Earlier this month, I wrote a piece for the Baptist Times about some recent research into references to religion, faith and God occurring in the conference platform speeches of major British politicians. A version of this has now been published on Ekklesia as Beware politicians and God-talk. The history of distorted speech in the two-way mirror that is religious and political power-broking has a long and inglorious history; one which is regularly recapitulated across the Atlantic, I fear. But before we cheer or boo politicians talking about faith, let's look at the content.
"At its core the Gospel is about God’s suffering servant opening the door to a new kind of life not circumscribed by ‘the powers that be’. It involves speaking and acting act for personal and social transformation in ways that may prove deeply uncomfortable to both political and religious elites [...] Significantly, none of the political speeches Theos surveyed mentioned Jesus’ disruption of the status quo, and few sermons do either. But what if faith is not a flag to be waved? What if it is a call to conversion – starting with us?"
My colleague and friend is in action about this tonight, by the way: "God bless America? Should Politicians 'Do God'?", with Jonathan Bartley - at the crypt, St James Clerkenwell from 7pm, Weds 22 October 2008, Clerkenwell Close, London, EC1R 0EA.
Also, a reminder for: "Conversion, Conversation & Co-existence: Living in a Multi-conviction Society", with Simon Barrow - St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, 6.30 – 8.30pm, Thursday 23 October 2008, 78 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AG.