Definitions of what it means to be human have been sought out for centuries in many academic disciplines, says Kristel Clayville. Theology and philosophy have been at the forefront of this humanistic inquiry, but since Darwin's writing, biology and psychology have posited their own definitions.
Traditionally celebrated between 18 and 25 January (in the northern hemisphere) or at Pentecost (in the southern hemisphere), the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity mobilises countless congregations and parishes around the world.
US society is rife with "religious exceptions" or exemptions, notably in relation to tax breaks, says Martin E. Marty. Now "ministerial exceptions" can be added to the list. The generally free ride given religious institutions even in a “secular time” should inspire thought: With all its contradictions, the United States remains a generous place in which religions can prosper. They would do well to serve the common good freely and openly.
A good RE syllabus would allow young people to explore, without either naivety or unwarranted suspicion, how the world might look from different perspectives and to learn to think critically and with minds open to the possibilities as well as to the limitations and dangers of different political and cultural norms, says Alison Jasper. But how far the kind of organisations sponsoring the government's Free Schools is another question, she acknowledges.
How extraordinary it is that so many interpreters cling to "Abba" as indicating Jesus' unique relationship to God as "Daddy", using mysterious language from which - upon closer examination - the gospel writers seek to escape, says Deirdre Good, dispelling some common biblical misunderstandings.
Do the managers at St Paul's Cathedral have the stomach to engage in the real world at the crest of a tidal race between people, money and power? asks Bishop Alan Wilson. Or are they just overgrown public schoolboys playing indoor games in their own self-important Tourist Disneyland?
Marriage. What’s it all about, then? In a sermon marking the wedding of two established friends of Ekklesia, Simon Barrow looks at the spiritual and social embeddedness which means that, in Bonhoeffer's words, “It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”