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The Archbishop Speaks, But Who Is Listening? The Dilemmas of Public Theology Today

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image of Ecclesiology

The occasion of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, acting as guest editor of the leftist journal the New Statesman attracted much media comment. Most of this focused on Williams’ criticisms of the right-of-centre coalition government’s advocacy of the ‘Big Society’, intended to shift the balance of welfare provision away from the State towards the community and voluntary sector. A closer examination of Williams’ intervention into the debate reveals it to be part of a tradition of public theology in which Christian teaching informs fundamental principles underpinning the nature of political participation and societal values. In this incident of a church leader and the media, therefore, we have an opportunity to explore in greater depth a continuing debate about the place of religion in what many are calling a ‘post-secular’ society, in which the phenomena of secularization and religious revival co-exist in novel and often contradictory ways.


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