Seven years ago this week, Ekklesia first published a report entitled 'When the Saints Go Marching Out: Redefining St George for a new era'. Simon Barrow shows how an old story re-told can also help us re-understand the rightful impact of the Gospel in the contemporary era, beyond imperial religion and politics.
My response to the debate about Christianity now raging across sections of the media is this: No, Britain is not a 'Christian country', but it is a country marked by the history and institutions of Christendom.
The long religious and secular weekend is over. The Bank Holiday draws to an end and the liturgical celebrations of Easter reached their climax the day before yesterday. As Quakers do not keep these 'times and seasons', I find myself caught in a challenging no-woman's land at Easter and Christmas.
In Holy Week, as the Prime Minister grew ever more vocal about his personal faith and the importance of Christian values, the Daily Express brought us the glad tidings that the PM’s colleague Iain Duncan Smith is ‘Winning the War on Benefits’. That’s a war on financial assistance to people who are old, sick, disabled, unemployed or working but paid too little to make ends meet.
The Rev Jim Cotter died early in Holy Week. Jim was known to many thousands of people through his books, articles, personal struggles, ministry, public speaking and spiritual direction over the years. Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow remembers him with gratitude, highlighting the connection between his life and that of one of his spiritual and wordsmithing mentors, the great Welsh poet R. S. Thomas.
Those of us whose trade is words do well to remember the relative value of a picture and a thousand words. The front page of the Guardian yesterday (17 April 2014) presented an unforgettable instance of the power this adage can carry.