Changing world... changing outlook

By Simon Barrow
August 25, 2013

Change is about structures, policies and politics, for sure. As a thinktank looking specifically at how belief and values can impact the arena of hard choices, we are the first to recognise that.

But without just people, a just society is a dream that cannot find lasting incarnation in different ways of behaving, relating, organising and resolving.

This requires a change of perspective, outlook and heart - so that what might be thought of as "the last, the least and the lost" (Indian theologian M. M Thomas) begin to take centre stage in our lives, and so that the love of power can give way to the power of love.

That goes to the core of the Christian gospel which inspires and sustains what Ekklesia has to offer, in dialogue and conversation (and sometimes constructive disputation) of others of good faith - 'religious' or not.

The search for a new, transformed and transformative way of seeing and thinking has also been at the heart of Just Festival 2013, which we have been delighted to be involved with again.

One of the thematic strands, indeed, has been 'Changing World', and here is a reflection from Diane Taylo,r Friends of the Bereaved Families forum manager, as a stimulus to the ongoing journey.

"Our globalised media provides us with instantaneous reports of catastrophes and gloomy political developments around the world. As a journalist I know that generally ‘good news’ doesn’t make news. The combination of the bias towards negative events and developments and the reporting of events at breakneck speed means that what we see in the media is often decontextualised and lacks real depth and perspective.

"As a result of the dominance of the media we often fail to notice much of the heartening and inspirational work that quietly continues all over the world. Children and young people bring their enthusiasm and idealism to a great deal of voluntary work which creates genuine change – helping old people, working with refugees and helping to preserve the environment. Much theatre, music and literature provides commentary on current situations that are far from ideal and show us a glimpse of a better world. The arts have the capacity to reach large numbers of people and to encourage them to think differently about things.

"There is a great deal of work going on to further peace, with a variety of different focuses – disarmament, reconciliation and good neighbourliness, all are part of the yearning to live in a ‘good’ society. While the headlines remain grim let’s not forget about all the inspiring work going on, on the ground at so many different levels to make our societies better, fairer and more peaceful places to live in."

Just Festival, also known simply as Just, runs from 2-26 August 2013. It is based at St John's Church, Edinburgh, and some 27 other occasional venues, and combines artistic and performance style events with conversations, talks, films, exhibits and other ways of exploring how to live together creatively in a mixed-belief society.

* For more information on Just Festival, visit http://www.justjust.org and http://justfestivalnews.blogspot.com

* Ekklesia is a sponsor of Just Festival. Our news, reporting and comment is aggregated at: www.ekklesia.co.uk/justfestival

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© Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia and a media adviser for Just Festival. He is a writer, theologian and consultant.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.