Tried for Heresy by Andrew Furlong
On April 8th, 2002 Andrew Furlong, the Anglican Dean of Clonmacnoise in Ireland, came before a heresy trial for denying the divinity of Christ. This the story of how the church in one part of the world brought one of its own to a heresy trial for being honest about what many clergy in churches throughout the world believe, though they are afraid to say, that the Bible cannot be taken as a literal statement of fact. Andrew Furlong sees himself, like so many do today, as belonging to an evolving religious tradition. We create our own religions to the changing ways we understand the universe that is our home. Our ideas of God and of our own identity evolve with that developing understanding. As well as an account of the ordeal Andrew Furlong went through, as he was forced to leave his church's ministry after 30 years of service, "Tried for Heresy" tells the story of how and why a very human Jewish figure, the historic Jesus, was presented as both human and divine and transformed into Christ, Saviour and Living Lord. These hallowed titles impede a credible 21st century faith. More importantly, if we can see as part of the diverse human response to the inevitable risk and certainty, love and beauty of this life, this puts the historic conflicts between the old religions in a new light. Could conflict lead to peace? "Tried for Heresy" should be useful reading for anyone interested in reconciling knowledge with faith. It highlights the questions of liberal identity and of how a church that doesn't admit pluralism can survive in the modern world.