Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2010: Can Ecumenism Be Born Again?

‘Born Again,’ is a term that is used derisively in Ireland to denote conservative evangelical Christians. Outsiders sometimes refer to them collectively as ‘the born agains,’ with either a smirk or a sigh, signalling their disagreement with their religion and most likely their politics. It saddens me that ‘born again’ has become such a by-word. […]

Johnston McMaster Book Review: A Passion for Justice – Social Ethics in the Celtic Tradition

  The ancient Celtic world and its larger-than-life inhabitants have too often been manipulated for political and religious ends. A glance at some of the gable walls of Northern Ireland’s cities make that all too clear. But the Celtic tradition need not be divisive, or the preserve of one ‘side’ in the longstanding conflict on […]

God & Guns, Dodging a Bullet On Thou shall not kill?

Pardon the pun, but a US gun manufacturer has just given more ammunition to those who think that religion is an inherently violent force for evil in the world. The manufacturer, Trijicon, has inscribed “2COR4:6” and “JN8:12” on its gun sights. The BBC reports that Trijicon was ‘founded by a devout Christian’ who runs the […]

Pope Summons Irish Bishops To Rome

The Irish bishops are to travel to Rome to face the man in charge, Pope Benedict, and discuss possibilities for the church in the aftermath of the clerical sex scandals. The talks are scheduled for the 15th and 16th of February. The Irish Times reports that: “It is expected that proposals on dealing with the […]

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2010: Is Ecumenism Boring?

Ecumenism is boring. In the same journal article I discussed in yesterday’s post, Dr Andrew Pierce quotes Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, who called ecumenism the ‘great yawn of our time,’ and H.A. Williams, who dismissed ecumenism as the ‘last refuge of the ecclesiastical bore.’ My husband, a marketer by trade, reckons that ecumenism is in desperate […]

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2010: A failure of the ecumenical imagination?

My colleague Dr Andrew Pierce has identified a failure of the ecumenical imagination in an article, ‘Re-imagining Irish Ecumenism: Enlarging a Sense of the Possible,’ in the journal Doctrine and Life (2008). It seems that ecumenism, both in Ireland and internationally, is floundering and people who are involved with the ecumenical movement or are sympathetic […]

The Iris Robinson Scandal and Evangelical Culture in Northern Ireland: Rejecting or Redeeming the ‘Sinner’?

Today’s Sunday Sequence programme on BBC Radio Ulster featured a segment by Malachi O’Doherty on the effect of the Iris Robinson scandal on evangelical culture in Northern Ireland. Amongst others, O’Doherty interviewed Dr Claire Mitchell of Queen’s University Belfast, a collaborator in my own research on evangelicalism. Dr Mitchell’s comments highlighted a significant tension within […]

Maria Power Book Review: From Ecumenism to Community Relations & The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2010

The week of prayer for Christian Unity begins next week, 18-25 January 2010, with activities planned throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland. Christian unity and ecumenism have always been touchy subjects on this island, given the sectarian nature of Northern Ireland’s recent Troubles. The most recent book on the history of ecumenism in Northern Ireland, Maria […]

Pat Robertson on Haiti Earthquake: Knowing the Mind of God

American televangelist Pat Robertson has declared that the earthquake in Haiti was a direct result of a ‘pact’ Haitians had made with the devil. He also said it is a ‘blessing in disguise’ for the beleaguered nation. Robertson, a one-time American presidential candidate, has built a multi-million dollar religious broadcasting empire and is the founder […]

Peter Rollins: Re-emergence Conference (Belfast) & Book Review

Trinity College Dublin’s Belfast campus (the Irish School of Ecumenics) will host a conference called ‘Re-emergence: The Church is Dead, Long Live the Church’, 16-18 March 2010. It will feature input by Phyllis Tickle, Dave Tomlinson and Peter Rollins. The event marks the launch of the ‘Insurrection’ tour, and is as yet its only UK/Ireland […]