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Not long before he died in August last year (2012), the Catholic Archbishop of Milan and papal candidate Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini's final comments on the Church were that its leadership was “200 years out of date” - bureaucratic, pompous, autocratic, inflexible and seemingly remote from the spirit of Christ on key issues.
We live in an era where people are inquisitive about spirituality, but hugely distrustful or even hostile towards ‘organised religion’, especially in its Christian forms.
Along with Ekklesia associate Carla J. Roth (who has a special interest in legally-related church and society issues), I am attending the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland meeting in Edinburgh this week, both as a media representative and also in a networking capacity.
Very frequently, discourse about religion - which, with the changes in perception taking place in the world over the past decade has come back onto the global and political agenda with great force - remains stuck in a series of un-enlightening polarities.
From my point of view, one of the major stories from 2011 has to be the growth of the Occupy movement - which in many places, not least London, has shown itself to be more than a ragged protest. Rather, it is a movement looking to make a sustained, subversive impact on our dominant political and economic processes.