Changing times may be best served by less rigidity about symbols, says Jill Segger. As the centenary of World War I approaches, she suggests that the white poppy opens up a space in which remembrance can go hand in hand with repentance for the failure that is war.
According to the US state department, a strike on Syria could come "within days" as military assets are "ready to go". Simon Barrow looks at what underlies both the accusations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and the current US-driven fervour for another military intervention in the troubled region.
“All war represents a failure of diplomacy.” Tony Benn's words are no less true for being so widely and frequently repeated. That the failure brings immeasurable suffering which cascades down through the generations, is beyond dispute.
For many people these days, much 'religion' has become synonymous with division, bigotry and violence. Sadly, there is plenty of good evidence that this is so. But it is not the whole picture. There are very strong faith traditions that point in exactly the opposite direction.
Goshen College, a prominent Mennonite liberal arts institution, has reversed its decision to play the militaristic and nationalistic US national anthem at sports events. Andy Alexis-Baker welcomes the move, after a long process of lobbying which he and others led. Never before have so many Christians - and not just Mennonites or other Anabaptists - stated so clearly that these anthems and rituals have no place in Christian formation, he observes.
The incongruity appeared to raise little comment. At a wedding - perhaps one of the most tender of human ceremonies in its manifestation of love and hope - all the principal male figures wore the uniforms of forces whose business is armed conflict.