Movement 112

movementmagazine

the magazine of the student christian movement I issue 1,12 | autumn 2OO2

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issue 112 | autumn 2OO2

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MOVEMENI is the termly maglazine of

the Student Christian Movement,

distributd free of chatf,e to memberc

and ddicated to an open-minded

ery t o rati o n of Ch ri sti a n ity.

Editor: David Anderson

e: movementmagazine@hotmail.com

Designer: Liam Purcell

Nert copy date:, 22 November

Editorial board: David Anderson, Liam Purcell,

Elinor Mensingh, Marie Pattison, Kate Powell

SCM staff: Co-ordinator Elinor Mensingh; [,nks

Worker Marie Pattison

SCM office: University of Birmingham, Weoley

Park Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham 829 6LL.

t: (O121) 471,2404

f: (O121) 4L4 2969 mark faxes 'FAO SCM'

e: scm@movement.org.uk

Website: www.movement.org.uk

Printed by: Henry Ling Limited, Dorchester

lndividual membership of SCM (includes

Movement) costs f,15 per year (t1O if unwaged).

Subscription to Movement only costs E7 per year.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in Movement

are those of the particular author and should not

be taken to be the policy of the Student Christian

Movement.

tssN 0306-980x

Charity No. 241896

@ 2002 scM

Dft '-J '-J

It.-itplatform

Robert Cook 3

newsfile 4

diary 6

worldview: globalising resistance David Lasso 7

disarmin$ actions Helen Steven 8

frustration, humiliation, courage David Anderson 9

celebrity theolo$ian Rachel Muers 70

small ritual Steve Collins 7!

movement what is globalisation? C/FOD !2

feature:

gtobatisation globalisation for the $ood of all

Noreena Hertz 74

globalisation and the $ospel

Andrew Bradstock !6

people not profit Katherine Anderson !8

see also... 20

ties and binds Jim Cotter 2!

ecumenism is like riding a bike... Tim Woodcock 22

first amon$ equals Claire Connor 24

the education of desire Kathryn Powell 25

movement the mysteries David Anderson 29

reviews

sacred century Liam Purcell 27

no ordinary child Ethan Black 28

attack of the ctones Kathryn Allan 26

writin{ in the dust David Anderson 30

the serpent 31

Wanted! Student Editor, no experience necessary

Movement is put together by an editorial panel including the designer and editor, SCM staff,

and student representatives. There is a vacancy at the moment for a third student representative

on the panel. lf you would like to be involved in deciding the content and themes of

Movement,' and could spare one afternoon a term for meetings, e-mail the editor at

movementmaEazine@hotmail.com

Wanted! Articles, teviews, artwork

We want Movement to be as open as possible. All your ideas are welcome. Have you got somethin$

to say? An issue you want explored? Ever fancied yourself as a writer?

Send your articles and ideas, or just your details if you'd like to write for us in the future, to the editor

at movementma{azine@hotmail.com. All submissions will be considered by our editorial board.


platform

anythin€ Soes

do we need creeds?

{

I'll lay my cards on the table. I am

actually a bit of a conformist. I have

grown to be intolerant of those choosing

to be different or radical merely for the

sake of that label: we should have well

thought-out reasons for being different. I

firmly believe that achieving Ghristian

unity is a duty we cannot afford to shirk.

We all need to come to our own conclusions

about the truth of the Christian

message, but we should seek the truth,

not just what we find appealing, and

when we believe we have found the truth,

be able to profess it with others.

My problem is this: all too often in our secular

culture we are encouraged to choose what we

individually want, to be consumers. From a

religious perspective this translates into

exploration of a lonely kind, perhaps selfseeking

and perhaps self-styling, but certainly

looking for what fits with our intellectual and

emotional whims, such as a desire simply to be

different. Satisfying our personal desires and

'doing' religion alone is not what Christianity is

about.

Perhaps the part of my faith most in conflict

with the rise of self-styled religion is the creed.

Creeds proclaim a complete truth, a full

statement of faith, which is inflexible and

potentially exclusive. Who better for me to turn

to then than Cyril of Jerusalem? Writing around

AD350, he said of the creed:

'This synthesis of faith was not made to be

agreeable to human opinions, but to present

the one teaching of the faith in its totality, in

which what is of greatest importance is

gathered together from all the scriptures'.

Harsh words maybe. However, on balance I

am inclined to agree with Cyril's sentiments

and feel I should set out why.

Christianity is at heart an outward-looking,

corporate faith: it believes in worshipping with

others, professing belief in front of others and

extending God's love out to others. There is a

vital role for private reflection and prayer, but

equally something is crucially missing without

the collective aspect to worship. lf you want a

biblical imperative for it, look no further than

'when two or three are gathered in my name'.

However, sitting around in a room with others

who wish to meditate on spirituality can never

amount to collective worship: it does not affirm

the 'we believe'. There is something magnificent

about all confessing the same truth: the total is

greater than the sum of the parts. This cannot be

accomplished by many private worshippers in one

place. Creeds are vital in enabling us to engage in

collective Christian worship. Most obviously, the

creed is never prayed individually: it is our most

important collective statement of unified belief.

More subtly, a creed provides a clear framework

around which we can grow in faith and

understanding.

the creed is never prayed individually:

it is our most important collective

statement of unified belief

I do not deny that formal doctrines such as

creeds have been used to carry out unacceptable

acts of persecution and may still be

unfairly used to exclude some people from

genuine religious searching. This is completely

wrong, but used properly, personal exploration

can be enabled rather than stifled by creeds.

Creeds act as a framework, creating a space

around which personal reflection can take

place. We need some sort of structure to

develop our faith around. Without a reference

point no-one would know where to start

exploring or where to focus discussion.

Religious dialogue would descend into anarchy

and collective worship would be doomed to fail.

It is only realistic to expect that people will have

differing opinions on matters of faith, yet if we

believe it is our duty to work towards Christian

unity, we need to look for and uphold some sort

of 'Christian denominator' which enables fruitful

discussion to take place, working towards

reconcili ng differences.

A creed not only provides a clear reference

point for debate, but since it is backed up by

threefold authority: the Bible; centuries of

theological debate; and the work of the Holy

Spirit, it provides the closest approximation we

can hope for to a common denominator that is

substantial enough to provide the framework we

need.

ln the necessary quest for a personal faith

there is a fine line between satisf,ing a requirement

that we have thought deeply about our

faith and developing a self-styled religion,

pandering to our own whims. Creeds act as a

vital counterbalance to this danger and enable

us to worship together meaningfully, as our

faith requires. I

Robert Gook

. Robert Cook 13 a student

at O)dord Unlversity and

Warwlck Chrbtlan Focu3.

movement l3


NEWS

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a new face

Hi, I'm Rebecca, and I'm SCM's new office administrator. I started

work on 12 August. For now, here's a quick guide to me so far:

Full name: Rebecca Frances

Hawthorne

Date of birth: 2 January 1981- (mY Mum

swears blind she got me in

the January sales!)

Brutrers & sisters: none, unless you count the

cats!

