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Authors urge Lent tweets and atheism

03 March 2011

by Ed Thornton

BIBLE-reading, knitting, Twitter, and atheism are among the activities Christians are being encouraged to take up for Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday next week.

The Bishop of Huntingdon, Dr David Thomson, this week issued a challenge to Christians to join him in reading the whole of the Bible during Lent, as part of the challenge, “Round the Bible in 40 Days”.

“Most people have their favourite Bible passages, but they usually read it in small chunks and often without much sense of continuity,” Dr Thom­son said. “So it’s good from time to time to get to grips with the whole of its architecture and soak ourselves in its big story of creation, redemption, and the coming of the Kingdom.”

Those taking part in the challenge can download a reading plan, a be­gin­ner’s guide to the Bible, and daily introductions to passages by visiting www.roundthebiblewordpress.com.

Dr Dawson and the Bishop of Croydon, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, will launch Count Your Blessings, a Lent initiative run by Christian Aid, on Ash Wednesday. The Bishops will share daily reflections on Twitter, the social networking site.

An anti-abortion campaign group, 40 Days for Life, is asking “knitting grannies” to make clothes for women who face a “crisis pregnancy”. The group will be staging a prayer vigil outside the BPAS abortion clinic in Bedford Square, London, for 40 days during Lent.

Members of the Christian Socialist Movement (CSM) plan to meet each week during Lent, starting on 10 March, to participate in the CSM Basics Course, written by the Revd Dr James Walters, Chaplain to the London School of Economics (Com­ment, 11 February).

Dr Walters said that the tradition of Christian Socialism had “always proposed a ‘big picture’ of how the gospel might be lived out in the political and economic structures of society”. Christian Socialism offered a “gift to the wider conversation about how all people can come to­gether to tackle the problems of poverty and inequality, violence and climate-change that plague our society”.

Dr Peter Rollins, author of The Orthodox Heretic (Canterbury Press, 2009), who has been a popular speaker at Greenbelt, is encouraging groups of Christians to run “Atheism for Lent” courses. In an online “webinar”, outlining the course, Dr Rollins said the aim was to “expose ourselves to some of the greatest, most perceptive criticisms and critiques of God, religion, and faith” by, for example, reading books by atheist thinkers and watching films that challenge belief in God.

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