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Research papers in the category People and Power.
Following the 2 October 2006 shooting that killed five Amish girls and wounded five others in the USA, three investigators (Dr Donald B. Kraybill, Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania, Dr Steven M. Nolt, Goshen College, Indiana, and Dr David Weaver-Zercher, Messiah College, Pennsylvania) explored why and how the Amish expressed forgiveness in the wake of the shooting. The research methods involved face-to-face interviews with Amish people to probe their practice of forgiveness. In addition the researchers pursued Amish writings on forgiveness as well as historical examples when Amish people forgave those who wronged them. The investigators also reviewed hundreds of media stories and editorials on Amish forgiveness at Nickel Mines. Finally, the investigation compared Amish practices of forgiveness with broader studies of forgiveness in American society. The research was conducted from 1 November 2006 through to 1 April 2007. The results are summarised below and have been released in the new book Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy (Jossey-Bass, 2007) - available from the Ekklesia online bookshop.
The Religion and Secularism Network is coordinating a programme of lectures and workshops taking place at the University of Cambridge and elsewhere - aiming to clarify the relationship between the state and religion conceptually and empirically. It is funded under the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Workshop. It is coordinated by David Lehmann, John Barber, Humeira Iqtidar and Emile Perreau-Saussine. This is a project Ekklesia is participating in rather than running. We are endorsing, supporting and collaborating in it as part of our own research/discussion programme on inclusive models of secularity and the challenge of post-Christendom - Reconsidering the Secular.
In a society which is publicly sceptical of Christianity and which often assumes that all 'God talk' is superstituous or merely subjective, this paper suggests how the basic grammar of Christian belief can make sense today, and how it can be mapped in relation to key issues like globalisation, responding to human suffering, and the crisis of communication within mixed-conviction societies. Unlike many of Ekklesia's research papers, it is not directly tackling public policy issues, but instead is an extended essay exploring (especially through the work of Nicholas Lash, and others) some fundamental questions about how Christian convictions are shaped and articulated in the public realm. This is important, because much of our work and commentary employs explicitly theological language - although usually at a more popular level. The paper seeks to show that the meaning of 'God' is widely misunderstood, both by believers and sceptics, and that Christian theology offers some distinctive and robust resources for coming to terms with the demands of daily life, politics, culture, economics and society - but not in the easy, prescriptive way that is usually supposed. It includes a brief historical look at how and why talk of God became meaningless for so many in Western culture - before moving on to show how Christian thought becomes intelligible and effective once more when it is embodied in relationships, passionate conversation, shared living and action for change, rather than in abstract metaphysical categories. The essay does not presuppose wide theological reading, but it is a fairly dense exploration of some foundational issues. [Updated July 2007]
In the global intra-Anglican 'wars' about sexuality, biblical interpretation, authority and church polity, The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the USA has been singled out from other Anglican provinces and subjected to harsh criticism and threats of expulsion. Why is this? What are the underlying issues about the use of Scripture and other questions which explain why TEC is such a bone of contention? Can Christians learn to handle differences in more creative ways which honour the life-giving Gospel message they are supposed to exemplify?
You can read a new report and analysis from Ekklesia associate Savitri Hensman in *.PDF form here
A nine point summary is given below.
This paper proposes that the figure of St George should be reclaimed according to his true, hidden story – as a dissenter against the abuse of power, a contrast to religious crusades, a global figure we share with other nations, someone who offered hospitality to the vulnerable, and a champion of right rather than might.
It proposes that St George’s Day should be re-branded as a national day to celebrate an English contribution to the history of dissent – the witness of people like the abolitionists, the suffragettes and those who have sought to combat racism, nationalism, debt, poverty, colonialism and war with the vision of a nation and world open to all.
For the churches, we believe, St George can be a post-Christendom saint. He is a Christian figure, but he does not ‘belong’ to Christians. However, in his faithful nonconformity he invites the churches to become better servants of Jesus by abandoning reliance on a romanticised past and (in the case of the Church of England) a legacy of Establishment privilege – and seeking a better way.
Fear or Freedom?: Why a Warring Church Must Change by Simon Barrow (Ed)
The Subversive Manifesto: Lifting the Lid on God's Political Agenda by Jonathan Bartley
Faith and Politics After Christendom: The Church as a Movement for Anarchy by Jonathan Bartley
Consuming Passion: Why the Killing of Jesus Really Matters by Simon Barrow and Jonathan Bartley (Eds)
Threatened with Resurrection: The Difficult Peace of Christ by Simon Barrow