The ‘power’ of Christmas – as symbol, story, narrative, myth – lies in its reminder of God’s disinterest in glamour, cool and position. It reminds us that God, as ultimate Other, does not need all the things many of us think are fundamental, but are actually props for our vanity, our position, and even our desire to serve the institution, says the Rev Rachel Mann in an intensely personal reflection on the meaning of the season.
The ‘common good’ and support for current and former soldiers are among the topics to be discussed at the Church of England’s general synod in July 2014. Savi Hensman suggests that the institutional Church of England in its current form may be too heavily compromised by its closeness to the “principalities and powers” to be fully effective in seeking justice and peace. She argues that it will have to face a death of sorts in order to be renewed in Christ.
Propaganda could be described as persuasion without morals. It has been a tool of power for centuries and in our own time, its use in inculcating a state of belief which is not in proportion to evidence, is most clearly seen in politicians' choice and use of slogans.
2013 marks the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, when emperor Constantine ended the persecution of Christianity, to which he had converted. In early October, World Council of Churches General Secretary Dr Olav Fykse Tveit praised Constantine’s legacy in glowing terms. Yet in reality it has been a mixture of harm and good.
As politicians fret about the Leveson inquiry and struggle to square the circle of defending a media free from state interference that some argue needs to be better protected by the state from unethical corporate politicking and domination, there is great value in us returning to examine Jesus’ engagement with the a major medium of communication in his day: the Temple. Keith Hebden argues that across the chasm of the centuries, lessons in confronting power and 'domination systems' are there to be learned if we pay proper attention.
It may appear graceless to ask the question, but how likely is it that Andrew Mitchell would have managed even the evasive partial apology heard today if he had thought he could get away with his arrogant loutishness towards officers of the Diplomatic Protection Group and retain his job?