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

  • 15 Jul 2009

    Genuine hope is quite different from optimism or wishful thinking, says Simon Barrow. To understand it we need fresh eyes attuned to the artfulness of reality and the presence of love even in the midst of suffering.

  • 8 Jul 2009

    “Reform so as to preserve” is still the mantra of the political elite in Britain. But civil society organisations, faith groups, politicians and ordinary people can help change the agenda, says Simon Barrow.

  • 28 Jun 2009

    Public life demands ‘tough’ corporate attributes rather than what it labels ‘soft’ personal ones – like love and gratitude. Simon Barrow argues that the communal cultivation of loving relation is needed to help redirect the official anonymity of the social order.

  • 21 Jun 2009

    As the political fallout from recent scandals continues, many are in favour of change, says Simon Barrow. But they do not necessarily want this change to make any real difference.

  • 21 Jun 2009

    A cruciform tree, a radiating Cain eyed by a simmering Abel, and a doveish floating vision: these are just a few of the images you will see as part of the vital but little-known Methodist Art Collection, says Simon Barrow.

  • 7 Jun 2009

    Often Christians behave as if their central convictions about God has little practical bearing on the world and its problems, says Simon Barrow. On the contrary, being engaged by the Trinitarian mystery of God is central to facing up to the world's lesions with realism and hope.

  • 15 May 2009

    Dismissing those who want to reform faith schools as 'useful idiots' for a 'secularist conspiracy' misrepresents the facts, feeds absolutism and undermines sensible debate, say Simon Barrow & Jonathan Bartley. It also shows how weak the anti-reform case really is.

  • 13 May 2009

    The furore about MP’s expenses has temporarily overshadowed all other political issues, says Simon Barrow. But it is perhaps better seen as a symptom of a much wider disconnect between governors and governed.

  • 26 Apr 2009

    Some traditional loyalties bind us to dominant economic, political, social and religious systems, says Simon Barrow. The Gospel of Jesus turns such commitments upside down.

  • 18 Apr 2009

    You often get more preoccupation with finance in church meetings and more serious attention to God in political meetings, says Simon Barrow. At least in terms of being sanguine about their respective claims. Sometimes.

  • 12 Apr 2009

    Theologian Janet Soskice has written a fascinating book about the discovery of one of the most ancient Gospel manuscripts. It reminds us that to understand the search for meaning in the present we have to value the past properly, says Simon Barrow.

  • 7 Apr 2009

    Church leaders are "angrily" criticising the Premier League in England for holding football matches on Easter Sunday, a prime Bank Holiday in the UK. Simon Barrow argues that a more imaginative response is needed.

  • 2 Apr 2009

    The recent ‘war of position’ on the economic crisis is more about the politics of appearance than the politics of change, says Simon Barrow. The real agenda cuts much deeper.

  • 31 Mar 2009

    It is understandable that some people feel sceptical about demonstrations in the wake of events like the G20 summit, says Simon Barrow. But mobilisation for change needs to be seen as part of a larger process of change, not as an act of disconnected idealism.

  • 16 Mar 2009

    In a recent lecture given at the Royal Academy of Arts, reports Simon Barrow, the Archbishop of Canterbury explored aspects of how icons are examples of the way in which in which divine energy is present in material reality.