Height: 5'10'

Eye colour: blue

Hair:

brown and (very) curly

Favourite colour: yellow

Favourite Teletubby: Laa - Laa

Likes: bare feet, Star Trek Voyagler, sleeping, Abba'

kids, Birmingham (call me weird), dinosaurs,

cats, lona music, trains

Dislikes: wearing shoes, fish, long car journeys, Jim Carrey

films (exceplThe Truman Show), clubbing

Education: Three Bridges First School, Dunottar School

(Reigate), Birmingham University (studied maths)

Religion:

Brought up Anglican. St Barnabas Church

(Crawley), Church of the Holy Family (Crawley),

Birmingham UniAngsoc

At university: Many things to Angsoc, including Chair. General

hanger-on and troublemaker to Methsoc. Cause

of confusion to several chaplains. Co-cause of

chaos last Freshers'!

! hope this helps give you an idea of who I am, and I look forward to

meeting some of you in Person!

editorial changies

This issue of Movement has been put together by Acting Editor David

Anderson, who has done a marvellous job of pulling together all the

material from a range of contributors before his deadlines.

From issue 113, the new editor of Movement will be Liam Purcell' Liam

has been the designer of Movement for three issues, which means that

he's been responsible for jobs such as fitting two thousand word articles

onto one and a half pages with pictures, and finding photos for the back

cover. He is an avid fan of Emma Bunton and his favourite television

program is Watercolour Challenge. To find out if some, all or any of this

is true, watch this sPace neK time.

Liam would like to hear from anyone interested in writing articles or

reviews tor Movement. See page 2 for contact details'

Quick Questions

What's your favourite Possession?

My jeans with a dinosaur and my name stuck on

What are you reading at the moment?

Just flnished The Most Arnazing Man Who Ever

Lived by Robert Rankin, and about to start

Suddenly he thinks he's a Sunbeam by Adey

Grummet

What is your favourite film?

Ghost

How do you relar€

Sleepl Or flnd the nearest person who'll give me a

hug

What's your favourite journeY?

A long train journey with a gfoup of ftiends -

Birmingham to lona was Pretty good

What do you like most about yourself?

Creativity

What do you dislike about Yourself?

My very bad sense of directionl

What's your fuvourite word?

I could tell you, but then everyone would be able

to access my e-mail!

lf you could be someone else who would it

be?

When I was little I always wanted to be a trapeze

artist, but now I think maybe someone who can

sing really well - Maddy Prtor perhaps

When did you last cry?

Tears of joy when SCM gave me a job!

What are you scared of?

Fish and snakes

What do you never miss on W?

Star Trek Voyager, although I have most of the

videos, so I don't really mind missing it too much!

What music do you listen to most?

At the moment it's folky stuff, Steeleye Span'

Wateson Carthy, Pentangle. Plus the odd musical

- Cats, Godspell, Joseph

What pet hates do you have?

Car drivers who don't respect cyclists

What would your motto for lMng be?

Never grow upl

4lmovement


Created in God's imaSe?

6-13 April, Amsterdam

ln an 'A€ree/Disagree With The

Statement' activity a Nonrve$an

participant rcvealed her sexuality.

She was lesbian, and some of tre

other participants were clearly

intrigued. lt was the WSCF

Eurcpean Gonfiercnce on 'Body and

Crende/ and alrcady on the opening

day itwas clear hordiverce opinion

in the eFoup was goin€lto be.

The group was of diverse nationality:

it consisted of people from Romania,

Hungary, Slovakia, Sweden, Denmark,

Italy, Finland, Norway, Belarus,

Estonia, the UK, and Germany, and a

number from Amsterdam, the host

city of the conference. The conference

itself was a week-long

discussion of a variety of issues

relating to body and gender and

Christianity. There were also more

subtle elements to the conference

which reinforced the topic being

discussed: it was a period of fasting

for the Orthodox Christians so most of

the food was vegan, which added an

interesting element to the seminar on

the body and denial.

The day always started with worship,

which was on a different theme every

morning and every evening (from

Catholic to Queer, Women to

Lutheran). We then generally had

inputs or debates, coffee breaks,

lunch, small group meetings,

workshops, free time, dinner and then

worship again. The evening officially

concluded with a more informal

activity (such as a cultural evening,

Dutch evening or film evening).

Four people from very diverse

backgrounds spoke at the conference.

The first speaker was Trees Versteegen

- a Dutch'theolo$an who described

herself as Catholic and Lesbian. She

proposed an intricate understanding of

gender and body from a biblical

perspective. A large number of the

participants were studying theologr;

the response to the seminar varied

from celebratory to utter refusal to

accept what she had proposed.

The second speaker was an

Orthodox priest. He discussed the

topic of fasting and its relation to the

body. After finishing his talk the

priest was asked some awkward

questions regarding Orthodox denial

of the body, and even the concept of

trade justice somehow emerged.

The third speaker was Luca Negro;

an ltalian representing an

ecumenical movement. We looked at

the use of the body in worship in

various denominations: from gesticulations

to fasting, and from Holy

Communion to waving hands in the

air whilst worshipping.

The fourth and final input from

Katrin Rogge was entitled

'Transformed Bodies'. ln it we

investigated trans-gendering, and

the transformation of the body by

use of artificial implants. By far the

most eye-opening input, by all

meanings of the word.

Workshops were less controversial

and more creative. Perhaps the most

significant workshop was on AIDS in

Africa, led by an AIDS worker from

Uganda. AIDS awareness was central

to the week long conference, and we

were $ven the task of designing the

European part of a global banner which

was going to be displayed at the next

global WSCF conference, July 2003.

Evaluation at the end of the week

exposed a number of interesting

issues: participants, particularly from

NEWS

Eastern Europe, commented that the

liberal stance dominated the

discourse and they felt their more

conservative opinion was instantly

dismissed. The situation might have

been very different if the Orthodox

Christians hadn't been fasting. One

Romanian stated early on in the

conference that he was unhappy with

the opinions being expressed and

questioned their biblical groundings,

but that it was part of Orthodox

fasting to be at peace with those

around you. Even so, concluding

meetings suggested most people felt

they had learned a lot from the

conference, and those I got to know

well during the conference certainly

felt blessed by all the people there. I

know I was grateful for the opportunity

to go to the conference and I

met people from many different

backgrounds, who had some

wonderful understandings of

Christianity and love. So I would

strongly recommend that students

involved in SCM attend WSCF Europe

conferences in the future. British

participants, I was told, have been in

demand at the conferences; do think

about going to the next one. I won't

deny I had a strong feeling of

trepidation about attending, but it

was a wonderful experience - many

thanks again to the British SCM for

the opportunity.

Mark McDonald

SCM is affiliated to WSCF (World Student Christian Federation),

and has money set aside to help students towards the costs of attending WSCF events.

movementl5


NCWS

a hopeful protest

politicians

ftom all

parties had

announced

their support

for the lobby,

while failing

to notice

that the

prutesterc

werc against

unrcgulated

access to

developing

ma*ets by

multinational

companies

Trade Justice Movement mass lobby of

Parliament, Wednesday 19 June

You don't often find ecumenical services

turnin$ people away. But there was a

queue of people for the service at the

Emmanuel Gentre at L2.45 to mark the

mass lobby of parliament for Trade

Justice, and the stewards were havin$ to

do just that. Visitors were still allowed

inside the building to look at the stalls

staffed by various aid aelencies, and to

buy fairly traded coffee. The other option

was to travel down the road and wait

outside Methodist Gentral Hall for the

main meetin$.

