Judging from the volumes of media coverage and online comment the goings on at this week's General Synod have generated, popular nerves have definitely been touched. But of what kind and to what effect? Simon Barrow explores the case for establishing the independence of church and state, in this article looking at the issue primarily in terms of societal pluralism, but noting the theological concerns which are actually central to the case Ekklesia wishes to make for disestablishment.
Theologian Tryon Edwards has suggested right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past. In that sense, says Jonathan Bartley, true apologies are yet to be forthcoming in many areas of public life today.
Father Michael Rodrigo’s life and witness in Sri Lanka reflect the importance of perseverance, hope and faith in a better future, says Savi Hensman. This remarkable man still has something to say today, when all too many people live precariously in a divided and often violent world.
If Welby can hold on to his emphasis on enabling ‘ordinary’ Christians, and those of their neighbours who are seeking a more just and compassionate world, he can offer the kind of leadership needed at a time when idols have been falling, says Savi Hensman, a long-standing commentator on Anglican affairs and church and society issues.
There is room for real, substantial reform to the EU budget and many other aspects of the functioning and policy of European institutions, says Simon Barrow. But to address these issues properly, Britain’s political leaders should abandon rather than feed the narrow Westminster mindset that the recent EU budget row exemplifies.
When UK chancellor George Osborne and other ministers pledged to slash benefits further, and remove basic rights, while protecting the assets of millionaires, some words of the prophet Zechariah two-and-a-half millennia ago seemed appropriate, says Savi Hensman. She challenges people of faith to develop a more critical perspective on leadership, both political and religious.
With 'the big three' parties all singing from the same austerity hymn sheet and promising cuts in social security that differ mainly in degree, says Simon Barrow, it is surely the most vulnerable in society who are set to be the biggest losers from the conference season political jamborees.
If a future Archbishop of Canterbury were outspoken in defence of church privilege or the right to discriminate or exploit, this could do more harm than good, writes Savi Hensman. It is also important not to expect one man, whatever his gifts and office, to substitute for the wider church community.
Now that the medals have long been awarded, the plaudits made and the ceremonies completed, the final Olympic and Paralympic contest is underway, notes Simon Barrow. Who will claim political gold in the much-publicized Games ‘legacy’ race?
In 2011, the International Panel on the State of the Oceans (IPSO), representing all marine science bodies, concluded that, “the world’s ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction… unprecedented in human history.” Simon Barrow explores the issue of water from a biblical perspective.