If watching football is a waste of time with redeeming moments, much the same could be said about prayer, says Simon Barrow. In a world over-attached to achievement, we lose sight of the fact that what is really 'worth it' is often not conventionally 'productive'.
Enter any public debate about the pros and cons of religion today, and it will not be long before someone raises the thorny issue of ‘texts of terror’ in the Bible, says Simon Barrow. Yet in the person of Christ our understanding of violence is turned upside-down.
Genuine hope is quite different from optimism or wishful thinking, says Simon Barrow. To understand it we need fresh eyes attuned to the artfulness of reality and the presence of love even in the midst of suffering.
“Reform so as to preserve” is still the mantra of the political elite in Britain. But civil society organisations, faith groups, politicians and ordinary people can help change the agenda, says Simon Barrow.
Public life demands ‘tough’ corporate attributes rather than what it labels ‘soft’ personal ones – like love and gratitude. Simon Barrow argues that the communal cultivation of loving relation is needed to help redirect the official anonymity of the social order.
A cruciform tree, a radiating Cain eyed by a simmering Abel, and a doveish floating vision: these are just a few of the images you will see as part of the vital but little-known Methodist Art Collection, says Simon Barrow.
Often Christians behave as if their central convictions about God has little practical bearing on the world and its problems, says Simon Barrow. On the contrary, being engaged by the Trinitarian mystery of God is central to facing up to the world's lesions with realism and hope.
Dismissing those who want to reform faith schools as 'useful idiots' for a 'secularist conspiracy' misrepresents the facts, feeds absolutism and undermines sensible debate, say Simon Barrow & Jonathan Bartley. It also shows how weak the anti-reform case really is.
The furore about MP’s expenses has temporarily overshadowed all other political issues, says Simon Barrow. But it is perhaps better seen as a symptom of a much wider disconnect between governors and governed.