Nine members of SCM attended, proMding a

small but earnest addition to the 12,000

lobblsts from all over the country. The Lobby

was protesting against the maintenance of

subsidies protecting goods fiom First World

countries, and against measures insisting on

unregulated access by First World companies to

markets in goods and seruices in poorer

countries. We did discover that Methodist

Central Hall still makes things slightly awkward

for wheelchair users; we had to trek round poorly

signposted conidors round the back only to find

that wheelchairc were not allowed in the main

hall due to fire regulations. This sliglttly soured

the occasion. Those of us who were in the main

hall, and not listening ftom the doorway, heard

that politicians ftom all main parties had loudly

announced their support for the lobby, while

failing to notice that the protesters were against

unregulated access to developing markets by

multinational companies.

After the speeches, the SCM party had to

split up as the lobbyists left the hall by region

of the country. Protesters lined the banks of

the Thames in a queue stretching round from

the Houses of Parliament, down Millbank,

over Lambeth Brid$e, and along the Embankment.

The queue was at times wide enough

to nearly block the path. Many MPs did travel

out to meet their constituents; others sent

parliamentary assistants.

Although most of the SCM party had to catch

trains back home, one or two stayed to listen

to the panels after the event, which discussed

ways forward for the reform movements. The

event was $ven a half-minute mention on the

BBC evening news, even though there were no

arrests and no violence.

I've experienced two kinds of protests: some

seem to be mostly a(ainst something (usually

the US), and some are for something (trade

reform, debt cancellation). The latter seem to

me far more hopeful - althouglr this may be an

effect of the free chocolate on offer. I

David Anderson

Actingi Editor ol Movement

I

N

21Se@nfier

Global Mo Dry

w.' nrvw. oeaceonedav.otq

18-20 Ocbber

GlP (drudr &ilon on Povottuf lhUod

Goniettnoe

Gaderry Tower, near Edinburgfi

Poverty and ProsperiU - includes rvodahops on

globalisation, sustainabiliB and paltterchip

For more info and online booking:

w,' rwrw' ch urch-oovertv.org. uk

210-.27 0c$ber

OneWorld Wedr

For morc info and to order a padc

w; nrYw.onewor{dweek.org

$t fO ilovember

scn rct

Details to be confirmed.

Gheck website for infonnation.

Tue 3 Deeenbcr

lDeDt m qrr lloolttep Ldon rnd lobby Itry

Westminster and Edinburglt

Speaking out against poverty in the UK.

w; wrnu.debt on-our-doorsteo.com

15 Dccenfier

LGGt Gdol Sonlce

St Botolph's, london

w; www.lgcm.org.uk

6lmovement


worldview

€Iobafibin€ reslbtance

the experience of the 'lnternational Gamp' in Ecuador

Murderers! Murderers! The guard had

shot one of the people taking part in

the lnternational Camp for Di€nity and

Social Justice for the People. The

person was writing graffiti - Abajo el

ALCA ('Down with the F[AA') - on one of

the luxurious walls of the World Trade

Gentre building in Quito. This march

was closing an event in which around

400 people took part, from twenty

countries in Europe, North America,

Latin America and Asia.

the struggle for a better world

must be globalised

The Camp worked from 14 to 20 March in

three Ecuadorian cities simultaneously -

Quito, Lago Agrio and Manta - with the

support of several organisations in Europe

and North America. lts goal: to articulate

forces coming from every corner of the

planet, in order to consolidate a platform to

resist and struggle against the Colombia

Plan, the FTM and any other manifestation of

neo-liberal globalisation. The intention is that

this Camp will not end with the physical

gathering of people in one place, but will

continue to exist as long as it is necessary -

it is, therefore, a permanent space.

From the diversity of thoughts it was stated

that: 'the struggle for a better world must be

globalised'. Young Colombians from the

universities in Bogota, in Valle and Neiva,

young people from Peru, farmers from

Bolivia, activists from ltaly and Germany,

United States artists, journalists from

Venezuela and hundreds of other people

shared their local experiences, their alternative

deyelopment proposals, their

perspectives on dialogue, confrontatlon and

resistance. A small Tower of Babel working in

confusion, and at the same time, recognising

themselves in their exclusion.

CEPAJ (the Ecuadorian Co-ordinator for

Youth Action), the Ecuadorian SCM, was one

of the organisers of the Camp. From outside

and within WSCF (the World Student Christian

Federation), as individuals, as Christians, as

young people, as human beings, we would

like to share with you these thoughts:

. We are concerned when we see how little

we know about the economic, social and

politicalstructures in Latin America. We ask

ourselves: how much do we know about

situations like the Water War in Bolivia, the

Dignity Plan or the Panama Puebla Plan?

. We feel motivated when we see that there

are people informed about the current Latin

American problems, when people organise

themselves and resist together and act

together beyond verbal solidarities.

. We see how complicated it is to build a

continent-wide platform to both resist and

make proposals, and to take the first step

to articulate these proposals in a single

project and a single force.

Most of all, we do not want to accept our

passivity as WSCF. We feel scared when we

see that these problems are not even being

debated, that these mega-projects are not

being taken into account when we make our

plans. We feel scared, but above all it

motivates us to go on working.

One of the results of the Camp was the

creation of the lndependent Media Centre

Ecuador - Indymedia - which will be launched

soon. Although support from the majority of

the population, as far as the protest against

the FTM is concerned, is minimal, the Camp

opened doors and brought us together. There

is still much work to be done with the people:

there is a distance between the protest and

proposals coming from the resistance

groups, and the everyday needs of the

people.

we feel scared when we see that these

problems are not eyen being debated,

but it motivates us to go on working

. Davld lasso ls

Co-ordinator of CEPA,

(SCM Ecuador)

Towards the end of this year, the Trade

Ministers of the Latin American countries

(with the exception of Cuba) are planning to

meet in Quito, Ecuador, to follow up the

negotiations to concretise the FTAA.

Garavans of diversity throughout the country,

meetings of young farmers and the Latin

American Farmers Organisations Coordination

(CLOC), Networks Continental meeting,

and a national mobilisation against the FTM

are expected to confront this megaproject.

And in your country, what's going on?

Davld lasso

movement | 7


disarming actions

disarming actions I

helen steven

ls nonviolence neutral?

Nonviolence

requires the

ability to

view the

opponent as

a human

being, and

to reach out

to that

person

. Helen Steven works at

the Scottish Centre fot

Non-Violence.

8lmovement

During the last ten days of June the Scottish

Centre for Nonviolence will have been

involved in providinE training for a group of

seventeen women who will be going to live

with Palestinian families as part of the

lnternational Women's Peace Service. Their

task is to be a nonviolent presence in the

midst of the desperate conflict between

tsrael and Palestine. As yet their remit is

undefined, but some of their tasks will

include accompanyingl people whose lives

are under threat, observing and

documenting human rights violations' simply

beingl alonElside people as their homes are

searched or destroYed as an act of

solidarity, and possibly participating in direct

action to prevent violence'

It is hard to know vvhere to begin the task of

training for such a challen$ng remit. Obviously a

basic understanding of the underlying principles

of nonviolence will be an integlal part of the

course, as will a thorou$h exploration of the

limits of nonviolence and what kind of actions

ftll within the definition of acceptable nonviolent

action. Time will be spent in role-play, acting out

a variety of possible scenarios, and exploring

issues around fear, trauma and stress.

