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Is it a sin to be rich?

The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is starting today in Davos, Switzerland, attended by the leaders of the the wealthiest economies and the biggest corporations. And, in what has become something of an annual ritual, Oxfam has expressed its objection to the gross inequalities between rich and poor in the world.

Eight billionaires have riches equivalent to the same wealth as half the world, campaigners have warned world leaders gathering for talks in Switzerland…

Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB chief executive, said: “This year’s snapshot of inequality is clearer, more accurate and more shocking than ever before. “It is beyond grotesque that a group of men who could easily fit in a single golf buggy own more than the poorest half of humanity. While one in nine people on the planet will go to bed hungry tonight a small handful of billionaires have so much wealth they would need several lifetimes to spend it. The fact that a super-rich elite are able to prosper at the expense of the rest of us at home and overseas shows how warped our economy has become.”

Goldring is here articulating the obvious and instinctive response that most of us feel in hearing these alarming statistics. But the response to the data has another interpretation, and whilst Oxfam’s statement appeals to the emotions, those on the other side seek to appeal to statistical reason.

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Is Jesus begotten of the Father?

Peter Ould writes: Harry Farley at Christian Today has reported the response to the reading of the Qu’ran at a Communion service (Eucharist) in St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow on the 6th of January. You can watch the reading yourself here: The passage being recited is from Surah 19, ‘Mary’ and includes some apocryphal material about Jesus speaking as a […]

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A Tribute to Jill Saward

Elaine Storkey writes: The sad news of Jill Saward’s death has reverberated widely, more than most of us could have anticipated. It was headlined by the BBC, featured in newspapers and spread through the social media. Something of Jill’s story has touched a chord with people across the country, so that even many who were […]

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Can bishops save the Church?

Earlier this week, Adrian Hilton (who writes the Archbishop Cranmer blog) reprised his hosting of Martyn Percy’s views with the offering of a new set of 95 Theses, in the year of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s original. (Contrary to suggestions in online discussion, Luther’s are not dull and rambling, and are worth a […]

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2017—the year of being kind?

A friend and colleague commented three days ago that a local school had a single rule: be kind. And that seemed like a good approach to Christian life and ethics, so would become this person’s New Year Resolution. For many people it feel as though the last year was not kind, and a little more […]

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Is Christmas Good News?

Though it is Advent which has passed, and we are now in the Christmas season proper, because of the front-loading of most Christmas activities, it is now the season when most church leaders are breathing a sigh of relief and finally putting their feet up—assuming they didn’t on Christmas day itself. It might be a […]

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Should clergy have Christmas day off?

Angela Tilby, Canon Emeritus of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, managed to upset just about everyone with her recent column on Christmas ‘family-olatry’ in the Church Times. Christmas’s falling on a Sunday this year is bound to be awash with family services. I have heard of clergy cancelling the regular eight o’clock, on the grounds that they […]

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What is our theology of food?

I was fascinated to watch Gregg Wallace (of Masterchef fame) explore how our food reaches us through supermarkets in his Supermarket Secrets episode looking behind Christmas. I hadn’t realised that this episode was in fact three years old, and even though reviews were previously rather mixed, I found it as fascinating as Greg evidently had. […]

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What does church planting achieve?

One of the key changes that has been introduced as part of the Renewal and Reform programme within the Church of England is in the way that Church Commissioners’ money is distributed to dioceses. Instead of all of it being allocated using a formula determining need, part of it now is distributed as Strategic Development […]

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