lci_hook2013_-7611The third Hook Lecture at Leeds Minster was given on Thursday 14th November by the Revd Giles Fraser on the theme ‘Original Helplessness.’

Dr Fraser is a lively and engaging speaker and the event was enjoyed by the 175 people who attended.

Dr Fraser told four very different stories to illustrate his understanding of ‘Original Helplessness’. One from Homer, one from Hollywood, one about Freud and the fourth about St Augustine. He proposed that these stories can teach us that human frailty and mortality opens the possibility for courage, sacrifice and love; that our very vulnerability is at the root of our potential for human flourishing.

After the talk there was an extended Q and A session when wide ranging questions were asked and sometimes debated. These included:

How does Original Helplessness work out on a national or institutional level, rather than a personal one?

Which Shakespeare play best illustrates your theme of Original Helplessness?

Are all the stories you told gendered and how much does that affect what we can learn from them?

Are you making the case for a unique understanding of vulnerability in Christianity vis-à-vis different faiths and beliefs?

What is your view of the afterlife, does vulnerability continue?

Can a focus on the individual and salvation militate against a shared vision of seeking the Kingdom of God?

How does our helplessness inform our communities?

How do you assess the proposition that there is ‘Original Goodness’ rather than ‘Original Sin’ ?

Given the link between vulnerability and sexuality, has the church tradition of celibacy helped or hindered?

We hope that the debates started at the Hook Lecture can continue throughout the year.

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