One fundamental question that will have to

be addressed is that of partisanship. ls it the

role of the nonviolent interventionist to remain

strictly neutral at all times, or is the team

going to take up the cause of the oppressed

Palestinian people and take action alongside

and on their behaF.r Undoubtedly part of the

motivation for going to Palestine in the first

place is to show solidarity, to attempt to

understand their desperate pli$ht and to resist

any form of oppression. Nonviolence does

take sides, and is used as an effective tool for

redressing injustice. Palestinians have been

denied their human riShts ever since the

setting up of the State of lsrael: their land has

been occupied, they are subject to inhumane

conditions as second class citizens, their

people have been killed and exploited, and

their young people are indeed without hope.

Which is precisely the kind of talk that created

such an outcrywhen Chede Blairsaid thatyoung

Palestinians were lMng wtthout hope and that

this was what drove them to become suicide

bombers. So by going to stand alongside the

Palestinian people, is the team showing goss

insensitivity to the fears and suffering of the

lsraeli people, and can they be accused of

condoning the violence of tenorism?

ln the articles I have written to date for

Movement, I have repeatedly stressed that the

only way to deal wilh tenorism is to be$n to

understand why people become terrorists, and

what drives people to the desperation of suicide

bombing. This is not to condone violence or

agree with such ways of acting, but it is the

be$nning of an attempt to discover the root

causes of viotence in order to remove them. By

living alongside Palestinian families, the Peace

Team will experience at first hand the pain of

their situation, and may be able to convey some

understanding of this to the outside world.

But nonviolence demands more than this. lt

also requires the ability to view the opponent

as a unique human being, and to reach out to

that person in the belief that transformation is

not only possible, but through one's nonviolent

acts of witness, is already taking place. So

there is a challenge to reach out to the lsraeli

people as well, and to reach a deePer

understanding of their fears and hopes. Not

only does the world need to understand the

plight of the Palestinian people, there is a

deep need for the tra$c fears and insecurities

of the lsraeli people to be heard. They are

living in daily insecurity at the very heart of

their everyday lives, as terror does in truth

stalk the streets. Their right to live unmolested

in their own state is also being eroded, and

both sides feel themselves at the mercy of the

fickleness of the international powers.

Any peace team truly committed to nonviolence

will want to work towards an

understanding of both sides in the conflict.

Some of the bravest activists in the whole tra$c

conflict, who are daily risking their lives, are the

members of the lsraeli peace movement.

members of organisations like Gush Shalom'

who recently won the Swedish Right Livelihood

Award, and who confront the lsraeli government

by symbolic actions, such as painting a

demarcation line at the boundary of the

Occupied Territories; the thousands of young

soldiers who are retusing to figltt if they are

ordered into the West Bank; and many' many

more who form the increasin$y vociferous

peace movement within lsrael. These are the

people who can $ve hope to the young people'

not only of Palestine, but of lsrael as well. lt is

with these groups that the task of peacemaking

must be$n, and this is where the role of nonviolent

solidarity is so crucial.

Partisan, yes, fearlessly resisting oppression

in whatever form it takes; but acting out of a

deep love and respect for all sides of an issue'

and creating the bridge over which people may

cross to peace. I


ftustr atio\ humiliation, cour a$e

students express their solidarity with the oppressed in the occupied territories

On 27 March this year, a group of

students from Sussex University went

out to Palestine, also known as the

Occupied Territories. The day after they

arrived, the lsraeli army drove their

tanks in and placed the West Bank

under military curfew. David Anderson

talked to Dan Glazebrook, who was one

of the students. The interuiew took

place at the end of June.

Dan told me that the group spent ten days in

the West Bank town of Ramallah and then a

couple of days in East Jerusalem at the end of

the trip. The trip had been organised by

Grassroots lnternational, an umbrella organisation

including groups such as Trade Unions,

the Union of Palestinian Women, and the

Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees,

that hosts international observers in the

Occupied Territories. They had originally

planned to see Palestinian towns, such as

Ramallah, and refugee camps, and to speak to

people in lsraeli peace organisations - such as

soldiers who were refusing to serue in the

occupied territories - but after the lsraeli

curfew this was impossible. Dan and two

others were staying in a flat owned by the

Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees

to house workers who lived in the country

around the town (travelling in every day would

take too long, even in peace time, because of

the road blocks), and were woken the first

morning by the 'nasty screeching sound' of a

military convoy going past, a tank, an APC, and

a bulldozer. For two days, they couldn't leave

the house but on the third day the curfew was

lifted, and the UPMRC ambulances were

returned, minus a driver. (Ihe driver was

released after another three days, having

spent the time stripped, handcuffed and

blindfolded.) The students then agreed to ride

in the ambulances to help distribute food and

first aid p'ackages, thinking that foreign

observers would discourage lsraeli soldiers

from possibly beating the drivers or throwing

the food and medicine onto the road. 'The

ambulances couldn't be used for picking up

the injured because no one was allowed to get

into those areas. One of the nastiest things

about the conflict was that, because they

weren't allowed in, most of the deaths were by

blood loss.' ln the ambulances, they were

stopped pretty much every hour; which meant

they had to get out and unload the ambulance,

they were

woken by

the 'nasty

screeching

sound' of

a military

convoy going

past

most

orgAnisations,

whether

linked to the

Palestinian

Authority or

not, were

targeted for

harassment

and attack

pa lestine

and the students had to show their passports

- this took about half an hour each time. Most

organisations, whether linked to the

Palestinian Authority or not, were targeted for

harassment and attack, Dan said. At one stage

during that week, the office of the Medical

Relief Committees that they were working from

was shelled by a tank: Dan told me that the

only reason no one was killed was that the guy

who was working in the office at the time was

in the toilet. 'lt was quite deliberate, because

it was in a block of flats and it was the only

floor that had been shelled'. ln addition, lsraeli

soldiers used to bring dead bodies to the office

and supply depot on the grounds that it was a

medical organisation.

On the final day, Dan and another Sussex

student, an lsraeli girl, were travelling

together when soldiers stopping them took

their passports, told them to follow them to

the central square where the lsraeli tanks

were parked, and then drove off with the

passports as the ambulance was told to park.

Eventually, after a long wait, during which the

ambulance left, they were told to get in a jeep

and were driven off to a nearby Jewish settlement.

They phoned the British Consulate on

their mobile, and discovered that the army

had told the Consulate that they'd been

arrested, but that they would be released.

After 24 hours, they were given back their

passports and driven to East Jerusalem by the

British Consulate. (They had been planning to

return to East Jerusalem that day anyway.)

They spent a couple of days in East

Jerusalem talking to UN agencies and lsraeli

peace groups. On the last day, Dan and the

lsraeli girl in the group went to West

Jerusalem to see her cousin and some of her

friends, who were about to join the army.

I asked Dan what he'd learned from the

Palestinians.

'The atmosphere at the checkpoints is

one of humiliation, and generally as well;

I don't know if I'd say despair, but frustration,

but also they're quite proud people,

quite courageous. They've no intention of

stopping demonstrations even though

they might be shot in the head. So the

three words that sum it up are frustration,

humiliation, and courage.

