About

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Interactive List of Contents

(1) Introduction

(2) Why did I create this blog?

(3) Podcast

(4) A quick Q&A so you can hopefully get to know me better

Introduction

“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor?”

(Romans 11:34)

Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Ben Somervell and I am a theology and religion student at Durham University and I am particularly interested in Old Testament Studies and Christian Theology, especially systematics. My interest in theology was first kindled in Year 9 (at my secondary school) when I had an excellent teacher for religious studies who was always able to answer my more inquisitive questions. I was brought up as an Anglican and my close family are all devout evangelical Christians. I chose to study theology at university because I wanted to explore the questions I had been asking myself about Christianity further and to fully make up my mind about the religion.

Studying theology at Durham has been very different to what I had, perhaps naively, expected. Biblical studies has been much more of a challenge to my faith than I had expected and I have found that there are no longer always easy answers to the questions I am asked to consider. I originally found this to be quite frustrating as I view most things in a logical and rational way. Some of these questions, which I consider often, have caused me to have doubts in my own personal faith and I have found that I am very limited in terms of who I can turn to at these points as both the university and the course are secular. Some aren’t interested in such questions and dismiss them as “boring”. Others just try to ignore these questions and brush them under the carpet, trying to pretend that they were never raised because they feel that their beliefs may be threatened by their exploration. Others take radical measures in adjusting their beliefs so that the challenge is no longer a challenge. I personally favour a midpoint approach between these two polar opposite approaches.

Why did I create this blog?

I have created this blog to further explore some of these questions and to see what others have to say about the challenges posed. I have named my blog “Theology Seeking Faith” in Durham because, as I stated earlier, I chose to study theology to fully make up my mind about religion, the opposite way round to Anselm who famously said “I believe so that I may understand”. The tag line of this blog is “Great Mysteries of Biblical Faith” because I have, as I said earlier, I have found Biblical Studies the most challenging to my faith and so will be exploring questions relating to modern, academic and critical Biblical study in this blog.

You will notice that all of my site pages and blogs posts have photographs in them which appear to be unrelated to the topic of the post/page. This is because I love photography and because I almost always think about these deep Biblical mysteries while walking around the beautiful City of Durham. All of my Biblical quotations will be from the English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK) unless otherwise stated.

I am a strong advocate of the freedom of speech and so welcome everyone and anyone, regardless of their theological views to this blog. Please feel free to comment on my site pages and blog posts – that is, after all, what the purpose of this blog really is!

Podcast

You can now listen to the “Theology Seeking Faith in Durham” podcast accompanying this blog for free

On iTunes here

as well as on SoundCloud here

and Podbean here.

A quick Q&A so you can hopefully get to know me better

What is your name?
Ben Somervell.
 
Which year are you in?
Second year.
 
What is the name of your course?
Undergraduate BA (Hons) in Theology and Religion.
 
What are your specific areas of interest within your course?
The Calvinism-Arminianism debate (especially Exodus 33:19 and John 12:32 in relation to this), the Song of Songs, the literature and theology of the Old Testament, Systematic Christian Theology, Christian Existentialism, said liturgy, preaching, and the sociology of the relationship between individual churches and people with Autism.
 
If applicable, which denomination or none do you belong to and, again if applicable, which tradition or none within that denomination?
I am a regular and actual communicant of the Church of England and choose to describe myself as a central Anglican Christian. This means that I am the “via media” (middle way as Cardinal John Henry Newman termed it) between Anglo-Catholicism (“High Church”) and charismatic/conservative evangelicalism (“Low Church”). So I personally like services and Churches with stained glass windows, hymns, an organ, a choir, said liturgy from Common Worship and medium-length sermons.
 
Who is your favourite unsung Christian theologian/thinker?
Herbert McCabe.
 
What is your favourite thing about Durham?

Its extraordinary beauty.

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By Ben Somervell

Shortlisted for Premier Digital Awards 2019 - Young Blogger of the Year