Book review - Talking about Ethics - Negotiating the Maze
Talking about Ethics - Negotiating the Maze
Grandson the First informed me at the Huon Show last Saturday that his driving of the Dodgem car was, and I quote, ‘ethical'. Big call, I thought, having borne the brunt of many collisions.
But how interesting that an eight-year-old would know the word. And ethics is a word which gets bandied around a lot. We have ethical investments, ethical drugs, ethical dilemmas, ethical relativism, ethical behaviour ... the list goes on.
Many of us have been concerned for some time with the upskilling which we all need to converse with not-yet Christians, not to mention one another, around the many difficult, ethical issues which confront us daily. Synod meeting earlier this year was treated to a demonstration of just such a conversation.
The subject - euthanasia as it happens - was not as important as the opportunity to hear how four Tasmanian Anglicans explained their Christian thinking with clarity, patience, careful research and compassion.
Justin Denholm's little guidebook Talking About Ethics - Negotiating the Maze is a tremendously useful contribution to the resourcing of a Christian understanding of ethics in two ways.
Firstly, in Part One we are presented with an easily digested summary of ethical thinking, where our positions come from and how to explore ethical positions, including the appropriate use of the Bible.
Part Two presents useful advice on how to engage in discussion of ethics in various forums in ways which build relationships and leave the door open for further conversation.
Against the strident, polarising statements on ethical issues with which we are constantly bombarded via the mass media, this book contains wise, practical advice for Christians wanting to engage with their friends but wanting also to avoid shutting down the conversation at the start by feeling they somehow need to defend territory.
The book could be used effectively for small group discussion. Besides only requiring about an hour to read, there are questions throughout and a study guide at the end.
Published by Acorn Press and readily available, I suggest you buy ten and hand them around.
Reviewed by Russell Morton
Talking about Ethics - Negotiating the Maze, by Dr Justin Denholm.
Acorn Press 2011