The Simon Barrow Column

Reflecting on how Christian political imagination can help change society's agenda. Follow Simon on Twitter here: www.twitter.com/simonbarrow

  • 9 Jul 2015

    It would be quite misleading to describe the 2015 Summer Budget as a “one nation budget” or as favouring “working families” and “giving the nation a pay rise” in any meaningful sense, says Simon Barrow. On the contrary it hits low income households and disabled people, and will increase further Britain’s alarming levels of inequality.

  • 23 Jan 2015

    We have suddenly become a world that talks about inequality. That's certainly better than not talking about it. But waxing lyrical about a concern and doing something about it are not the same thing, says Simon Barrow, pointing to the deeper issues calling for action.

  • 11 Jan 2015

    Academics and church leaders are among those mourning the loss of Edward Farley, a scholar and writer of "constructive theology", who died at the end of last year (2014) at the age of 85. Simon Barrow looks at his legacy and significance for practical and applied theology.

  • 26 Dec 2014

    Has the usual seasonal avalanche of "they're trying to ban Christmas!" stories abated somewhat, at least in Britain? Simon Barrow looks at the evidence and asks what it says to us about the church and Christianity in an emerging post-Chrstendom era.

  • 12 Nov 2014

    In his 2014 book 'The Great and Holy War: How World War I changed religion forever' author and academic Philip Jenkins paints a picture of faith, and especially Christian faith, mired in blood. Is there a way out after Christendom?

  • 16 Oct 2014

    Can Nicola Sturgeon, as new leader of the SNP and Scotland's First Minister, inject some fresh energy and spirit into politics at Holyrood, and honour the desire for transformational change that came out of the referendum? Simon Barrow looks at her outlook and style as she steps further into the limelight.

  • 25 Apr 2014

    Roughly 420,000 English-born people will have a vote in Scotland’s independence referendum later this year, because they live and work here. Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow. Here he gives a personal account of his shift towards supporting a "Yes" vote – but on the firm basis of solidarity, not separation.

  • 23 Apr 2014

    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.

  • 18 Apr 2014

    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.

  • 19 Mar 2014

    The contested details of the latest proposals from the UK Chancellor are only partly illustrative of the momentous economic challenge that lies behind and beyond the Budget, says Simon Barrow. Right now the entire system based at Westminster is failing adequately to comprehend and address, let alone tackle, the really big issues in which economics is a major factor.

  • 11 Feb 2014

    Pioneering Lutheran theologian, anti-Nazi resister, educator, ecumenist, poet, pastor and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born on 4 February 1906. Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow introduces an important new book which challenges the myth of his abandonment of peacemaking and recovers his call to the way of Christ.

  • 14 Jan 2014

    The arrival of Ann Pettifor's latest book, 'Just Money: How society can break the despotic power of finance' is an important publishing moment, says Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow. It unmasks the false ideologies of austerity and neoliberalism.

  • 13 Jan 2014

    A new book from Christian Fuchs, 'Social Media: A Critical Introduction', discusses the relationship between social media and power structures in contemporary society. Simon Barrow examines the issues.

  • 16 Dec 2013

    The government’s Transparency in Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill – described in the Financial Times as “one of the worst pieces of legislation put before the Houses of Parliament for many moons” – enters Committee stage in parliament on 16 and 18 December 2013, and goes to Report stage on 13 and 15 January 2014. Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow explains what is wrong with this dangerous piece of legislation and how it can be, and is being, challenged.

  • 31 Oct 2013

    The tenth assembly of the World Council of Churches, like many ecumenical gatherings, is facing strong opposition and criticism from fundamentalist-style Christian groups, notes Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow. The answer this is not to adopt the mindset and rejectionism of our opponents, but to engage with with difference and “otherness” however difficult and challenging that might be.