The Savi Hensman Column

Savi Hensman reflects on religion, society and politics

  • 5 Feb 2013

    In the run-up to a parliamentary debate on 5 February 2013, the thinktank ResPublica has published a paper opposing equal marriage. The authors, Roger Scruton and Phillip Blond, both well-known in Conservative circles, appear to argue that allowing same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples to marry undermines Western civilisation, says Ekklesia associate Savitri Hensman. The paper makes some interesting points, but its case is ultimately flawed and unreliable on practical, theological, historical and legal grounds.

  • 19 Jan 2013

    When those in power disregard human rights and undermine the rule of law, the results can be horrific, observes Savitri Hensman, commenting on recent developments in Sri Lanka. It is to be hoped that, today, non-violent means of resistance will be used, as Sri Lankans and those who care about Sri Lanka seek to defend democracy and civil liberties.

  • 24 Dec 2012

    While Christians should indeed examine social and cultural changes critically, the fearfulness of the Pope about shifting attitudes to gender and sexual orientation seems excessive, says Savitri Hensman. Christmas should be a time of celebration in response to God’s generous love, through which barriers are broken down and humanity’s potential fulfilled.

  • 13 Dec 2012

    On the matter of marriage equality, the recent UK government announcement focused less on the loving hope of those who will gain, and more on others’ fears, in response to the negativity of some church leaders who oppose change, notes Savitri Hensman. The public image this projects is strongly discriminatory, and the churches are missing a huge opportunity to witness to the all-embracing love of God.

  • 27 Nov 2012

    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.

  • 16 Nov 2012

    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.

  • 9 Nov 2012

    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.

  • 22 Oct 2012

    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.

  • 9 Oct 2012

    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.

  • 31 Jul 2012

    Those across the country who care about human rights for all should oppose the trend to push disabled people into cheap and cheerless institutional living, says Savi Hensman. While councils do indeed face difficult financial challenges, taking away basic rights from any section of the community is not the answer.

  • 13 Jul 2012

    The Church of England has still not positively resolved the issue of women bishops, notes Savi Hensman. Both deeper listening and clearer leadership are needed in affirming a vision of an inclusive, mission-oriented church open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

  • 7 Jun 2012

    Last-minute changes have complicated the Church of England’s slow progress towards allowing women to be bishops, says Savi Hensman. Attempts to placate opponents are unhelpfully stalling the process further.

  • 1 May 2012

    The Voice, a new translation of the Bible, has sparked an impassioned but not always very well-informed debate about the nature of the text, observes Savi Hensman. But skilful understanding and interpretation invite open-heartedness, not close-mindedness, she suggests.

  • 2 Apr 2012

    The God whom Christians worship is no stranger to suffering and defeat, says Savi Hensman. The cross is at the heart of the faith, with all its richness of meaning, including the divine willingness to engage at the deepest level with a flawed and broken world, for love’s sake to confront the forces of death and destruction and pay the price.

  • 16 Mar 2012

    Families and communities may be made up of single people, couples and smaller sub-groups or networks, differing in sexual orientation, gender identity and many other ways, says Savi Hensman. In the Christian vision, and especially in the community of Christ, all may make a unique contribution, and grow in unique ways while drawing closer to the One whose love sustains the universe, brings abundant blessings and satisfies the deepest thirst.