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

  • 17 Oct 2010

    Many progressive Christians found themselves experiencing profoundly mixed feelings both about Pope Benedict’s visit and about the protests against it, says Simon Barrow. This is perhaps because neither imperial religion nor rejectionist forms of secularism are adequate to the task of remaking public life and public faith.

  • 17 Oct 2010

    Party conferences, at least for the 'big three', have become an elaborate ritual for the faithful, says Simon Barrow. But their well-spun manoeuvres have little to do with the 'new politics', let alone the harsh word of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

  • 27 Sep 2010

    The received wisdom perpetuated by the government is that deep and immediate public spending cuts are necessary and beneficial, says Simon Barrow. But there are strong economic arguments that point towards investment in long-term sustainability rather than hitting the most vulnerable to reduce the deficit.

  • 29 Aug 2010

    Neither fundamentalism nor functionalism offer a way forward for the churches today in terms of their public witness and political engagement, says Simon Barrow. The different stances taken by church bodies in the 2010 general election suggest important lessons for the future.

  • 18 Aug 2010

    The government has retained support despite promises of swingeing cuts, the Lib Dems have gained little credit for their coalescing, and Labour has been on the up despite being leaderless and rudderless. Simon Barrow looks at the unreal politics of the parliamentary recess.

  • 27 Jul 2010

    Investing in tradition-based pluralism rather than feeding monopoly needs to be the future of both religion and media, says Simon Barrow. And not just in the interactions between the two overlapping realms.

  • 6 Jul 2010

    The origins of Christianity are in a dynamic and free movement around Jesus, but much of its history is bound up with institutional religion, says Simon Barrow. The challenge is to continue to respond to the transformative impulse of the Gospel, even in the midst of organisation and complexity.

  • 23 Jun 2010

    What kind of 'narrative' is the new post-election, post-budget coalition government trying to create, asks Simon Barrow, and what is its ratio of substance to spin, of new politics to old-fashioned collusion? Moreover, how will Labour and extra-parliamentary activists who question the underlying Westminster consensus respond?

  • 10 May 2010

    The status quo based on monopolistic politics and dominating religion is being challenged as never before, says Simon Barrow. This creates fresh and energising opportunities for cooperation across received 'religious' and 'secular' divides for a new era, and requires a new Christian vision too.

  • 6 May 2010

    The 2010 General Election campaign has been more volatile and interesting than anyone could have predicted, and the outcome now sits on a knife-edge, says Simon Barrow. But whichever way it goes, there is an opportunity for genuine, ground-up, civic based change. We must not ignore or miss it.

  • 28 Apr 2010

    The media isn't someone or something else, it's also us, says Simon Barrow. He goes on to examine the challenge of truthful communication in a PR-driven world, and to offer a picture of what authentically Christian communication might look like.

  • 17 Apr 2010

    The hype around Lib Dem chief Nick Clegg has been extraordinary in the wake of the first UK election Leaders' Debate, says Simon Barrow. But is this all froth, or does the shift it seems to signal represent something deeper for reform and a renewed politics?

  • 16 Apr 2010

    The likely outcome of the General Election is another victory for 'Lablibservatism', the dominant three-way economic and political status quo, says Simon Barrow. Yet cracks are showing and the possibility of a hung parliament could make deeper change possible.

  • 6 Apr 2010

    As the predicted politicking gets underway across Britain today, Simon Barrow argues that underneath and beyond General Election 2010 is a much more important 'ethics election' on who we are and what really matters for people, peace and planet.

  • 22 Mar 2010

    Jesus' affirmation of one woman's extravagant generosity and his comments about abiding poverty are not about forsaking justice for individualistic charity, says Simon Barrow. Quite the reverse. They signal the in-breaking of a new order of being and living in a divided world.