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Research papers in the category Globalisation and Development.
There are too many Christians today – both for and against full inclusion of partnered LGBT people – who have little awareness of the debates that have taken place in theological circles over the past sixty years, and the process by which so many theologians today have come to support greater inclusion. Some seem to believe that calls for acceptance in the church are based on embracing society’s values (at least in parts of the world where same-sex relationships are by and large accepted) and ignoring those aspects of the Bible and church tradition that do not fit. This is regarded as a mark of either faithlessness or progress, depending on people’s own views on the subject.
However this does not in any way do justice to the considered work of most theologians who have argued the case for greater inclusion, drawing deeply on the witness of the Bible and the church through the ages, to discern how God has been and is at work in a complex and constantly changing world. Moreover it makes it harder to find common ground to enable fellowship and dialogue among those with different views, and promote mutual understanding even if disagreement persists.
In this paper, Savi Hensman gives a detailed overview of some of the most significant affirmative theological work on same-sex love and the Christian tradition. She demonstrates the unhelpful and simplistic positing of a straightforward 'conservative versus liberal' divide on these issues, and draws on Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed, Quaker and Anabaptist/Mennonite thinkers.
The possibility of opening up marriage in Britain by law to same-sex couples has been criticised by some Christians but welcomed by others. One of the more thoughtful critics is theologian John Milbank, who has eloquently expressed some common arguments against change. This response by Savi Hensman suggests that, while he raises important issues, his analysis is ultimately flawed. Taking into account such topics as tradition, sexual ‘complementarity’, childbearing and sacrament, there is a strong case for equal marriage.
This article focuses primarily on the use and misuses of St Paul in fractious contemporary church debates about sexuality and gender. It can also be read in parallel with the growing body of theological and historical work on re-understanding one of the key figures in the history of Christianity, suggesting that Paul’s project was to create a new community and dynamic which was capable of re-energising the suppressed radicalism of Torah religion in a dangerously imperialistic setting.
The Children’s Society, Action for Children and NSPCC came together earlier in 2012 to commission joint research that calculates the impact of the recession and austerity measures on vulnerable children for the first time. This has been published as the attached report (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat), In the Eye of the Storm: Britain’s forgotten children and families. Ekklesia was not involved in the report’s production or commissioning, but we are pleased to promote and support its aims and findings. The research sets out to: (1) measure the number of families with children in Britain who are most vulnerable to adverse economic conditions, using a number of different definitions of ‘vulnerability’; and (2) estimate how these families will be affected over the next few years by the changes to tax and benefits, cuts to public services and the on-going effects of the post-2008 economic downturn.
Despite the fact that the Queen is Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Christianity’s relationship with monarchy is complex. This was highlighted in 2010, when the Anglican Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Rev Pete Broadbent, made critical comments on the announcement of the engagement of Prince William to Catherine Middleton. Bishop Broadbent declared on Facebook that he was a republican, called the Royal Family "philanderers" and said that the basis of the monarchy was "corrupt and sexist".
The Rt Rev Richard Chartres, the Anglican Bishop of London, said that he was "appalled" by Broadbent's comments and expressed his "dismay on behalf of the Church". There is however a strong tradition of Christian Republicanism in the UK: to ignore it would be to take a very narrow, limited view of Christianity.
The Jewish and Christian concept of Jubilee too – something which is about liberation for the poor - seems to sit awkwardly with an institution based on power and wealth. This discussion paper briefly explores some alternative perspectives on the Jubilee, and its legacy. It also links a some substantial previously published Ekklesia articles on monarchy, the subversive meaning of the kingdom of God and related issues.
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