Are we agents of division or reconciliation?
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We are dedicating Lent to reconciliation. It's easy to react against an extreme position with another, or to entrench, especially in political life. It is harder but better to listen and not judge, to bring together not to divide, to reach across difference and make the first move. Each of us, whatever our faith tradition has a duty to act as honest brokers for the Common Good. Let's resist the tendency to polarise and instead work to reconcile: not fall in with the negative narratives of division.
This year we are building on the successes of our Liverpool conference and field work in 2013. We took time to listen to feedback before deciding what steps to take in 2014. We're now in the early planning stages for a major event in London focusing on the language of the Common Good. We are writing up our research findings and making preparations for a book. We're delighted to be collaborating with other Common Good initiatives that are taking shape. We are working entirely pro bono so if you can offer us support we’d love to hear from you.
New in our Opinion pieces this week, John Milbank and Adrian Pabst suggest that the Church of England provides for a secular politics with religious freedom - if it renews its civic role and speaks truth to power it can transform both the state and the market. Meanwhile Ian Geary suggests we take seriously the significance of Red Tory and Blue Labour in post liberal British politics, since both are pro-faith and acknowledge the contribution of Christianity to public life.
We highly recommend this video of Lord Glasman giving the 2014 Good Society lecture, 'The Good Society and the Politics of the Common Good' at the Centre for Social Justice and you can read the full transcript here.
For a global view, we are delighted to introduce you to the senior Dutch diplomat, Edy Korthals Altes who asks how we can break the stranglehold of the economy on our culture, using four keywords: interconnectedness, vulnerability, urge to live and awe. Further afield in New Zealand the Common Good is an established feature of public and political life: we are grateful to Andrew Bradstock for introducing us to some of the thinking.
To help you on your Lent journey we recommend 'Just Love: personal and social transformation in Christ' by Paul Hackwood and Angus Ritchie. If you are following Lent in an ecumenical partnership we suggest 'With Christ in the Wilderness: Following Lent Together' by David Sheppard and Derek Worlock.
In the T4CG Blog, you'll find the second in our series of meditations on Pope Francis' Exhortation, 'Evangelii Gaudium', where John Ellison links passages with contemporary culture, this time with blockbuster movies and digital life... Join the discussion.
If you're looking for one book with all of Pope Francis’s recent writings, you will like ’The Church of Mercy’, his first major book in the English language. And in the wonderful 'Signs of the Times: Seven Paths for Hope in a Troubled World', Jean Vanier explains what can happen to our hearts and to our society when we commit to living a deep encounter with people who are weak, rejected or living in poverty.
You may be interested to know that 'Better Together', 'Built as a City' and 'Bias to the Poor' by Archbishop Derek Worlock and Bishop David Sheppard are now available as ebooks.
More is added to our Resources pages every week and we hope you find the links, videos and downloads useful. We know it needs cataloguing - please bear with us while we find a volunteer to help with this. Do alert us to new material we can share.
We hope your own work is going well. We are always pleased to hear from you, so don't hesitate to get in touch - after all, we're working Together for the Common Good.
Every best wish,
Together for the Common Good
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Together for the Common Good is guided by a Steering Group: Tim Livesey, Revd Dr Peter McGrail, Rt Revd Stephen Platten (Chair), Professor Hilary Russell, Revd Professor Nicholas Sagovsky, Jenny Sinclair.
© T4CG 2014. www.togetherforthecommongood.co.uk