Ebola, war, terrorism, injustice, inequality, squalid government, torture. Sometimes the inventory of cruelty and suffering seems overwhelming. The temptation to spiral into despair and the cynicism born of helplessness can assail us all. But sometimes a glimmer comes in the darkness and smallness no longer seems to equal futility.
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has urged world leaders to find new ways to broker peace at the commemoration of 100 years since the outbreak of WW1 at Glasgow Cathedral.
Theologian and Anglican clergyman Sam Wells, who among other things is a specialist on the writings and thought of doyen Anabaptist-oriented public intellectual Stanley Hauerwas, has worked with Marcia Owen in the practical Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham (RCND) in the USA, as well as on a stimulating book called Living Without Enemies: Being Present in the Midst of Violence (InterVarsity Press, 2011).
On Sunday 26 January 2014, BBC1's ethics and beliefs discussion show, The Big Questions, features a special edition recorded at Oasis Academy MediaCityUK in Salford, where presenter Nicky Campbell will be asking just one Big Question: Is war ever just?