While attempts to 'Christianise' the Occupy movement from above are rightly being resisted within and without the protest outside St Paul's Cathedral, there are profound Christian lessons to be learned from 'the Church of Occupy', suggests Simon Barrow. The juxtaposition of movement and institution dramatises the questions and issues raised by the uneven transition from Christendom to post-Christendom.
As with the leadership of the Church of England, the main Westminster parties have struggled to know how to respond to the Occupy London Stock Exchange camp, says Simon Barrow. He questions and deconstructs the idea that the tent protests have been 'unconstructive' politically and 'disastrous' religiously. Quite the reverse, he suggests.
The core to Archbishop Desmond Tutu's appeal, and to the opposition he has also elcited, lies in his sheer humanity as well as his fidelity to the core of the Christian message, says Simon Barrow. This is a pattern which holds out hope for the future of Christianity in dark times.
Theology is ‘wrestling with the unfathomable mystery of God’, but to enlighten rather than to obscure, says Simon Barrow, paying tribute to two Mennonite scholars and pastors, Alan and Eleanor Kreider, as part of a festschrift entitled 'Forming Christian Habits in Post-Christendom'.
We are likely to understand situations like the recent cairo protests more readily by examining the social and political pressures involved for both the protesters and the security forces, says Michael Marten - rather than seeking to make broad statements equating Christian and Muslim beliefs and practices.
Whether you find him inspiring or exasperating (and I sometimes find him both!), the work of US theologian Stanley Hauerwas provides a challenging alternative vision of church as subversive, exemplary community - rather than the cement or glue of society, as in the top-down Christendom model.
Armed forces chaplains play a crucial role in providing pastoral support to people who face danger and death on a daily basis. But chaplains' independence is compromised by the fact that they are members of the forces themselves. Churches that take a stand on wider issues of peace and war are rarely willing to question the ethics of the armed forces. Why has this situation arisen? And how can we change it?