It was interesting talking to people about

suicide bombers. They don't call them

suicide bombers; one guy said to me that

suicide is associated with someone who )

movementl9


palestine

the more

people are

humiliated

and

oppressed

the more

they want to

strike back

in some way

. Davld Andorson is ActinGl

Edltor of ,ltovement.

Dan Glazebrook as a

Universlty Palestinian

Solldarlty Campalgn.

People

didn't want

or need to

believe in a

powerful

God who

would zap in

to sort

things out

r€search in theolofly at

Glrton Collegle,

Cambrldgle

has lost their will to live. lt's not to do with

depression or self-hatred; they want to live

freely. They callthem "marlyr attacks". They

have mixed feelings, but certainly when the

invasion took place most people supported

them because there's so little they can do

when tanks are coming into their houses.

Except for some highly Orthodox Jews, and

some lsraelis who refuse to join the army,

almost every lsraeli citizen has served in the

army, so for the Palestinians the distinction

between civilians and army is blurred. Men

in lsrael under the age of fofi can be called

up as reseryists, who are mainly used in the

occupied territories. But the more the

Palestinians are humiliated and oppressed

the more they want to strike back in some

way.

Obviously most Palestinians are not too

fond of Zionism, the idea that there

should be a state on their land that they

were kicked out of, which is always and

only for those of a particular reli$ious

group, which is not them. But most

Palestinians have made this historical

compromise to accept that. They want to

see a Palestinian state on the West Bank

and Gaza, and the checkpoints dismantled

and the settlers to be returned.

Celebrity

Theologian

Dietrich

Bonhoeffer

Oh yes, I've heard of him'

And you've probably seen the movie, read the novel,

noticed the statue outside Westminster Abbey?

Wow, a real celebrity! And I thought he was iust

another of those dead German'speaking men who

created modern theology.

Well, that too. Born 1905, did two doctorates by the time he

was 24, lecturer at the University of Berlin from 1931 to '1933'..

Bit of a whiz kid. So, an illustrious career ahead of

him?

He left his university post in 1933, shortly after his radio

broadcast on why Christians should be suspicious of the

concept of a Fuhrer was cut off midway through. Someone

didn't like what he was saying. They liked it even less when

he became a leader in the 'Confessing Church', resisting the

Nazi takeover of the Cerman Protestant churches and

particularly the exclusion of Jews from the churches.

Not a man to keep his theology and his politics

separate, then.

Bonhoeffer argued that the centrality of Jesus Christ for the

whole of human existence, nature and history meant it was

fundamentally wrong to think in terms of two spheres - the

sacred and the secular, the religious and the political. He

called the attempt to keep faith separate from questions

about how lives are lived 'cheap grace'. The question 'Who is

Jesus Christ for us today?' exemplifies his attitude - thinking

theologically in response to the present situation, and getting

an answer in terms of action and life rather than just theory.

There's a lot of frustration about the

international situation; the lsraeli government

tries fairly successfully to keep

them isolated, so they're very encouraged

to see people like us coming over.'

Dan had had a chance to talk to some

lsraelis at the parly, which he said was

interesting. 'One cousin said that Arafat was

a terrorist and should be kicked out; I said'

"isn't Sharon a terrorist?" and she said, "yes,

he should go too." lt's in a crisis, lsraeli

society, because the lsraeli government has

offered the best deal it's going to offer to

Palestine: a state unlike any other with no

control over the borders, no airspace, with

the settlements and roads between the

settlements remaining under lsraeli control.

The Palestinians feel that if that's the best

they're going to be offered, then they haven't

anything to lose now. The lsraelis feel, "come

on, that was a good offer, and if they're not

going to accept that what can we do?" The

main sticking point I think for many semiprogressive

lsraelis is the ri$ht of return for

refugees, because that would endanger the

Jewish identity of the state, and that's an

unfathomable idea even for many people who

oppose the occupation.' I

Davld Anderson

Sounds like SC/tlt's kind of guY.

Well, it's a bit more complicated than that; on various social

questions he was very conservative. Traditional family

structures, woman's place is in the home.

But isn't he the one all the radical 1960s theologians

quoted?

He wrote about the world 'come of age' - people didn't

need or want to believe in a powerful Cod who would zap

in to sort things out. And Bonhoeffer claimed that that

situation actually enabled people better to understand the

Cod revealed in Christ - who isn't powerful, who's weak

and hidden from the world. What Christianity meant, he

said, was learning to live responsibly without the powerful

God to back you up.

Ah, 'Death of God' and all that.

Yes, though again it's more complicated than that;

Bonhoeffer wasn't suggesting that we reduce theology to

politics or ethics. Unfortunately he never wrote at any

length about his more radical-sounding ideas - they're only

mentioned in the letters he wrote from prison to his friend

Eberhard Bethge.

From prison?

Having been a pacifist in the late 1930s he gradually

changed his position and became involved in a plot to

assassinate Hitler, which failed in )uly 1944.

Doesn't sound like a haPPY ending.

He was executed in a concentration camp in 1945'

But won undying glorY?

Hence the statue outside Westminster Abbey on the frieze

honouring 2Oth-century martyrs. Though note that unlike

many of the others on that frieze he wasn't killed for iust

saying he was a Christian; he was killed for doing what he

thought being a Christian required of him, which was

conspiring to assassinate a head of state.

Hmm, it is complicated' isn't it?

At least Bonhoeffer realised that. I

Rachel Muers


small ritual

small ritual I steve collins

Mountains of the Lord

ln Onboard snowboarding magazine a

couple of years back there was an

article called 'Lands of the Gods',

which ran through the place of

mountains in many of the world's

religions. Except, that is, for

Christianity. Which, given Mount Sinai

and Mount Zion, the Mount of the

Transfiguration and the many biblical

references to 'the mountain of the

Lord', seems strange.

Admittedly none of these sound much like

powder heaven. But Christianity has dropped

out of consideration; it is unknown tenitory

for most of today's spiritual seekers.

They seek a spirituality that will connect

them to the mountains they love and ride; a

sense of belonging, of awe and yet protection.

Perhaps even the assurance that

snowboarding can be an act of worship. How

did Christianity lose the ability to articulate

such things, in ways that make sense to our

culture?

We have a hunger for space. The spaces

in our culture are all closed off, boarded up,

privatised. Our ancestors looked across

empty landscapes, sailed across open seas

under huge skies. Such things seep into the

soul. They are the spaces for which we were

made, and all our attempts at control and

shelter have in the end shut us up in a box

of our own making, too small to breathe.

Such space as is allowed to exist is owned

and sold back to us with conditions

attached. lt has already been determined

how we shall behave.

We find our freedoms are illusory. Before

we even think it, play has become Playru,

with someone else's values built in. The toys

we shall buy are already waiting. The posters

on the walls offer fantasies of escape. But

they are consumerist. You will not escape,

because you will take everything wath you.

The very fact of you going there will

contribute to the destruction of the spaces

you crave. This is Escape*. The space is

already rented on your behalf, commodified

and sold back to you. Your experience has

already been designed.

Snowboarding is as compromised as the

rest. You can barely do it without expensive

branded equipment and clothing. lmages of

snowboarding are used to sell cars and soft

drinks, against the complaints of those who

actually do it. And ironically those ads then

sell snowboarding back to us, as part of the

lifestyle package.

