Neither fundamentalism nor functionalism offer a way forward for the churches today in terms of their public witness and political engagement, says Simon Barrow. The different stances taken by church bodies in the 2010 general election suggest important lessons for the future.
The government has retained support despite promises of swingeing cuts, the Lib Dems have gained little credit for their coalescing, and Labour has been on the up despite being leaderless and rudderless. Simon Barrow looks at the unreal politics of the parliamentary recess.
Investing in tradition-based pluralism rather than feeding monopoly needs to be the future of both religion and media, says Simon Barrow. And not just in the interactions between the two overlapping realms.
The origins of Christianity are in a dynamic and free movement around Jesus, but much of its history is bound up with institutional religion, says Simon Barrow. The challenge is to continue to respond to the transformative impulse of the Gospel, even in the midst of organisation and complexity.
What kind of 'narrative' is the new post-election, post-budget coalition government trying to create, asks Simon Barrow, and what is its ratio of substance to spin, of new politics to old-fashioned collusion? Moreover, how will Labour and extra-parliamentary activists who question the underlying Westminster consensus respond?
The status quo based on monopolistic politics and dominating religion is being challenged as never before, says Simon Barrow. This creates fresh and energising opportunities for cooperation across received 'religious' and 'secular' divides for a new era, and requires a new Christian vision too.
The 2010 General Election campaign has been more volatile and interesting than anyone could have predicted, and the outcome now sits on a knife-edge, says Simon Barrow. But whichever way it goes, there is an opportunity for genuine, ground-up, civic based change. We must not ignore or miss it.
The media isn't someone or something else, it's also us, says Simon Barrow. He goes on to examine the challenge of truthful communication in a PR-driven world, and to offer a picture of what authentically Christian communication might look like.
The hype around Lib Dem chief Nick Clegg has been extraordinary in the wake of the first UK election Leaders' Debate, says Simon Barrow. But is this all froth, or does the shift it seems to signal represent something deeper for reform and a renewed politics?
The likely outcome of the General Election is another victory for 'Lablibservatism', the dominant three-way economic and political status quo, says Simon Barrow. Yet cracks are showing and the possibility of a hung parliament could make deeper change possible.