The Power of Ideas


The urban studies theorist Manuel Castells argued that even the most powerful state cannot keep people in check when ‘minds are mobilised’. The liberation educator Paulo Freire called this ‘conscientisation’ or ‘critical awareness’ and the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci part of the long ‘cultural war of position’. In the Christian Gospels Jesus suggests that truth sets people free and urges his followers to ‘ask, seek and knock’….Here are just a few web based resources for us all as we seek that truth and the mobilised minds of which Castells speaks –


The New Life Begins Now!

When death cackles feeling it has the upper hand – the girl bleeding from a knife wound on the stairwell of an urban housing estate or the man weeping in the citizens advice bureau because he is drowning in debt and cannot find a job, the mother in Damascus weeping because her children have been killed in the latest attack by Assad’s forces…..When death cackles remember words written on a wall in the Warsaw ghetto more than half a century ago – ‘I believe in life even when all around me is death. I believe in love even when all around me is hatred. I believe in hope all around me is despair.’

The blinding revolutionary truth of Easter is summarised by the apostle Paul – ‘Death has lost its sting.’ The bully in the school playground, the heartless government Minister introducing benefit cuts when she/he has never had to worry about how to pay their gas bill, the bomber, the knife wielding gangster are defeated. They have no power…..

Hope wins because resurrection defeats even the biggest, baddest power. When we share love, share hope, share freedom life wins – always has, always will – In our cities whenever a stranger is welcomed we greet angels unawares, whenever the hungry are fed, the naked clothed, the oppressed empowered we make the Resurrection of Jesus real here and now.

This is a day or revolution – the revolution of love…..

Easter is not about doctrine, about belief, about ritual. It’s not about whose in or whose out of the Kingdom (all are included). It’s about the triumph of the oppressed, the left out and the left behind. On this day God says ‘No’ to death dealing power mongers and ‘Yes’ to those whose voice is never heard, whose story is never told.

Celebrate this day whoever and wherever you are. This is not a day for Christians but a day for all who long for justice and freedom…..

The new life begins today! May the powerful tremble – Your days are numbered!

Fight the Power!

  The Stations of the Cross form a central part of Roman [and Anglo] Catholic spirituality. They are evocative but often distant from the urban world in which most of live. Here is one new take, thought to be by the graffiti artist Banksy – Jesus carries the Cross photographed by the paparazzi and beaten by riot police. Fight the power – here’s how!