My second book was published in September 2021 by Ellis and Maultby. It’s available to order from book shops or on Amazon in paperback, hardback and Kindle formats.

Cover picture of The View from the Centre

My writing aims to take seriously all of our different kinds of knowledge and experience. My first book showed how Christian theology could offer a framework for doing this, a true theory of everything which spans the arts and the sciences. My second book, The View from the Centre, again seeks to look around widely. It looks more into the details of the Christian faith, comparing the various insights explored by different churches and traditions.

I am an Anglican, and I love being an Anglican. I wasn’t brought up that way, but I chose to join the Church of England because of its breadth. I deeply value its potential for bringing together the resources and experiences of all the main approaches to the world’s largest faith: Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism, including Evangelicalism, Liberalism and Pentecostalism.

There is, it seems to me, a middle ground where all of the riches of these different forms of Christianity can cheerfully be brought together and enjoyed, including the high and the low, and including traditionalism and progressivism. This middle ground can easily be found within the Church of England, which is intentionally a broad church, but it is accessible to other churches also.

The odd thing about this middle ground is that people tend not to write about it. Or, if they do, they do so in very vague and woolly terms. They may be so good at seeing all sides of an argument that they are reluctant to describe their own position. Or, their ecumenical generosity leads them to be wary of appearing critical. In trying to embrace as much as possible, they can unfortunately end up seeming to stand for very little. Or they write for a niche, academic audience, homing in on details which are of interest to few. To others, those of us in the middle can seem to offer something rather grey, consisting mainly of niceness, hymns and lukewarm tea.

Meanwhile, away from the middle ground, different Christian factions often appear more popular, more energetic and more confident. They are very clear about what they stand for, and argue for it loudly. They have recognisable brands with active networks, conferences, summer camps, youth events and seminaries. They have outspoken preachers who pick sides in a small number of controversial battles and fight hard for them. They function as tribes, being clear about who their allies are and who the dangerous outsiders are. Within their movements, there are obvious pathways through which rising leaders are trained and are invited to make their names known and their voices heard.

In religion, as in politics, the extremes often seem more exciting, more innovative, more challenging, more newsworthy and more authentic. Each one seems to be increasingly necessary in order to stand up to its opposite. And in religion, as in politics, the urgent question remains: can the centre hold?

I believe that the centre is the most interesting and most fruitful place to be, for ordinary believers as much as it is for academic theologians. There are things that we should value about many different branches of Christianity, but each has its weaknesses, and some of those weaknesses are serious. This book describes my view of a central approach to Christianity, enthusiastically appropriating all that is good from all around me, while carefully resisting all that is harmful.

2 thoughts on “The View from the Centre

  • 28 July 2018 at 10:39 pm

    Dear Keith
    Thank you for the insights in ‘The Theology ofEverything’. I am promoting it as much as I can – a timely piece of work which could bring health and healing to friends, family and churches.
    I particularly value its readability, due very much to the absence of jargon!
    – Chris Thomas (church music director at st.John’s Keynsham, an evangelical church that has me in half-time employment, and where I have established a two-monthly ‘Vespers@6’, a Saturday recital followed by Compline and cheese&wine – encouraging the evanglicals to explore beauty in ways they have long neglected – and we haven’t even started on Bach yet!)

    • 11 September 2018 at 5:14 pm

      Many thanks for your kind words of encouragement, and for telling others about the book. I’m delighted to hear that you’ve found it helpful and readable.

      It’s good also to hear that you’re helping people to discover the beauty of Compline in an evangelical church. We have it twice a term in the college chapel where I work, and it draws a very diverse crowd of students who love its atmosphere.


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