Many progressive Christians found themselves experiencing profoundly mixed feelings both about Pope Benedict’s visit and about the protests against it, says Simon Barrow. This is perhaps because neither imperial religion nor rejectionist forms of secularism are adequate to the task of remaking public life and public faith.
If you've ever campaigned for political change you've probably had someone tell you to “live in the real world”. But witnessing to the truth that Jesus taught involves acting in accordance with the realities our society denies.
The programme of the Greenbelt Christian festival this weekend declares that disagreement is “essential to discovery”. This is an inspiring sentiment to hear in Christian circles, all the more so when it appears to be said with sincerity.
When Christians explore nonviolence, we do so with the legacy of Christian collusion with militarism hanging over us. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the confusion around Christian attitudes to the armed forces.
Some Christians throw around the word "sin" fairly unthinkingly, while others have become rather embarrassed by it. To talk about "sin" clearly and justly, we need to address the confusion of both society and churches around two major issues - sex and violence.
British Christians have firmly rejected sectarian party politics by offering almost no support at all to the Christian Party, who secured less than two per cent of the vote in each of the 71 constituencies they contested.
The status quo based on monopolistic politics and dominating religion is being challenged as never before, says Simon Barrow. This creates fresh and energising opportunities for cooperation across received 'religious' and 'secular' divides for a new era, and requires a new Christian vision too.