Canterbury Cathedral invited to turn tables on war games

By staff writers
May 29, 2006

Canterbury Cathedral invited to turn tables on war games

-29/05/06

Canterbury Cathedral, which is involved in an argument with an entertainment company about a violent computer game that includes the worldís most famous church building as a backdrop, has been advised to ìturn the tablesî on them ñ by promoting peace.

Speaking on BBC Northern Irelandís ëSunday Sequenceí on 28 May 2006, Simon Barrow, co-director of the UK Christian think-tank Ekklesia, said that rather than trying to have the game banned or withdrawn, the cathedral should use the publicity to highlight alternatives to war and conflict transformation programmes.

Ekklesia has written to the Dean and Chapter suggesting that now might be a good time for St Michaelís chapel to be re-branded the ëpeacemakersí chapelí.

Barrow said on ëSunday Sequenceí that he ìsympathized with the Cathedralís objection to its role in War On Terrorî, a Monte Cristo production put out by Koch Media which depicts a global battle and also features the Eiffel Tower and the Brandenburg Gate.

But he pointed out that the established church had long been associated with militarism, and that an exhibition highlighting its modern peacemaking vocation might be a more positive response.

Ekklesia understands that, contrary to earlier reports, the Cathedral, seen by millions as the mother church of Anglicanism, has not asked for the game to be banned ñ but has requested that the sequence with its images be deleted. The manufacturers say that this is not possible.

Asked by the BBC whether this whole thing was a ëstorm in a tea-cupí, Ekklesiaís Simon Barrow pointed out that the obsession with war and violence in the film and games industry is a legitimate concern. But he says the answer is not censorship.

ìPromoting an alternative vision to ëthe myth of redemptive violenceí is a better optionî, says Barrow. ìTrying to get the game withdrawn will be seen as ëthe church trying to ban things it doesnít likeí once more. That misses the point entirely.î

Ekklesia adds: ìWe are also minded to talk to some gamers to see if we can put together a proposal for a computer game which is about mediating conflict, rather than pursuing it.î

In its letter to the Canterbury Dean and Chapter, the Christian think-tank adds: ìAt a time when there is great concern about the role of religion in conflict, we hope youíll agree that an alternative witness is very much needed.î

It goes on: ìOur thought is that the situation can still be turned round to positive effect. Would it be too daring to suggest that now might be a good time for St Michaelís chapel to be re-branded the ëpeacemakersí chapelí, using the words of Jesus, instead of the ëwarriorsí chapelí ñ which has rather less Gospel warrant?î

ìPerhaps it would also be an appropriate site for a small exhibition on non-violence and conflict transformationî, suggests Ekklesia. ìThis would fit well with the Cathedralís daily practice of ringing the HMS Canterbury bell in memory of those in the armed services who died in the last two world wars ñ an idea which could also be extended to remember all victims of war.î

Though Ekklesia promotes Christian non-violence, it stresses that its intent is not to demean the military, but to ask how past warlike associations can be placed in a new and more hopeful context.

The letter to Canterbury Cathedral says: ìChristian Peacemaker Teams, with whom we enjoy creative links, started out from the question raised by [Mennonite] theologian Ronald Sider: ëWhat would happen if Christians devoted the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war?íî

It adds: ìCPT is now widely known because some of its volunteers were caught up in the recent tragic Iraq hostage crisis. But very few people have heard about their role in trying to bring together Shias and Muslims, for example.î

The think-tank says Canterbury Cathedral could help highlight the current WCC-sponsored ecumenical Decade to Overcome Violence adopted by the churches globally.

[Also on Ekklesia: Canterbury Cathedral urged to turn wargame row into peace pledge 26/05/06; Rethinking hate speech, blasphemy and free expression - an Ekklesia response to the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill; God and the politicians ñ where next? - a comment on the BBC 2 documentary on faith and politics in a plural society; Beyond the politics of fear - an Ekklesia response to the London bombings; Briefing on media accusations against Christian Peacemaker Teams; How Easter brings regime change - Simon Barrow says the Gospel means an end to the politics of death; Plea for armed forces chaplains likely to be rejected 26/05/06; Mennonites and Catholics seek to cooperate on peacemaking; Blair challenged by Christian peacemakers; Jesus commitment to nonviolence highlighted at St Peter's; Churches urged to consider more radical peacemaking following Iraq hostage crisis; Archive of comment and features on Christian Peacemaking; Movement celebrates 60 years of peacemaking; Peacemaking for Churches by Yvonne Joan Craig (book); Fragmentation of the Church and Its Unity in Peacemaking; (book); From the Ground Up: Mennnonite Contributions to International Pecaemaking (book); Christians join global war resisters gathering in the USA; [PDF] Becoming a Peace Church File Format - Adobe Acrobat]

Canterbury Cathedral invited to turn tables on war games

-29/05/06

Canterbury Cathedral, which is involved in an argument with an entertainment company about a violent computer game that includes the worldís most famous church building as a backdrop, has been advised to ìturn the tablesî on them ñ by promoting peace.

