The Dangers of Radicalised Identity

When diverging opinion turns into fistfights, fire and fury, is it a sign that we have gone too far? Until a very recent time, differences of opinion used to be regulated by public debate in all its forms, and representative democracy. But for about a dozen years, discourses seem to polarise more and more, campaigning becomes increasingly destructive of the other side and political differences seem to be profound, sociocultural and existential, to the point that we behave as if the one who differs from our personal views were worth of less respect. Differences become radicalised. What can Christians offer to better deal with differences and diversity?

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Christel NgnambiComment
Church Poker: How to choose a church - or at least spot a bad one!

This short article identifies the “three tells” of a potentially bad church. What they indicate above all else is that the church culture has based its self-esteem on the worldly values of wealth, power and fame. In contrast, Paul’s counter-culture sees money, leadership and gifts only serving to bring attention and glory to Jesus.

These ‘tells’ can apply both to the church as a whole, and to our own attitudes towards our roles and responsibilities at church.

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Tim VickersComment
Dethroning Mammon

In his book ‘Dethroning Mammon’, Justin Welby suggests that Mammon (money) has a powerful, persuasive, and evocative hold over our imaginations. In a world of complexity, of great change, and of unknown variables, a system of control is immensely valuable. Mammon leads us to believe that we can plan carefully, act rationally, work off calculations of risk and return, and successfully ride the waves of any storm. Yet such a view is firmly entrenched in a frame of scarcity – in a world of precious, scarce resources, I must fight for my rights, fight for my place.

Whilst Mammon (money) preaches an economy of exchange and equivalence, Welby introduces us to another economy. This is God’s economy – an economy built around grace – or the gift freely given. The economy of God works on abundance and generosity, not exchange and equivalence.

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Samuel JohnsComment
Christmas: the celebration of sacrificial generosity

What’s the true meaning of generosity? Ultimate generosity involves giving oneself, not merely giving something or sharing resources, but becoming poor for the sake of others. 

We will soon celebrate the birth of Christ, and we can see all around us how important gifts become during this season.  All this concern with gifts, giving and receiving, is at best a faint shadow of celebrating our generous God and at worst, a ritual that can obliterate the essence of our celebration. 

The greatest gift of all is Immanuel. 

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Adrian PetriceComment
On Being & Knowing - A Response

The current zeitgeist says loud and clear; "the journey is the destination". This is the postmodern condition, where no absolutes exists and the self is the reference point of the universe, but this way of travelling is a restless endeavour and less than satisfying, if not despairing. If not destination (which might be considered unreachable), then at least direction is essential and I think the hunger for meaning exceeds that for means.

So maybe the story is more important than the journey. Why are we even travelling? How are we trying to find who we are?

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Miriam OwenComment
Artificial Intelligence - on personhood

A soft alarm wakes me – perfectly in sync with my circadian rhythms – and I trundle downstairs, set to face a new week. Alex notifies me of the weather, so the blinds remain closed. Ambient lighting matches my mood. Morose, yet determined. Another Monday morning.

Breakfast is served to me by Xeva, my ever-present home helper, whilst Jibu helps me plan ahead, and visualise my calendar, by running through my meetings for the day. Ping. The time has come – 8am, time to brave the world. Tap, I order an UberAir.

The sky taxi arrives in 3 minutes, just time to brush my teeth. Whisk. Off I go, merging with the air traffic & Amazon drones, doing their routine deliveries, keeping the world going, keeping things moving.

The world according to GAFA…

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Samuel Johns Comments
Epistemology is the new Ontology

The world epistemology simply means the 'theory of knowledge' – or more specifically, an understanding of the methods, scope, and validity of knowing – the very domain of what we believe. We could reduce it (somewhat simplistically) to know-how. And within this would also fall the important distinction between justified belief and opinion. Or, to rephrase this, between the world of objective fact and subjective musing.

As for ontology, our musings suddenly become more significant. Ontology is the 'branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being'. What exists? What is? How come? These questions are front and centre – fundamental, foundational, and largely implicit in sophisticated societies. We rarely stop to consider them. Yet they shape what we believe both to be true, and also valid of truth.

So what if epistemology is the new ontology?

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Samuel JohnsComment
Artificial Intelligence - Ethics & Challenges

AI – or artificial intelligence – is defined as ‘an area of computer science that emphasises the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans’ (Techopedia, 2018). Activities these machines are designed for include speech recognition, problem solving, data pattern matching, and logical learning and planning. 

At the November Graduate Impact Cross-Current meetings in Berlin, Germany, eminent technologist and AI-speaker Jeremy Peckham spoke on the moral and ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence.

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Miriam OwenComment
Economic Justice

The theological framework for economic justice.

Righteousness ‘describes the relationship that God wills for human beings to have with him through faith… and that human beings are to express through loving obedience’ to the norms he commands and sets. These are based on God’s word – he not only created the world, he also orders it..

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Donald HayComment
The Role of Government in the Economy

In the contemporary world, political ideas often develop into ideologies, or "isms", such as capitalism, liberalism, socialism or communism etc. The economy is often at the centre of these "isms", as they often revolve around the question of individual vs. common ownership and access to means of production. 

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Arttu MapikaaComment
Productive Enterprises

Productive enterprises have three purposes:To serve others by providing goods and services that human beings need for their flourishing. To enable human beings to exercise their calling to work productively, and to use resources wisely and effectively, avoiding waste and/or the destruction of the environment. 

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Donald HayComment
Household Finance

Putting too much weight on 'earning' as one of the purposes of work, the risk is to fail to hear God's calling for us. This pressure to earn precludes many possibilities of work for God's kingdom. Not that 'work for God's kingdom' does not mean only being a missionary or a church worker…

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Michael GoninComment
Wealth and Poverty

All wealth ultimately belongs to God – we are always stewards, never owners. The existence of poverty is the result of our individual and collective brokenness, not God’s failure to provide. Greed (the accumulation of wealth for selfish purposes) damages society and fails to deliver contentment. 

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Andy HoodComment
Work and Wages

Value of Human Life:  Humans have been made with purpose which includes work (Genesis 1: 26-28, Psalm 139:13-16). Human life is valuable and one way it can be valued is through anticipated labour (expected productivity) (Leviticus 27).

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Creation and Natural Resources

The natural order is God’s good creation: it is abundant and fruitful. This is evident from the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2, and from various passages in the Psalms . The pattern of creation survives despite the Fall, notably in the promise to Noah.

Christians often find it difficult to see the relevance for contemporary life of Old Testament texts concerning the created order and the Land. The key is to look at the general principles behind the texts.

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Donald HayComment