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This is a preliminary paper introducing the idea of Spiritual Capital, as part of Ekklesia's putative Spiritual Capital Project. The project would seek critically to evaluate and explore ideas of, the evidence base for, and the theological implications of 'Spiritual Capital'. Spiritual Capital is a term that refers to the positive benefits of spiritual, psychological and moral development to individuals, organisations and communities/societies. It seeks to measure these benefits in an objective manner, in a similar way to the way in which Social Capital claims to measure the socio-economic benefits of strong communities.
The recent elections in Iran have thrown up a host of vital questions about fraud, human rights, people power, opposition to theocracy, international solidarity, the role of the United States, and more. In this Q and A, reproduced on Ekklesia with the agreement of the US-based Campaign for Peace and Democracy, these questions are explored from the perspective of understanding and responding to the situation in Iran - and in particular support for the large number of Iranians seeking self-determination and justice rather than repression and dictatorship.
Since 2002, Ekklesia has been arguing that a key element of political and democratic renewal in Britain hinges on the encouragement of independent, citizen-based and associational politics as a counter-weight to the hegemony of top-down party elites, and as a challenge to a parliamentary and voting system badly in need of reform. This paper examines these ideas in theory and in practice. It offers Q&A responses to the criticisms that have been made about non-party candidates and 'alternative politics' in the context of the scandal over MPs' expenses and calls for change. The paper situates 'the rise of independents' in a wider context of 'politics as the people's work'. Finally it offers fresh perspectives on the relation of religion to politics and the creative role the churches can play in renewing democracy - after the 'power games' of Christendom. It includes substantial references and resources.
The Equality Bill 2008-2009, which will extend both to England and Wales, and to Scotland, covers age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. It also requires public authorities to do more to tackle the effects of socio-economic disadvantage. The Bill has received a hostile response among some religious groups, while the response of the large churches (including the Church of England) has been to welcome its principal aims while contesting aspects of its detail - particularly in terms of lobbying for opt-outs and provisions which would allow continued discrimination on grounds of sexuality and gender by faith bodies on grounds of 'upholding beliefs'. In this paper, Savitri Hensman assesses the issues and suggests that the churches need to move forward positively, on theological and practical grounds, in affirming comprehensive equalities in the public sphere. She also tackles the harm that discrimination and inequality causes, not least to the most vulnerable and those suffering prejudice.
The Church of England has huge assets as well as large responsibilities. In 2009 it lost £1.3 billion through its investments in shares and property. In April 2011 it announced that its assets increased in 2010 from £4.8 billion to £5.3 billion. This paper looks at some of the difficulties and contradictions of the Church's investment and finance policy, particularly the dislocation of financial decision making from integral mission and economic justice, which is both practically and theologically deficient. Acknowledging both the good intentions towards ethical practice and the constraints imposed by the legal and Established framework of the C of E, the paper argues that for Christian churches, economics needs to be re-located in the subversive and alternative calling of a Gospel community in an unjust world. It suggests there are many positive ways forward. The paper is authored by Jonathan Bartley and Simon Barrow.
Remembrance day: Goodbye to all that Guardian leader based on Ekklesia's 2009 report Reimagining Remembrance
Voters turn on main parties, Independent front page, reporting Ekklesia's survey results on independent politics, during the scandal over MP's expenses
Rebranding St George, The Times about Ekklesia's 2008 report on British identity
The Daily Telegraph on Ekklesia's 2007 proposals that the symbols we use to remember war, should involve those symbolising a commitment to peace
Guardian education features Ekklesia's 2006 report on alleged marginalisation of religion in universities, and proposals for addressing it
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