Speaking on BBC Northern Irelandís ëSunday Sequenceí on 28 May 2006, Simon Barrow, co-director of the UK Christian think-tank Ekklesia, said that rather than trying to have the game banned or withdrawn, the cathedral should use the publicity to highlight alternatives to war and conflict transformation programmes.

Ekklesia has written to the Dean and Chapter suggesting that now might be a good time for St Michaelís chapel to be re-branded the ëpeacemakersí chapelí.

Barrow said on ëSunday Sequenceí that he ìsympathized with the Cathedralís objection to its role in War On Terrorî, a Monte Cristo production put out by Koch Media which depicts a global battle and also features the Eiffel Tower and the Brandenburg Gate.

But he pointed out that the established church had long been associated with militarism, and that an exhibition highlighting its modern peacemaking vocation might be a more positive response.

Ekklesia understands that, contrary to earlier reports, the Cathedral, seen by millions as the mother church of Anglicanism, has not asked for the game to be banned ñ but has requested that the sequence with its images be deleted. The manufacturers say that this is not possible.

Asked by the BBC whether this whole thing was a ëstorm in a tea-cupí, Ekklesiaís Simon Barrow pointed out that the obsession with war and violence in the film and games industry is a legitimate concern. But he says the answer is not censorship.

ìPromoting an alternative vision to ëthe myth of redemptive violenceí is a better optionî, says Barrow. ìTrying to get the game withdrawn will be seen as ëthe church trying to ban things it doesnít likeí once more. That misses the point entirely.î

Ekklesia adds: ìWe are also minded to talk to some gamers to see if we can put together a proposal for a computer game which is about mediating conflict, rather than pursuing it.î

In its letter to the Canterbury Dean and Chapter, the Christian think-tank adds: ìAt a time when there is great concern about the role of religion in conflict, we hope youíll agree that an alternative witness is very much needed.î

It goes on: ìOur thought is that the situation can still be turned round to positive effect. Would it be too daring to suggest that now might be a good time for St Michaelís chapel to be re-branded the ëpeacemakersí chapelí, using the words of Jesus, instead of the ëwarriorsí chapelí ñ which has rather less Gospel warrant?î

ìPerhaps it would also be an appropriate site for a small exhibition on non-violence and conflict transformationî, suggests Ekklesia. ìThis would fit well with the Cathedralís daily practice of ringing the HMS Canterbury bell in memory of those in the armed services who died in the last two world wars ñ an idea which could also be extended to remember all victims of war.î

Though Ekklesia promotes Christian non-violence, it stresses that its intent is not to demean the military, but to ask how past warlike associations can be placed in a new and more hopeful context.

The letter to Canterbury Cathedral says: ìChristian Peacemaker Teams, with whom we enjoy creative links, started out from the question raised by [Mennonite] theologian Ronald Sider: ëWhat would happen if Christians devoted the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war?íî

It adds: ìCPT is now widely known because some of its volunteers were caught up in the recent tragic Iraq hostage crisis. But very few people have heard about their role in trying to bring together Shias and Muslims, for example.î

The think-tank says Canterbury Cathedral could help highlight the current WCC-sponsored ecumenical Decade to Overcome Violence adopted by the churches globally.

[Also on Ekklesia: Canterbury Cathedral urged to turn wargame row into peace pledge 26/05/06; Rethinking hate speech, blasphemy and free expression - an Ekklesia response to the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill; God and the politicians ñ where next? - a comment on the BBC 2 documentary on faith and politics in a plural society; Beyond the politics of fear - an Ekklesia response to the London bombings; Briefing on media accusations against Christian Peacemaker Teams; How Easter brings regime change - Simon Barrow says the Gospel means an end to the politics of death; Plea for armed forces chaplains likely to be rejected 26/05/06; Mennonites and Catholics seek to cooperate on peacemaking; Blair challenged by Christian peacemakers; Jesus commitment to nonviolence highlighted at St Peter's; Churches urged to consider more radical peacemaking following Iraq hostage crisis; Archive of comment and features on Christian Peacemaking; Movement celebrates 60 years of peacemaking; Peacemaking for Churches by Yvonne Joan Craig (book); Fragmentation of the Church and Its Unity in Peacemaking; (book); From the Ground Up: Mennnonite Contributions to International Pecaemaking (book); Christians join global war resisters gathering in the USA; [PDF] Becoming a Peace Church File Format - Adobe Acrobat]

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