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Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Christmas - a very political festival

Simon Barrow has drawn attention to the highly political character of Christmas and its subversion due to the alliance of Christianity with the powers that be. Following is an extract from his excellent blog FaithinSociety,- see the link attached to this site. the various commentaries he is pointing to start to spell out the implications of a recovery of the subversive character of Christmas.


I expect to return to this theme in the context of Easter where the mystification of the politics of Jesus has gone much deeper into the liturgy and theology of the Christian community.

But the truth is that the alliance of Christianity with governing authority and dominant culture has inflicted the most damage on the subversiveness of Christ's birth. This is something Jonathan Bartley and I have been arguing in different ways over the past couple of weeks. See Jon's Church Times piece here, which roots the problem in our ongoing diagnosis of the ails of the Christendom mentality. Mine focuses on the biblical dynamic itself. We have also published provocations from Giles Fraser, from Methodist president Martyn Atkins (who I am delighted to see will be their general secretary shortly, and has a blog here) and from Rabbi Michael Lerner (mentioned below). Rowan Williams' BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day is worth reading, too.

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