One of the more intriguing aspects of Gordon Brown's first Labour party conference speech as serving prime minister was his decision to use consciously biblical language as part of his argument against those employing religious rhetoric to oppose his family policy.
Talk of the efficacy or otherwise of the surge is a smokescreen, says Simon Barrow. There is no long-term military solution to Iraq’s nightmare. But viable alternatives are being sought within civil society.
There is a growing disconnect with the aspirations of people whose concerns are not adequately mapped by the narrow economic, political and social assumptions of the main political parties, says Simon Barrow. Are we moving into post-democracy?
In an era where a basic understanding of what Christianity is about cannot be taken for granted, Simon Barrow welcomes a new book by philosopher and theologian Keith Ward which clears some ground and opens up issues.
Sharing bread and wine is not just an odd church ritual, says Simon Barrow. It is an embodied symbol of a new world coming – one in which we need to be radically changed if we are going to be part of the solution not part of the problem.
Religiously constructed rows over sorcery, metaphor and meaning in Harry Potter are hardly new, as Simon Barrow has personal reason to know. He suggests we all chill out and finding meaning not menace in the narrative.
At the root of death-dealing religion and ideology is fear, says Simon Barrow. The biggest challenge we face today is how to challenge cultures of death from within, replacing the logic of the sword with an invitation to life.
An easy assumption that religion is less dangerous when it is 'less religious' is wrong, says Simon Barrow. As an article in the International Herald Tribune points out, the path from death to life is found within as well as beyond each tradition.
Gordon Brown, artfully manoeuvred into Downing Street, will have little room to operate in for the social justice agenda. But what space there is will be created by the power of imagination, says Simon Barrow. Look at the example of Northern Ireland.