Here you’ll find an outline for a collection of pub talks and discussions I am entitling the Omega Course. So called because just like many people use the Alpha course in order to help them begin their beliefs, the Omega course seeks to help us to end our beliefs – not so we can have no beliefs, but so that we can have new, different ways of seeing the world. In the wise words of Yoda, “You must unlearn what you have learned”.
The “course” is currently split into ten sessions. As I write the talk side of things up I’ll post them as links here on this page. I’ll also keep track of the discussions had as I run the course and make those available (pending agreement from those taking part). Hopefully you can use/reuse the ideas here in your own circles.
The course starts off with some fairly theological sessions and, I hope, becomes more ‘relevant’ to ‘real life’ as it progresses. After all, you have to lay the foundations before you can build the house, right?
Session One: The Bible is not the Word of God
We begin by unpacking the idea that the Bible is written by God, then go even further into our critique and analyse the possibility that “inspired” doesn’t necessarily mean “true” or “accurate” – and perhaps come across some surprising alternatives.
Session Two: God Doesn’t Know Your Future
We entertain the possibility that God isn’t literally sovereign over everything, that predestination may indeed be a red herring and that there’s something inherently exciting about the prospect of not knowing what lies ahead…
Session Three: Jesus Didn’t Take Your Punishment
Could it be possible that the idea of penal substitution is not only an insufficient metaphor as claimed by many a sensible Evangelical academic; but is also totally and utterly misguided? Let’s find out…
Session Four: You’re Not Going to Heaven
Yup. You heard me. You’re not going there. You can’t. Perhaps focus on the here and now instead, then.
Session Five: You Don’t Even Believe in God
You might think you do, but you don’t.
Session Six: God Doesn’t Want to Speak to You
We take a look at the idea of prayer, what it means to pray without ceasing, and what, if anything, you do when you experience total uncompromising silence from the divine.
Session Seven: Everything is Meaningless
Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless! Here we will explore my second favourite Bible passage and its consequences. Ah, a good old fashioned Bible study…
Session Eight: G o d i s n o w h e r e
The most awkward of the sessions. Primarily because I can’t actually say its name out loud for fear of compromising my blog integrity! We’ll explore the idea of mystery at the centre of our [lack of] faith and our a/theism.
Session Nine: Mission is a Waste of Time
We’ll take a look at the consequences of the previous eight weeks on our missiology and our sense of what it means to be evangelical. Spoiler alert: this is where it starts to get really positive without having to wade through anywhere near as much crap.
Session Ten: The ‘There’s-No-Such-Thing-As-Spiritual Day’
To those of you familiar with the Alpha Course, this is my answer to the Holy Spirit day. We begin the day by abandoning our old faith in God, and end it with a newer, deeper, crazier, more radical understanding of the divine. And in the words of one of my favourite poets, “Go in pieces”.
I’ll be starting up this course in Bristol fairly soon. If you’re interested then please let me know by Email.