A theatre company has drawn heavy criticism for advertising for a “white male actor” to play the part of Jesus in a central London passion play. Critics have accused the company of ignoring the historical reality that Jesus was Palestinian.
The story of the Magi has touched the hearts and stirred the imagination of many through the ages, says Savi Hensman. But the story has a wry twist which does not flatter the religiously self-righteous.
In these final days of the year, Christians who follow the church calendar remember that children were massacred by Herod 2000 years ago, says Gene Stoltzfus. The story has much to teach us about the inherent conflict between the Gospel and empire.
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.