Partly as a result of developments in biblical scholarship, many Christians now believe that it can be acceptable to enter a same-sex partnership. Savi Hensman examines differing interpretations of Christ's call: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
The ‘common good’ and support for current and former soldiers are among the topics to be discussed at the Church of England’s general synod in July 2014. Savi Hensman suggests that the institutional Church of England in its current form may be too heavily compromised by its closeness to the “principalities and powers” to be fully effective in seeking justice and peace. She argues that it will have to face a death of sorts in order to be renewed in Christ.
The Gospel account of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples is widely known among Christians. Some churches re-enact it on Maundy Thursday. Yet it is not always recognised quite how subversive this was, says Savi Hensman
The tone of the Church of England's House of Bishop's 'Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage' is cold and legalistic, says Savi Hensman. She argues that it is in contrast to the more welcoming attitude of General Synod and that putting it into practice may prove harder than anticipated.
Those who promote criminalisation of, or violence against, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people cannot reasonably claim that this is a sign of Christian love, says Savitri Hensman, challenging a Church of England General Synod member's reported comments in Jamaica.
In many churches today, hymns have been largely or wholly replaced by worship songs. Some of these are of high quality and accessible to a wider range of worshippers. However, says Savitri Hensman, perhaps there should be more discussion of how this trend may influence the ways in which Christians relate to the Bible and understand themselves, God and the world.
Some Christian MPs strongly support marriage equality while others are strongly against it. In the UK and beyond, parliamentary debates on celebrating same-sex partnerships have revealed that – whatever top clerics or elders say – opinion within the churches is divided, says Savitri Hensman, reporting and commenting on the religious and theological views being expressed in parliament.
In a statement opposing same-sex unions, the House of Bishops and Standing Committee of the Church in the Province of the West Indies tried to justify persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people, reports Savitri Hensman. Meanwhile human rights activists in the Caribbean and beyond continue to work for decriminalisation and protection from violence, causes that Anglicans worldwide should support.
In Margaret Thatcher’s era, the ‘poll tax’ triggered huge protests. It is not certain at what point large numbers of people will feel they have no share in the UK that this government, and the section of the ruling elite it serves, are seeking to create, notes Savi Hensman. But, sooner or later, the day will come. Cruelly unjust regimes, however mighty they may seem, are built on sand.