Reflecting on the relevance of religion in today’s world, the World Council of Churches General Secretary, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit spoke at a sustainable development seminar in Rome on 4 May, posing a question to the participants: “Is religion able to bring hope to people of today?”
“Even the burial of his body in the Abbey was a species of theft when you come to think of it”. George Orwell's words came into my mind as I watched the ceremonies surrounding today's 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens.
After more than two years working for an aid agency you would have thought I’d be used to bad news. But, do you know, the emphasis of CAFOD’s work is about the solution – the good stuff that can and will be done to make difficult situations better, to push against injustice, to offer people the tools to get themselves and their families further away from the red lines of poverty and abuse.
Back in 2000 I was honoured to be part of a British and Irish churches' team supporting an interreligious peace delegation from Sri Lanka on a visit to build solidarity links here. One of the participants was Duleep de Chickera, now Anglican Bishop of Colombo. A remarkable man, his 2010 Easter message of hope has a resonance both within and beyond the particular tragedies of Sri Lanka.
Genuine hope is quite different from optimism or wishful thinking, says Simon Barrow. To understand it we need fresh eyes attuned to the artfulness of reality and the presence of love even in the midst of suffering.
Religion that binds others with condemnation and superstition is far from the heart of the Gospel, says Simon Barrow. The church needs to face its arguments and seek to be a place of healing if it is to rediscover its global role.
The notion and shape of 'the land' means many things to many people, as the contradictory responses to this 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel are showing. Simon Barrow looks at the relationship between rootedness and aspiration.