Archive for the ‘Gospel’ category

What is the Gospel for the poor of Poland?

March 12, 2010

According to recent reports from the OECD, Poland currently has the third highest rate of child poverty (26%) among OECD members. This despite Poland having the sixth largest economy in the EU. The Polish statistics agency noted that fewer than 3% of rural inhabitants had higher eduction and Eurostat, the EU statistics agency, found in January that a third of Poles ‘lived in poverty’.
An ENI report noted ‘Only a handful of paragraphs were devoted to social and economic problems in a 130-page bishops’ conference report on families in August. In addition poverty issues were not mentioned in a December pastoral letter or in a statement of the Polish bishops’ Pastoral Commission in January.’
Critics of this omission warn of a rift opening up between a wealthy and powerful elite and the ‘working poor’. When the church finds itself caught up in this kind of situation it’s time to re-read the gospels and think carefully about its choice of dining companions and how to introduce them to the host of the meal.

Mission set in stone

March 5, 2010

Spent all morning talking with students about the things we can learn about European thought (religious and secular) from its art history. We’ve moved from cave art to Vivienne Westwood’s so-called ‘bondage pants’, from icons to Dali, via van Gogh and Carravagio, etc.

Each of them gives us some insight into how the artist, as a mirror to their contemporaries, sees the world, themselves, and their understanding of God’s relationship to the world and humanity. Some of the art was intended to tell the Gospel story, some of it sets out to undermine the Gospel, much of the post-Reformation art simply assumes humanity’s liberation from the constraints of Christian belief and assumptions.

We ran out of time to discus the relationship that exists (or doesn’t exist) between contemporary art ¬†and mission in Europe. Is there one? Does art pose the questions or answer them? Is art diminished when it’s associated with the mission of God or is it elevated by the association? Shame we ran out of time. Hopefully the conversations will continue.

For more details about the European mission short courses on offer at Redcliffe, you can check the programmes at