New Statesman’s close connections to New Labour have put me off in the past. Aside from one fun party all they seemed to be giving me was ridiculous articles about how the anti-globalisation movement was like al-qaeda. So I gave up on them.
But yesterday’s cover grabbed me and I had another read. Something would appear to be afoot when a magazine of this sort runs a cover story asking “can the church stop war?”.
To be honest, the article didn’t quite live up to my instantly rocketed expectations, contrasting as it did two understandings of Christ’s death or resurrection (exemplary or penal substitutionary) which could be a whole lot more interesting integrated than contrasted, and not being terribly clear. I guess I can’t really go far in criticising a magazine of this sort for its grasp of theology, especially when its focus was more on the historic settlement between the church and the Roman empire than on the theology of redemption.
The article did certainly make some good points and brought into play some questions I’m very glad to see there. The suggestion that political journalists may be starting to see Rowan Williams as leader of the opposition raises my hopes that we are beginning to see important changes in how the church relates to politics. And we do after all need a leader of the opposition.
With yet more troops heading towards the Gulf, let’s hope that this leader of the opposition can hold our hellfire and brimstone prime minister to account.