Violence, Colonialism and Frantz Fanon

Frantz Fanon was one of the great prophetic voices of the anti-colonial and anti-racist struggle. His ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ shook many people deep down to their roots and told an untold story. This documentary draws on Fanon’s ideas about the violence inherent in both colonialism and racism. These are words from half a century ago but resonate still in a neo-con 21st century….

Watch and see what you think….

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Kristallnacht: The end of Christianity in Iraq

we-are-nasrani

‘When the world’s attention shifted to Ukraine and Israel last week, the Islamic leaders in Iraq capitalized on the distraction. For weeks the functional government in central Iraq (ISIS) had told Christians they had to make one of four choices by this past Saturday: forfeit their property as a “Christian” tax, convert to Islam, leave, or die…..’

To carry on reading this blog post from ‘The Cripplegate’ just click the link – Kristallnacht: The end of Christianity in Iraq.

Poverty – The New Violence

In recent years levels of poverty not seen since the Great Depression have returned to the UK. Poverty has increasingly become a new defining issue in urban political theologies. Are faith groups called to be pragmatic conduits of the common good – sites of social capital capable of fostering well being in the big society without raising too many awakward questions of government? Alternatively, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it are people of faith called to ram a ‘spoke in the wheel of injustice’? In my recent article for ‘Public Spirit’ I argue that consensual community engagement is not enough in an inherently unequal and unjust society – If God is ‘biased to the oppressed’ then theology becomes a motor for progressive social change and theologians public/political intellectuals.

The African-American activist philsopher Cornel West exemplifies this perspective better than most as the video below reveals. What challenges does West lay at the feet of academics, theologians, people of faith in the UK?

Church as a Movement for the Excluded

Like all social movements faith communities have a tendency to ossify – to morph into solid institutions – as they grow. Guarding their ‘success’ and protecting their ‘power’ the transformative capacity of faith-based social movements can be swamped, smothered and lost. What remains are often glimpses of that vision, that radicalism but little more.

In the city of the 21st century the Christian Church is either limping towards the end of the road marked ‘Christendom’ and slow death OR is in the brink of rediscovering its calling to be yeast and salt in the city – the site of liberative social capital and a movement again of and for those most left out and left behind.

Last month I gave a guest lecture for the Liverpool Diocese of the Church of England entitled ‘Church as a Movement for the Excluded’ in which I reflect on some of these challenges – What kind of church will emerge in the city as the 21st century develops? Click here to see the full text of my lecture.

Graffiti Stained Glass by Banksy