People of Faith and the New Politics
With Guest Speaker Roger Haydon Mitchell
Roger Haydon Mitchell; Author, Blogger and Political Theologian will join us at CHOW to share his thoughts "The New Politics" and why people of faith should be very engaged.
This session will look to address the following three questions:
- What do these 'new politics' refer to
- what do they look like
- and how might the church help steward them?
Chris Baker, of the William Temple Foundation described them to me as the space identified by 'all the posts': such as post-secular, post-Christian (or post-Christendom), and post-political. Graham Ward in his splendid The Politics of Discipleship (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2009) adds the postmodern and post-material. I will explain these in order to show how these posts really mark out the space or opportunity for a new politics, rather than their content.
Victimisation and violence continues to rule the day despite the lessons of the hundred years since the supposedly war to end all wars
So what politics are emerging in this new space? I will suggest that there is nothing really new in the 'tame' xenophobia of UKIP or the brutality of the so-called Islamic State, but that both put a mirror up to the old destructive recipe of peace through sovereign power. Victimisation and violence continues to rule the day despite the lessons of the hundred years since the supposedly war to end all wars. I will contend that another way of seeing the current xenophobia and brutality is as evidence that the old politics is overreaching itself and plumbing the depths that a new politics must encompass to embrace the stranger and love the enemy.
How can the church help steward this space? I will propose that for those of us hopeful that three generations of Holy Spirit renewal and three decades of vital prayer have led us to a transformative moment in both church and world, then these new politics represent an extraordinary moment. Despite the undeniable record of the subversion of the church and gospel by imperial power, there is real evidence that a significant section of the church is right now repositioning feet-first into the new political space. I will conclude by setting out three crucial components necessary if the church is to be a worthy steward of this opportunity.