But snowboarding illustrates both compromise

and transcendence. Few people think

about their branding while they're riding.

Piste poseurs miss the point. All that stuff is

just means to an end, mere background. The

promise of a good brand is that it will get you

a little closer to that end a little faster. lt will

get you adventure and fun by technical

specification; it will get you community by

displaying where your head is at.

Snowboarding shows how the physical and

spiritual are inescapably combined. lt tells

us a truth about ourselves that Christianity,

so long tempted by dualism, has often

denied. Bodily experience is a means to

taste God. ln heaven, worship and experience

of God will not be separate activities

from every and any activity of living. Even

now physical actions can both give and

receive of God, without words. The purpose

of words - of the words of God - is to lead

us to the brink where actions take over.

ln our unacknowledged hunger for God we

are drawn to places where we cast aside our

mastery for a moment, situations where we

cannot but be humble. We are small and the

mountain or ocean is vast. lt is beautiful,

but can crush us. For those without

conscious religion, this experience of beauty

and danger is the closest they get to

standing before God. And for those who do

have religion, it may still be the closest they

get in this life to standing before God.

lf all nature illustrates some aspect of its

creator's being, and if physical action

expresses spiritual intent, then riding a

board down a mountain is indeed an

enactment of worship, is indeed a touching

of God, even if the rider has no belief

system to make sense of that act in

conscious language. Prayers are written in

powder fields. The rider seeks to be one with

the world and its maker, not as master but

as lover, embracing and embraced, in

intricate involvement not aloof perspective.

The mountain of the Lord is not an ivory

tower but a place to throw yourself off. I

Snolboading

illustrates

both

GOmprcmise

and

hanscendence

. Steve Gollins is a writel

and web desiElnei in

London

movementlll


feature: global isation

Delegates at $r ,t, t/ s rtlllindow on the World' conference in March

explored the meaning of globalisation and Ghristian responses to it.

Here are some of their thoughts.,,

What

concerns you most

about globallsation?

Using the term globalisation makes

the issues seem like a huge evil monster

but many of the problems can be tackled

in bite sized pieces (like eating an elephant)

The issues of fairness related to trade,

'super-companies' taking over the world

Driven by and in the interests of powerful

states

The inequality between rich & poor &

the fact that it's increasing

What

do you understand

least about

globalisation?

How much is it a natural occunence

and how much it can be controlled and if

so who has power over it

Precisely what it is as it is mainly a buzword

used to describe a variety of

Why everyone rants about it without

understanding it...

This trade stuff - it seems to be

very complicated

What do you

understand by the term

'globallsatlon'?

The way the world is coming together in terms

of communication, travel, and so on; also the 'new

wap of trading, that is, free market economy

l Economics and Trade

2 Communication & Social & Political Affairs

3 A philosophy of interconnectedness - not only as we

interact with other people but also wtth the environment

- and this has always been so. There are spiritual

aspects to discuss - to do with Unity and it could be

thought of as being related to the Gaia philosophy

Closer economic interaction > more political

interaction > cultura/social interchange

The new economic & communications

systems that are 'shrinking the

world'

IYhat

would you like to

find out more about ln

relatlon to globalisation?

Ways to tackle the evil parts of

globalisation

wll it last? stabilise? continue

inexorably?

What are the arguments put fon'vard

by the World Bank & TNCs for what

they do?

Ways to change the current

systems, or alternative

systems

Do

you think there are

any beneflts flowln$ from

globalbatlon? lf so, whati?

Chocolate. Pineapples. Ability to share

knowledge around the world - and stories &

cultures

The coming together of the world; it allows a much

greater sense of $obal community

Yes. - Investment in developing countries is essential'

cultural interchange

A collapse in trade would devastate livelihoods

Means we get bananas and poor people in

Ban$adesh get access to (mobile) phones

Communications technoloA/ improvements

but of course these only benefit

those who are richer (at the

moment?)

12 lmovement


feature: global isation

P

,

CAFOD, Gatholic aid agency and prominent member of the Trade

lustice Movement, offer this exploration of globalisation, which is

reproduced from their website lrvlw.cafod.org.uk) by kind permission,

Globalisation describes the

process whereby individuals,

groups, companies and

countries become increasingly

interconnected. This interconnectedness

takes place in

several arenas:

Global logo inc

The inexorable rise of giant

transnational corporations (INCs) lies

at the heart of globalisation. Brand

names, from Nike to Coca-Cola, have

become some of the most widely

recognised images on the planet. Of

the world's top 100 economic

players, 49 are countries and 51 are

corporations. General Motors, Wal-

Mart, Exxon Mobil, and Daimler

Chrysler all have revenues greater

than the combined economic output

(GDP) of the 48 least developed

countries.

With economic power has come

political clout. World leaders scramble

for audiences with Bill Gates

(Microsoft) and John T Chambers

(Gisco). Corporate lobbyists are

enormously influential (though often

invisible) in drawing up the laws

governing global trade and investment.

Supporters of globalisation

argue that TNCs bring jobs and new

technologl to developing countries,

while critics worry that their growing

political migfit is undermining national

governments and allowing corporations

to run the global economy to suit

themselves and their shareholders.

The world in your supermarket

Rich and poor countries alike have

bought into the globalisation

message - that you can export your

way out of under-development. From

1980 to 1999, world trade in goods

(not seruices) tripled from 91 trillion

to over f,i! trillion. Poor countries

have concentrated on clothes,

footwear, electronics, and food - a

trip down the aisle of your local

supermarket has become a tour of

the Third World, with asparagus from

Peru, prawns from Bangladesh, and

mangetout from Zambia. China has

become the world's largest exporter

of clothing, toys, electronics, and

shoes. Trade can create jobs and

wealth in poor countries, but the

regular media expos6s of appalling

working conditions in Third World

farms and factories have led to

increasing concern over the social

and environmental conditions under

which the goods are produced.

IT has awakened fears

of a $rowin!,'ditital

divide' betvveen the

haves and have-nots

Globalfuture.com

The accelerating pace of innovation

in information technologr (lT) is driving

$obalisation. The cost of a threeminute

phone call from New York to

London fell from $245 in 1930, to $3

in 1990, to about 35 cents in 1999

(1990 prices). Using 24-hour e-mail,

companies can split up their assembly

lines between countries on different

sides of the globe, sending designs

and orders down the phone line and

shifting components from one country

to another to minimise costs. lT can

cut costs and create a $obal village,

but has awakened fears of a growing

'digital divide' between the haves and

have-nots. Thailand has more cellular

phones than the whole of Africa.

One Disney MacWorld

The doubling of tourism over the last

15 years, and increased international

migrataon, have meant greater cultural

contact between countries and

peoples. The spread of information

and corporate branding has generated

something akin to a single global

culture, especially among the

teenagers of the MW generation.

Those hyping globalisation believe this

will lead to greater international

understanding. Others fear that the

global cultural tapestry could be

replaced by bland corporate imagery

and the platitudes of 'Just do it'

branding. Priests in Latin America

have told CAFOD they have been

asked to baptise children from poor

families with names like Rangerover,

Thissideup and lloveny (think about it).

