The assertion that “those at the top and those at the bottom are being hit hardest” by the government's austerity policies suggests a misleading equivalence, says Simon Barrow. In reality it is those with least who are being punished most.
Setting the Church of England free would be in its own interests, says Simon Barrow, as the disestablishment debate rears its head again following the General Synod debacle over women bishops. The Christian religion’s claim to truth and authority resides neither in state nor market, but in systems of belief and community which it should be capable of developing through bodies that are part of civic society.
The Church of England’s attempts to placate a small minority strongly opposed to women’s ordination have plunged it into crisis, without satisfying these opponents, says Savi Hensman. What is the way forward now? Deep theological and practical questions need to be addressed, and the answers explained in ways that those who are not professional theologians can understand.
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.