Our latest guest blog post is from former student Simon Topping. We are looking forward to our jubilee celebrations at the Urban Theology Unit in Victoria Hall, Sheffield on Monday 8th July. Please contact the office for more details.
UTU gave me the opportunity to take forward an idea for a PhD thesis I had been exploring while working as a Methodist minister in Argentina.
My UTU PhD explored the links between Che Guevara’s “new man” and Paul’s “new being in Christ”. In summary, my thesis argued that the consciousness, values and human qualities of the “new being in Christ” do not happily resonate with the capitalist economic relationships under which the “new being” must presently live and work.
This led me to explore how Christians might resolve the dissonance between their consciousness as “new beings in Christ” and their context within capitalist society (where revolutionary change at the national level is not presently viable). With others I launched the Green Cross Co-operative in Gloucester, a Christian Workers’ Co-operative, providing a pedal-powered refill and delivery service in Gloucester. Although the Green Cross Co-op ran for eight years, there still remained for me a felt dissonance created through the need to engage in market competition, the need to calculate value in monetary terms, and the priority of contract over covenantal relationships.
This has led me, with others, to explore the establishment of a residential intentional Christian community which will seek to model the gospel’s gift economy as a practical challenge to the wider money/market economy. The 200 year old Brimscombe Methodist chapel will be used as the community house and we hope to launch within the next 12 months.
Over the years since finishing my PhD I have been able to return to UTU for various events and conferences. It has always been helpful and strengthening to share ideas and proposals with fellow UTU members and I very much look forward to further opportunities to participate in UTU gatherings.
Simon Topping 2019