Katharine Jefferts Schori preached at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, on Sunday 25 July 2010, the feast of St James. The Guardian has published the text of her sermon: The search for dignity. ‘We must challenge the human tendency to insist that dignity doesn’t apply to the poor, or to immigrants, or to women, or Muslims, or gay and lesbian people.’
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Excess is reassuring as well as attractive.
Ekklesia has two items on religion and the media. Simon Barrow writes about The changing landscape of religion and the media.
And there is a paper by Lizzie Clifford: ‘Thought for the Day’: Beyond the god-of-the-slots. The abstract of this report is copied below the fold.
David Chillingworth is Stumped on his Thinking Aloud blog.
And if you have an answer to his “What should I say to the Pope?” question you might want to develop it into an entry for Andrew Brown’s Pope T-shirt competition at The Guardian.
Mark Vernon writes in The Guardian about Afghanistan’s unjust war. ‘We must apply the just war tradition to our analysis of the conflict in Afghanistan. Otherwise, we risk disaster.’
‘Thought for the Day’: Beyond the god-of-the-slots
by Lizzie Clifford
In this groundbreaking new report on the long-running and (of late) controversial BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day feature, researcher Lizzie Clifford moves forward the debate about whether the prime-time ‘God slot’ should be preserved, reformed or abolished by carrying out a careful examination of the actual broadcast scripts themselves – with surprising results. Many of the claims made by both stout defenders and vigorous opponents of the current Thought for the Day format – which excludes non-religious and minority religious voices – prove questionable. What some regard as the feature’s weakness, its attenuated theological content, can in other respects assist with bridge-building and conversation between people of different belief commitments. On the other hand, the restriction of presenters to those who represent groups with a long-established liturgical and doctrinal base seems unnecessary, given that the actual content of their scripts does not always make such a requirement. Humanists and those from ‘alternative’ religious backgrounds also deserve to be heard. It is not enough for Thought for the Day to survive simply as a bastion of ‘religious’ speech, argues this report. TftD can be valuable, so long as it manages to offer a new angle on the stories making the news, triggering fresh ways of thinking, and by utilising high-quality writers and broadcasters, capable of contributing an arresting script that genuinely prompts reflection. Overall, if TftD is going to survive as prime-time broadcasting, and make a genuinely valuable contribution, it must not compromise its potential to challenge the status quo and to strive for peace and humility in the face of tensions over difference. Equally, dispute over Thought for the Day is a significant one, the report suggests, because it is symptomatic of wider questions surrounding the more general place of religious broadcasting and of religious speech in an increasingly plural society.