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'.
At the beginning of the first volume of Selena Axelrod Winsnes' English translation of Danish sources on West African history, originally published from 1697 to 1822, there is a reproduction of the opening text from a slave ship captain's log. It records the commencing of a journey "In the Name of Jesus."
Soothing 'Christmas messages' have become practically unavoidable, says Simon Barrow. But most of them are bland beyond belief. In truth the birth of Christ confronts us with something much more demanding - a choice between two ways of living in a world dominated by empire.
Theologian John Milbank's endorsement of British Prime Minister David Cameron's 'Big Society' project, and his attempt to baptise it with pro-Christendom rhetoric has more to do with timid conformity than 'Radical Orthodoxy, suggests fellow academic Steven Shakespeare - one of the founders of the Common Wealth network of Christians for economic and social justice.
"Sex and violence" is a hot-button phrase that if often used without thinking. But what do sex and violence really have to do with one another? Christians should be untangling the connection between them, but instead we seem to be contributing to the confusion.
For some Christians, coalition cuts and the "Big Society" are an opportunity for churches to extend their influence by taking over services run by the state. But the Gospel is not about increasing our own influence. In seeking to love our neighbours as ourselves, we need to be ready to stand up and resist a vicious assault on the welfare state.
The problem for Christians today is not primarily 'aggressive secularism', but the confusion of Christianity with power, says Simon Barrow. That and the the distortion of public debate about religiosity and secularity into a false dichotomy between dominating belief or privatised belief. A better way is needed - based on living by example, not the lust for control.