Features

  • 19 Dec 2014

    The ‘power’ of Christmas – as symbol, story, narrative, myth – lies in its reminder of God’s disinterest in glamour, cool and position. It reminds us that God, as ultimate Other, does not need all the things many of us think are fundamental, but are actually props for our vanity, our position, and even our desire to serve the institution, says the Rev Rachel Mann in an intensely personal reflection on the meaning of the season.

  • 02 Dec 2014

    In Africa, where up to 40 per cent of the health care facilities are provided by faith related organisations, Dr Mirfin Mpundu, executive director of the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN), says that due to their unique position, churches can play a special role in eliminating HIV and AIDS and bringing improvements in the lives of people living with the virus.

  • 29 Nov 2014

    Pope Francis has undertaken a fourth papal visit to Turkey amid much ignorance and misunderstanding. Ekklesia associate and regional expert Dr Harry Hagopian says that the present leader of the worldwide Catholic Church came to Ankara and Istanbul with three overarching objectives. He looks at what those are and why they are important politically and religiously.

  • 15 Nov 2014

    The belief that violence “saves” is so successful because it doesn’t seem to be mythic in the least. Violence simply appears to be the nature of things. It’s what works. It seems inevitable, the last and, often, the first resort in conflicts, says the late Professor Walter Wink. If a god is what you turn to when all else fails, violence certainly functions as a god. What people overlook, then, is the religious character of violence. It demands from its devotees an absolute obedience-unto-death. It requires a theological critique.

  • 14 Nov 2014

    Is the Jerusalem that we all claim to love not bigger than ego-politics, self-interest or self-aggrandisement, asks Ekklesia associate and regional expert Dr Harry Hagopian, surveying the fate of the city. We are all held hostage to ego-politics that negate win-win solutions. Yet, such win-win solutions alone can resolve this conflict. Walls or fences cannot protect a whole people. Nor can military might, religious radicalism and extremism. What is critical is the elusive good will that facilitates peace.

  • 03 Nov 2014

    The Christian Gospel amplifies the prophet’s call to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.” This summons is addressed to the whole church, all its members. It is of the essence of the Way of Wisdom and should be the basis of high quality and wide-ranging theological training, says Professor Deirdre Good, one of eight senior faculty members seeking reinstatement at General Theological Seminary in New York, after they took action to highlight abusive behaviour.

  • 21 Oct 2014

    Recognition of the Armenian genocide does not start with the UK, or the USA and Israel, but rather with Turkey itself. And the past century has shown us how hard it is to wrest recognition from Turkey. Similarly, the creation of a sovereign Palestine does not start with the EU or the Arab league as much as it does with Israel, says Ekklesia associate and regional expert Dr Harry Hagopian. Yet it seems increasingly difficult to get those with most power to accept political truth-telling as an essential component of any attempt to achieve justice, peace and security for peoples involved in long-standing conflicts.

  • 08 Oct 2014

    All over Scotland, people are still trying to work out what exactly just happened in the referendum on 18 September 2014. Tam McTurk looks beneath the timbers of the vote and raises constructive questions about the future of the Yes movement for social change and the rush to join pro-independence political parties.

  • 05 Oct 2014

    The West has a lot to answer for in terms of its colonial past, influence over the region and propping up of dictators. But this also means that it should have learned much over the years. So can it exercise some humility and apply those lessons intelligently? Ekklesia associate and MENA region expert Dr Harry Hagopian looks behind the horrific killing of Alan Hennings to ask what sustains IS/ISIL and what can be done to marginalise them.

  • 02 Oct 2014

    Thinking about how to respond to ISIS/IS, and in view of the perilous realities of Iraq and Syria, have we tended to ignore the increasing tensions in Palestine and the relationship between all these? Regional commentator and Ekklesia associate Dr Harry Hagopian argues that ISIS cannot be dealt with by brute force and must be countered by political solutions that re-enfranchise the peoples of the region.