$2 trillion a day

Capital flows, increasingly disconnected

from any real trade or

investment, have grown enormously in

the last 15 years. They now run at

about $2 trillion a day (that's 12

zeroes), moving around in the Alice-in-

Wonderland world of derivatives,

futures, and currency trading. The

capital crossing the world's borders in

three days exceeds a whole year's

global trade. Globalisation's

supporters argue that capital flows

can provide much-needed investment,

for example via third world stock

markets, and can deter governments

from following unwise economic

policies which endanger 'market

confidence'. However, such massive

capital flows can easily overwhelm

even large economies (as Norman

Lamont found out in 1992), and in the

last three years capital surges have

caused severe social and economic

crises in Thailand, Korea, lndonesia,

Brazil, and Russia. The World Bank has

found that these crises tend to hit the

poor hardest, while subsequent

recoveries benefit the better off,

ratcheting up inequality. I

movementl13


feature: global isation

obalisation

for the Sood of aII

lournalist and author Noreena Hertz writes on embracing the new agenda

live increasingly in a world of haves and have-nots'

gated communities next to €lhettos, of extreme povefi and

ble riches. Some enjoy ri$hts that are com

to others. Vast numbers of people see almost no

benefits from the advances of the past century. Relative

inequalities are explodin$, and the world's poorest, despite

all the advances of globalisation, may even be getting poorer.

Trickle-down, the main rationale of neoliberal

$obalisation, has turned out to be an illusion.

Special interests have gained in power. Some

people have a voice, but many remain

voiceless. lt is a world of extremes, which can

be characterised most clearly in terms of

exclusion: political, economic and social.

in a world like this' few

can gain redress for

the iniustices inflicted upon them

globalisation:

Economic exclusion.

That is self explana-

tory - and can be

christian responses

ideas from scms"---

What do I mean by political exclusion? The

rights of citizens marginalised by the

interests of big business - whether this is

George W's environmental policy, clearly

formulated with the interests of the American

energy companies that bankrolled his

campaign in mind, or the infamous World

Trade Organisation, which puts trade

interests before the environment, labour

standards or human rights. Governments can

no longer be counted on to safeguard the

public interest or protect the public

realm'

'window on the worrd' conference

t""J,"*n"r"

'Christiane need t'o make lhemoelves

aware of globalisai"ion ioeuee, and explain

and inopire within i"he workplace, ohurch,

univeroity, Campaiqning muot be done on a loaal

level and a national level, Campaignlng muot, be

radical, difterent and therefore noticeablel

in growing

inequality and polarisation of wealth, in

countries in the South crippled by debt

repayments and growing income gaps both

within and between countries. ln almost every

developing country in the world, the number

of people living on less than a dollar a day

have increased not fallen over the past 20

years since the 'Washington consensus'

became mainstream.

And social exclusion? ln a world like this,

few can gain redress for the injustices

inflicted upon them. ln the South we often see

a race to the bottom: companies scouring the

globe for the cheapest and easiest place to

manufacture. Regulatory standards, health

and safety standards fall, while rights are

junked, communities displaced, unions

outlawed. Tobacco workers in Brazil are

poisoned by banned pesticides, but there is

no hope of compensation, let alone improvement

in working conditions. These are

Southern workers and Southern communities

excluded from the access to justice that we in

the First World take for granted.

What arises from these patterns of exclusion

is a deep and growing chasm between the

global economy and social justice. lf it is not

bridged, it will result not only in seething

conflicts, but, over time, in a growing

movement of people that will make even our

gated communities impossible to protect.

So for our sakes, as well as those of the

two million-plus children who die each year

from diarrhoea brought on by a lack of clean

water, the issue of exclusion must be

addressed head-on. This is not just a longterm

goal; it is something that has to be done

at once, a project that can and must be part

of a contemporary political process. We need

to realise that what has prevented the pursuit

of this objective has not been an absolute

scarcity of resources; it has been an absence

of moral imperative, responsibility, or will'

We must therefore embrace a new agenda

based on inclusiveness, a commitment to

reconnecting the social and the economic, a

relinking of the latter to a plausible redistributive

system and a determination to ensure

access to justice for all. All these things

are within our reach. >


In practical terms these should be the

immediate first steps:

First, an inclusive political process must be

set up to investigate and consider the impact

of economic globalisation. This should take the

form of an international independent commission,

transparent, open, and involving all major

stakeholders: representatives of the South as

well as the Nofth, members of communities

who are affected as well as those who are

beneficiaries, the poor as well as the rich.

And the issues to address? What is the

impact of trade liberalisation on the poorest

members of the global society? What is the

cost of economic growth to the environment?

What price are we paying for big business

influencing the rules of the game on the

quality of the air we breathe and food we eat?

What is the justification for allowing the North

to continue to protect key industries such as

agriculture and textiles while the South is told

to open up all its markets?

This is not a matter of simply looking at

economic costs. We have to examine the

impact of economic globalisation on human

development, on social capital, and in particular

on the poor. What are the implications

for society of rural communities collapsing

overnight, or for farmers when their indigenous

plants are patented by corporations?

We do not as yet know the answers to all

these questions. Much of the research on

impact is confined to aggregate economic

data which tells us little if anything at all

about impact on particular groups. And there

is at present no forum within which to

rigorously address and examine these issues.

But now more than ever there is a real need

to confront the beliefs of the market

fundamentalists away from the streets and in

a public forum. A real imperative to investigate

the costs of economic globalisation

framed around the issue of exclusion.

Next we must commit to putting in motion

the necessary steps to create a World Social

Organisation, which will seek to reframe market

mechanisms in rules and regulations that

ensure that the costs of externalities such as

pollution and human rights abuses are factored

into all aspects of economic activity. An organisation

which'will provide a real counterweight

to the dominance of the WTO - with as sharp

teeth and powers of enforcement as real.

For if the status quo in which trade

interests have been given primacy is

maintained, if the economic is allowed to

dominate, and if we never reconnect the

social with the economic, we will exacerbate

divides and perpetuate a system in which the

rules of the game all too often serve the

interests of big business before people, and

profit before social or environmentaljustice.

globalisation: christian responses

ideas from scm's

'window on the world' conference

'tMe as Chrisilane need to aome lo a aommon underetandinT of

globallealion ao an umbrella term lo desaribe lhe proceeees lhat

exist in our world today. The churahes need to identify, underetand

and eetablish reeponaee to lhese individual proceoaeo by reaseeseing

tradilional Chrielian teaching in lhe light of an

incrc a eingly gl ob alio e d e o ciet y.

Ae Chrlstians we sland united lhrough lheolo1iaal refleatlon

and lhrough aatrion. The aation enables us lo

ao-o?eraie wilh and affirm ghe aalion of olher non-

Chrielian or1aniealione, Theologiaal reflealion

providee bolh a baeis lor our own action and

helpe ue deliver a Chrietian messa1e aarose

lhe world in a way that,ie appropriate in

various conte*el

Of course

we must be

careful that the North should not use this new

organisation as a form of protectionism.

Assistance must be provided by the developed

world to help its developing partners be able to

bear the costs associated with better global

regulation, and different responsibilities

should be attached to nations of the South in

the short term at least. The South should not

be penalised for joining this organisation from

a singularly disadvantaged starting point.

new resources have to be created

to empower people to gain access

to better lives

But relinking the social to the economic,

though necessary, is not sufficient. There still

remains the problem of seeking to alleviate

the positions of those who are most excluded

and marginalised. At the minimum this means

the cancellation of debt, reversing the outflows

of capital from the South to the North.

