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What’s wrong with Comic Relief?

We were subjected once again to the annual ritual of Comic Relief, where it is demanded that we oscillate between the emotions of laughter and grief in order to reach a fund-raising target. There seems to be more criticism of the event this year then in previous years, not for its ends but for its means. David Lammy, the Labour MP, was very thorough in his criticism:

Few organisations can claim to be so successful at mobilising people in the cause of tackling poverty in Britain – my Tottenham constituency has certainly seen the benefits – and across the world. But when I asked my mixed-race nine-year-old son why he thinks I should give money to him for wearing a red nose at school today, his reply was telling: “But we have to help the poor people in Africa, daddy.” How different is this to what his white grandparents would say? Africa may have changed beyond recognition, but over the generations knowledge and attitudes in Britain haven’t.

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Can we Dethrone Mammon?

Ven. Dr Gordon Kuhrt reviews Justin Welby’s Lent book Dethroning Mammon: Mammon is money or possessions when they are enthroned. The author says there is nothing wrong with money in itself, but when it exercises supreme power (is enthroned) it becomes mammon: evil, destructive and dangerous. A Foreword commending the book is from Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche movement which now has nearly 150 […]

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Can we disagree better online?

For the last two days, I have been accumulating material towards a post reflecting on Trump’s executive orders and how much of the response to them fails to explore the facts. It seems odd to me that we can accuse someone of disregard for the facts—and then fall into the same trap ourselves in our […]

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Can theology save the NHS?

By any account, the NHS is in crisis, and a crisis more acute this winter than we have seen before. Some have described the challenges facing the service as a ‘perfect storm’ of pressures, and whilst there is a debate about whether it is a question of quantity of funding or how that funding is […]

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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 […]

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Evangelicals, Trump and theology

‘I am done with the label “evangelical”. It’s not the theological position I have a problem with, it is just the term. When 80% of white evangelicals vote for Trump…’ This was not a comment from Tony Campolo, but a conversation with someone with UK national profile. What are the theological issues at stake, and […]

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How Social Justice Ideology gave us Donald Trump

I am reposting here an article by Alastair Roberts, who is a regularly reader and commentator on this blog. I don’t agree with everything Alastair says, but his views are always informing, stimulating and challenging not least because they are very well researched. If you want to understand what is happening in America at the moment (rather than […]

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Why did Trump win?

When Tomasz Schafernaker gave the weather forecast at 6.57 this morning on Radio 4, I fully expected him to read: ‘The sun will be darkened, and the moon will be turned to blood; fire and hail will fall from heaven…’ There is a widespread sense of shock, and that this US election result has something of […]

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Why I won’t be watching the Olympics

For the next three weeks, our TV schedules are going to be dominated by ‘the greatest spectacle on earth’ that we call the Olympic Games. There is no doubt that there will be extraordinary feats of courage and endurance, and inspiring stories of individuals winning against the odds. Clergy will be on the lookout for […]

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JM40389 The Love Birds  by Marek, Jerzy (Contemporary Artist); Private Collection; English, in copyright

The lost virtue of naiveté

‘Gosh, I never realised….X’. ‘Really? I knew that ages ago—it’s pretty common knowledge you know!’

I wonder if you’ve ever had that kind of conversation—at work, or church, or amongst friends or family. You have assumed that things are as they were claimed to be, or presented, but all the time ‘everybody’ ‘knew’ that that wasn’t really the truth, and you were naive to assume it was. As I reflect back, I realised that it has

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Brexit, hate crime, fear: what’s the Christian response?

Many people on both sides of the debate have been shocked and alarmed at the rise in abuse towards people from other countries since the result of the referendum. Tanya Marlow is a writer who often explores questions of disability and faith, and she offers here a framework for making sense of what is happening—and offers suggestions for practical action that Christians can take in response.

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