Christmas is actually much more about the real world than it is about a lovely story of far off places in far off times, says David Gamble. It demands faithful action for justice from us, not religious evasions.
Christians have moved from non-engagement to engagement in politics, says Simon Barrow, but often in domineering and selfish ways. To argue for church as alternative community is not to advocate either 'secularism' or 'religionism', but the recovery of authentic Christianity in a plural environment.
South African churches and the country's newly elected president, Jacob Zuma, are at loggerheads again over remarks made by the leader that his African National Congress party will "rule until Jesus comes".
Many who have committed their lives to working for change and justice in the world simply dismiss Jesus' teachings about nonviolence as impractical idealism, says Walter Wink. This is because they have not understood their true subversive nature and context.
There are many people who are not Christians who revere Jesus, says Martin Marty. But when his name is invoked in the civic arena they hear assertions of majority privilege in the religious realm, where privilege often has taken form in power against others.