archbishop of Canterbury said, “For most Anglicans, questions about sexual ethics belonged in that category of teaching that was not up for negotiation as a result of cultural variation or social development”. This letter points out that other questions within sexual ethics have been very much a matter of social development.

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Praise Marriage, but don't reject other approaches.
I wrote this short piece for the Church Times, in National Marriage Week in 2007. It is an attempt to commend marriage without marginalizing the unmarried. The theme that 'marital values' can be found in lots of relationships that are not formally marriages is developed at length in my Theology and Families, chapter 5. The editor gave it the ...

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Theology and Children: Towards a Theology of Childhood..
This article began as a lecture at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in June 2006, and it was rapidly published in the Centre's journal, Transformation, in October. At the time I was working on my Theology and Families. I had been studying the teaching of Jesus about children in the synoptic Gospels, and I was feeling moved by Christ's obvious love ...

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Marriage and Family in the Twentieth Century..
.. is my contribution to the Cambridge History of Christianity, Volume 9, chapter 29, part 1, World Christianities c.1914 - c.2000 (ed. Hugh McLeod: 2006), pp.534-545...

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Ten Things You Should Know About Christian Marriage
The text of this piece was intended as a booklet, designed for use by two groups of people - marriage preparation trainers and clergy; and couples themselves who intend a Christian marriage. While it is addressed directly to them, it provides a useful introduction to what Christian marriage is all about.

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Christian Marriage in the Modern World
I wrote this for a the journal Dialogue (25: Nov. 2005) which services 'A' level Religious Studies students in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. It is a good introduction to my thinking about marriage.

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Further Marriages in the Anglican Communion
This article has two sources. First, in 2005 the Church of England Bishops had just published their guidelines, ‘Advice to the Clergy,’ about the questions to put to couples coming to them for marriage in church, at least one of whom had been divorced. The then Bishop of Truro, the Rt. Revd. Bill Ind, invited me to talk to the diocesan clergy about these ...

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'Impaired Communion': Some Questions
The Anglican Communion is divided over homosexuality (and much else). Some parts of the Communion declared that the issue had 'impaired' their 'communion' with other parts. This essay is an assault on the notion of 'impaired communion', suggesting that 'a loathing of lesbigay people and their sex lives is the real source of impaired communion'. The ...

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The Curriculum of a Christian University
Theologians who had contributed to the Theology of Education, or who were working as people of faith in secular universities, were invited to contribute to a volume (see link), The Idea of a Christian University. I had long made the argument that academies with a Christian foundation can only emphasise their distinctiveness in a plural environment by ...

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Some Issues with 'Some Issues...'
In December 2003 the Church of England House of Bishops’ Group on Issues in Human Sexuality published their ‘discussion document,’ 'Some Issues in Human Sexuality - a guide to the debate'. This article is a contribution to the 'discussion'. I first question whether the document is a ‘guide’ and whether the quarrels between Anglicans are best designated a ...

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Marriage
This is my essay on Marriage in the Encyclopaedia of Protestantism (ed. Hans Hillerbrand: Routledge, 2004-05).

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‘Forsaking All Others’? Love and Commitment in the Christian Way
Central to the Christian understanding of sex is, of course, the institution of marriage, and this has become for many, a great ‘stumbling block’. In this first of two articles, written for the journal Modern Believing (Jan. and Mar. 2003) I commend marriage, but in a way that makes it ‘good news’ for Christians whether they are married, no longer married, ...

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Intimate Relationships and the Christian Way
This article is paired with 'Forsaking all Others?' Both were published in the journal Modern Believing in 2003. It investigates whether sexual relationships other than marriage can also be paths to holiness.

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Living Together
Living together before marriage was a big issue in the early noughties. My book Living Together and Christian Ethics was a detailed monograph on the subject, distinguishing between 'pre-nuptial' and 'non'nuptial' cohabitation. This article for the Church Times introduced some of the arguments.

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Marriage and Love - Too Much of a 'Breakthrough'?
This essay, in INTAMS Review (8.1, Spring, 2002), contains the gist of five lectures I gave at a summer school in Brussels in 2001. It questions the extent to which the teaching of the Second Vatican Council about marriage is, as is so often claimed, a 'breakthrough'. It describes and welcomes much of the Council's teaching, especially about the relational ...

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Anglicans on Sex
In March and April 2001 readers of the Church Times were invited to respond to a range of questions about their beliefs. The findings were surprisingly liberal. The newspaper asked me to comment on the results. This is my piece, published in the Church times, 1st Feb., 2002.

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Anglicans on Sex (again)
In March and April 2001 readers of the Church Times were invited to respond to a range of questions about their beliefs, including their beliefs about sex. The results were published in the Church Times in January 2002. I was asked to comment on the findings by the Church Times and by the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. This is the version published by LGCM ...

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Authority and Sexuality in the Protestant Tradition
I gave this presentation at a colloquium at Sarum College, Salisbury, England, 2001. It was published in Embracing Sexuality (see link). I had done some work in Chicago on the acrimonious 'debates' about sexuality in various Protestant churches. I had no idea about the storm that was to break within the Anglican Communion later in the decade. The ...

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Sex Education 'after Modernity'
This article was originally a lecture to a conference of teachers in the UK, involved in Sex and Relationships Education. While it is nearly ten years old, I think most of the points it makes are still fresh. The Government had just published a document 'Sex and Relationship Education Guidance'. While welcoming this, I describe the huge religious and moral ...

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Using the Bible Well
I gave this talk to an audience of interested Christians at South St. Baptist Church, Exeter on October 22nd, 2011. It is about taking the Bible seriously, yet not literally. It is based on some of the themes of my book The Savage Text including the principles for a peaceable reading of the Bible.

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