Saturday, January 12, 2008


I've been "on the road" fairly remorselessly this week - Oxford, Exeter, north London, Kent, St Albans and back home. Events have included a religion and society academic workshop at the University of Oxford, several interviews, and an away-day for an Anglican church council and diocesan officers. The latter focussed on Christian engagement in politics as witness (example-based advocacy and engagement) rather than control (power and status based 'influence'), drawing on one of Stuart Murray's categories for the distinction between the dissipating Christendom order and the emerging post-Christendom situation of the churches. I have done a paper on The Church in the Public Arena which gives an overview of nine dimensions of an "alternative approach" to the question: Ecclesiological, Missional, Theological, Political, Ethical, Organisational, Performative, Spiritual, and Reconciliatory. It still needs a little more work, but is almost ready.

The aim is to elucidate the philosophy of a Christian politics which is neither manipulative nor sectarian, but outwardly engaged. Its character as subversive and counter-cultural cannot be disguised, however, in relation those forces in the social/economic/political order (both religious and non-religious) which are seeking to operate on the basis of large-scale inequality, structures of violence and ecological destruction. Post-Christendom Christian political action may not be seeking hegemony, but it is far from harmless, and it challenges certain 'secular' understandings of the political realm, while seeking partnerships and possibilities well beyond its own interests. The paper will be eady later in the week, I hope, though I have other work to do first.

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