Social Theology That’s Not Very Social

Anglican Social Theology

The Christian Social Thought tradition finds its roots in the late 19th century and has wound its way down the daces through William Temple to the 1985 Church of England report Faith in the City. A new book entitled Anglican Social Theology has just been published [June 2014] that claims to develop this tradition for the 21st century…..but does it?

In a piece for the William Temple Foundation John Atherton argues that Anglican Social Theology fails because it is too inward looking and too narrow to serve a superdiverse age…..Have a read of his reflection here – ‘A Reflection on Anglican Social Theology’

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The Politics of Fear

DIVERSE FACES

We live in a tense and fragile urban world where class struggle has largely been replaced by an anxious and often violent politics of fear – the fear of difference. In spite of the continuing rise of the community of people who are dual heritage and the increasingly superdiverse nature of many major cities the fear of difference has traction with marginalised groups, far-right racist colllectives and fearful people of all ethnic backgrounds.

This article ‘Mapping the Politics of Fear in Europe’ by Raymond Tarras on the online journal and forum Public Spirit explores these questions….Tarras writes:

‘‘Othering’ of those perceived as strangers, sometimes on the basis of religious differences, sometimes for other reasons, has been the subject of penetrating scholarly research and even journalistic accounts for some two decades, since cold war politics were succeeded by identity politics…..’

Read more by clicking on the link

Language Matters

Hating-the-Poor-but-Loving-Jesus

Sometimes we can become overly obsessed with the language we use, seeing implications where none may exist. However the words we use often matter because they, albeit unconsciously, reflect the way we think. The word ‘untouchable’ favoured by Mahatmas Gandhi [ a high caste Indian] has rightly been displaced by the word ‘dalit’. The awful phrase ‘half-caste’ by ‘mixed race’ and finally [thank goodness] ‘dual heritage’ to speak of people who have one black and one white parent. Words can empower but they can also rob people of their agency – turning them into objects rather than subjects. The phrase ‘the poor’ is a case in point. 

In this blog post by Karin Kamp from the USA the minefield of the language we use when dicussing poverty is explored…..

‘This week, the Center for Community Change (CCC) released new research that details the way low-income Americans think and talk about living on the edge. It found that the language being used by policymakers and others to describe them is turning off the very people it is supposed to help…….’

Carry on reading….

Queer Theolgy – Critique of Capitalism, Patriarchy and Homophobia

Indecent Theology

The Argentinian liberation theologian Marcella Althaus-Reid challenged the ‘first wave’ of Latin American liberation theologians like Gutierrez, Boff and Sobrino to broaden their gaze and deepen their analysis of oppression and liberation to encompass homophobia and sexism.

This blog post by Alejandro Escalante from Union Theological Seminary in New York on the blog ‘Per Caritatem’ summarises and reflects on the challenging legacy of Althaus-Reid who died in 2009.

‘Marcella María de los Angeles Althaus was born in Rosario, Argentina (the birth place of Marxist Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, as she would often remind people) on May 11, 1952. Living in and around the poorest of countries in the Americas and amongst its people, Althaus-Reid was shaped both by her experience…..’

Carry on reading….

Nightmare in Gaza – Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is one of the most significant public intellectuals of the 21st century. Here he offers a sharp reflection on the Israeli occupation and bombardment of Gaza….

‘Amid all the horrors unfolding in the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israel’s goal is simple: quiet-for-quiet, a return to the norm.

For the West Bank, the norm is that Israel continues its illegal construction of settlements and infrastructure so that it can integrate into Israel whatever might be of value, meanwhile consigning Palestinians to unviable cantons and subjecting them to repression and violence.

For Gaza, the norm is a miserable existence under a cruel and destructive siege that Israel administers to permit bare survival but nothing more.’

Read the full piece here – –Nightmare in Gaza.