Online Course Details
Space for Thought provides a space for serious theological reflection in a prayerful mode. Participants will approach a central theological theme in a range of ways—close reading, creative response, silence, group discussion—whilst being attentively open to others as they do the same. Tutors will give two mini-lectures to provide some intellectual stimulation, and facilitate discussion and reflection on the theme. A carefully-selected range of readings from The Heythrop Library will be made available to participants in advance, as well as suggestions about other ways in which to prepare, and to engage with the theme on the day. Tutors will curate and direct the day, whilst leaving space for participants to find their own route through it.
Space for Thought is an invitation to practice theology with patient humility and attention; a “waiting on truth”.
In Space for Thought, we look at love. Everyone seems to agree that love is important. But do really we know what love is? And if we do know, where does this knowledge come from? As well as being a topic for playwrights, poets, songwriters and theologians, love has returned as a theme for serious philosophical reflection in the past couple of decades.
One important question of how we are to make sense of the relationship between love and morality? It may seem that love of particular people pulls away from the impartial, universal demands of morality. But equally, many people understand their moral lives in terms of the highest command, to love one another. This brings another question into view: what is love, if it can be commanded? How does obeying this command relate to the kinds of feelings we normally have in view when we talk about love – because it is hard to see how we can be commanded to feel something. Finally, of course, we might also want to ask the biggest question of all: what it means to say that God is love?
So in this event we will take time to reflect on a range of sources, and in a range of modes. Just as St Augustine asked ‘what do I love, when I love my God?’, we will ask‘ what is happening when I love, and when I am found by love?’, in the hope that the head might learn what the heart already knows.
Stuart graduated with a degree in Literature and Theology from the University of Hull in 2000. From 2003-9 he studied Philosophical Theology part-time at the University of Nottingham, whilst continuing to work in the third sector with vulnerably-housed or homeless people, and young asylum seekers (as well as pulling pints in a pub). He was Lecturer at York St John University for almost a decade, before moving to London Jesuit Centre in 2021. He now lives in South East London, and spends as much time as he can in the woods.