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Research papers in the category Community and Family.
Young voters (here defined as 18 to 24-year-olds, including those who will be 18 year-olds by 7 May 2015) often discover themselves to be doubly damned. Through little fault of their own they may feel they have not much to say into the politics of the nation (because they have no real way to say it), and yet they are also condemned for caring too little about a political system that appears to them inaccessible and unconcerned. This paper argues that the system as it is at present is not sufficient and flexible enough to help young people to gain and maintain an interest in politics that would enable them to act and vote for what they believe in. It examines the current location of the young in British politics, considers what obstacles there are to their political engagement, sets out a broad and practical vision of change, and suggests ways to affirm the genuine representation of the young in British politics. It also looks at the role the churches and other civic groups may play in this area.
This pre-election 2015 paper from Ekklesia sets out in brief the scale of the housing crisis in Britain today, its impact on the poorest and most vulnerable, and the fundamental imbalances of wealth and distribution that characterise the current homes market. We suggest that re-investing in the social and mutual housing sectors for a broad socioeconomic swathe of the population – rather than creating ghettos of need – is critical to a fresh approach. As a modest contribution to the range of multi-layered policies that will be required to fix the housing system for this and future generations, we focus on a specific proposal from Paul Lusk for an intergenerational housing cooperative, the case for which is mapped out in detail. We then go on to note the positive role churches can play in challenging the current negative approach to housing as a social good and investment, highlighting the need to move from approaches which target the excluded poor towards ones which challenge the processes and policies that produce exclusion itself.
This research and discussion paper, revised in 2010 and re-issued in 2015, proposes that the figure of St George should be reclaimed according to his true, hidden story.
The earliest traditions of St George present him 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.
This paper (originally entitled When the Saints Go Marching Out: Redefining St George for a new era) proposes that St George’s Day should be re-conceived and re-launched as a national day to celebrate - among other things - an English contribution to the history of freedom, justice and dissent.
We suggest that this should be based on the witness of people like the abolitionists, the suffragettes and those who have sought to combat racism, ethnic nationalism, debt, poverty, colonialism and war with the vision of a nation and world open to all - and a modern Britain / Europe of diverse peoples.
For the churches, we argue, St George can be a post-Christendom saint - one who takes us beyond 'the church of power', to the church of freedom and service. He is a Christian figure, but he does not ‘belong’ to Christians.
This means that, in his 'faithful nonconformity', the figure of St George invites the churches to become better followers of Jesus Christ - by abandoning reliance on a romanticised military past and (in the case of the Church of England) a legacy of Establishment privilege – and seeking a better way of equality, peace and justice.
Both migration and elections are about choices – including, for many who wish to see a more just, peaceful and sustainable world – confronting what is often a depressing lack of palatable options provided by current thinking and vested interests. This paper by Vaughan Jones is about the relationship between migration (usually talked about as ‘immigration’, a one-dimensional term that itself betrays a particular way of looking at the matter) and the 2015 General Election. Its aim is to examine the people and concerns behind migration debates, and to point towards fresh perspectives that challenge deep-seated assumptions: assumptions that lead to less than humane policies and prescriptions, and which mostly ignore the larger geo-political realities impacting people movements. For the fundamental question is one that very few ask: “is migration really the issue?” Or is it a convenient way of avoiding other crucial global and local issues with which politicians find it difficult to engage? One route into these complex and vital concerns is provided by the role and perspective of churches and Christians – as influencers in public moral debate, and as diaspora communities themselves. The way they (alongside other civic groups) press for positive change, challenge widespread misperceptions, display hospitality and hold to a much larger vision can make a significant difference.
With the rise of people-based parties, civic movements for social change, and opposition to debt-deflationary austerity policies, aspects of politics in Europe are shifting in a progressive direction. But there is also a dark side, signaled by social dislocation, the scapegoating of minorities, toxic ideologies, and aggressive xenophobia. As a ‘democratic moment’ in this changing context, the UK General Election is being seen as potentially the most open in years. The major parties are being challenged on all sides. Political pluralism is growing. Will hope or trepidation prevail? This Ekklesia paper suggests that elections should be seen precisely as ‘moments of opportunity’ in a broader and wider political process that needs to be rooted in civic action and participation, rather than dominated by unaccountable elites. Our challenge to Christians and to all people of good faith (religious or otherwise) is to be courageous; to seek to ‘Vote for What You Believe In’, and to act for what you believe in, rather than succumbing to a reductionist narrative that says you can only get something slightly less worse than you fear. Here we offer a rationale for that positive approach, an overview of the changing political scene, Ten Core Values that provide a basis for interrogating parties and candidates, an encouragement to pledge ourselves to a politics of principle, consideration of fostering honest belief in politics and ‘voting as witness’, and extensive references and resources.
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