Overseas aid, which to the least developed

countries has fallen by 45o/o since 1990, must

be significantly increased, while the ways in

which it is delivered need to be rethought.

It will simply be impossible for countries to

reach the goals agreed upon at the Millennium

Summit if these steps are not taken.

We shall not be able to halve the proportion

of people living in extreme poverty by 2015,

nor halve the proportion of people suffering

from hunger, without an end to the financial

drain and a real financial boost.

But more than this, new resources have to

be created to empower people to gain access

to better lives. And these new forms of

resources can only be raised by new forms of

taxation, global indirect forms of taxation,

that are then redistributed. At the same )

movement | 15


feature: global isation

. Noleena Hertz is the

author of Trre Sirent

Takeover: Globat

Capttatram and the Dealh

of Democfacy (A'lowl

s7.99).

time these taxes must be used to protect our

environment and our resources, so they

would be taxes on the use of enerry and

resources, and on Pollution.

Finally mechanisms must be put into place

to help people fi$ht injustice as part of a

wider political rebuilding of institutions. All

people, wherever they are, must be extended

the rights we take for granted for ourselves.

Workers and communities everywhere must

be able to safe$uard basic rights to minimum

health and safety standards, to minimum

wages, to not be dispossessed without

adequate compensation.

ln the long term this is a matter of strengthening

both local and international regulation of

companies and making enforcement effective.

ln the short term, there are clear steps that

can be taken by governments of countries in

which multinationals are domiciled.

Several test cases are underway in which

companies are being sued in the North for

actions carried out by their subsidiaries in the

South. They include Unocal in the States in

connection with its activities in Burma, and

Shell in connection with its activities in Nigeria.

But this means of redress is usually blocked on

two fronts. First, it is very seldom possible to

lift the corporate veil and make parent

companies accountable for the actions of their

subsidiaries. Second, even when this is done,

there are usually no funds available for

workers or communities to take on multinationals

with relatively unlimited resources.

A world in which people have no access to

justice is a world in which discontent will

continue to fester. So my final recommendation

is to ensure that the perpetrators of

corporate crimes shall be taken to account,

wherever they are, and that their victims will

have redress whomever they are. This means

committing both to legislative reforms that

will ensure that the corporate veil can be

lifted and parent companies can be held

responsible for the actions of their

subsidiaries, and to the establishment of a

global legal aid fund so that workers and

communities everywhere can be allowed

access to justice.

A tall order, perhaps, my plan for the world

- but not inconceivable. For now more than

ever it is clear that this divided world of

injustice, inequity, and power asymmetries is

untenable. The events of September LL

2OOt, have shown us all too clearly that we

do not and cannot live in isolation. We are

inexorably linked, standing as global citizens

side by side. And we allow the exclusion of

groups of people amongst us at our peril. lt

cannot be that the only issues upon which we

as a world unite are terrorism and trade' We

must commit to a global coalition to deal with

the issue of exclusion too. I

Noreena Hertz

obatrbation

and the Cospel

How should we respond as Ghristians to the challenges and questions

posed by a globalised society?

When future historians look back at our era they are

unlikely to i$nore the process we call '$lobalisation'. While

it MAY prove just a 'buzzvord' and disappear as fast as it

emerged, the phenomena it encompasses - the globalising

of trade, investment, communications and so on - appear

to be so profoundly transforming our world it is hard to

believe we are not at a new, definin$, moment in history.

But how do we view $lobalisation as people of faith? Do we

see it as positive or harmful, or have we nothing to say

either way? Gan we bring anything, as Ghristians, to the

debate it has generated?

First I suggest we need some reserue'

realism and humour. Because the expansion in

the mobility of capital we've witnessed in

recent years seems not to have improved the

lot of people living in abject poverly, and if

anything to have widened the gulf between the

richest and poorest nations, we can easily

dismiss globalisation as antithetical to

Christian values. And clearly many aspects of it

should be viewed critically. But we need also to

remember that many aspects of it have greatly

improved our lives, not least the advances in

information technologt: that we know as

much as we do about globalisation's effects ;'

16lmovement


is largely because of what it has given us. The

irony of this has not been lost on protesters

with a sense of humour - witness the

'Globalised Movements Against Globalisation'

banners seen at Seattle, for example - and it

should help us to keep things in a proper

perspective.

We should also be wary about simply being

negative and denunciatory. lt's true that the

TINA ('There ls No Alternative') approach

adopted by many defenders of liberal

capitalism needs taking apart, both for its

lack of openness to the future and for its

feeble understanding of history; but critique

on its own, without pointers to alternatives, is

no better. The frustration of businesspeople

at those critics of capitalism who issue calls

for a 'just and sustainable alternative',

without saying what that alternative might

look like, is easy to understand.

I shall consider'alternatives' in a moment,

but let us first return to our original questions

- and here I suggest we find ourselves in a

genuine tension. On the one hand there are

sound theological reasons why the neoliberal

agenda should worry us as Christians.

lf we believe the gospel calls us to love and

care for one another, especially the weakest

and most marginalised, and to build

community, we may not immediately warm to

a system predicated upon competition and

we Gan become a powerful force for

good in our globalising world

individualism. lf we believe that capitalism, of

its own internal logic, must put profits before

people and the environment, then, again, it

will not be immediately obvious to us how it

fits with Christian values. Yet globalisation is

the only context we have to work in at the

moment, the only arena in which to try to live

out the gospel narrative; and therefore the

choice seems to be, either to try to make it

reflect gospel values, to work in the interests

of poor people, or to ask the poor to wait

while we dismantle it and build a better

alternative (assuming that to be possible).

My preference will be clear from the way I

have phras"ed the alternatives. While it will

hardly be straightforward to achieve, I believe

we have to put our efforts into making the

present system operate more justly, Let us

not forget, before we get too ovenvhelmed,

that it is not an unalterable, divinely-ordained

system, but a humanly-created one, and that

it is not therefore fanciful to envisage how it

might work in ways that are more

transparent, more sensitive to the planet,

more people-centred. Our own government

believes this to be possible, and has signed

feature: global isation

up to the Millennium Development Goals with

their target of halving by 2015 the number of

people living in abject poverty. The Chancellor

has spoken publicly of a role for churches

and faith groups in the struggle to achieve

these goals, and it seems entirely consistent

with our calling to 'seek first the kingdom of

God'to engage in such a project.

we must hold fast to the vision of

God's people as community

Yet our commitment to God's reign cannot

but lead us also to remain open to radically

new ways of being society - and here is the

possible tension. We may have to work within

the present situation as we find it, and even

try to redeem it, but we also anticipate the

coming of that 'kingdom' which radically

transforms us as individuals and communities.

Christian eschatology means that we

cannot buy into the 'end of history' thesis, the

suggestion that the system we find ourselves

in, post the Cold War, represents the logical

'omega point' to which history was inexorably

leading. We cannot believe that what we have

now is as good as it gets, that no other way of

organising ourselves is possible. Rather we

must hold fast to the vision of God's people as

community, indeed, as the 'one body' we

anticipate whenever we break bread together.

It may not be easy to hold that in tension with

a commitment to 'make globalisation work for

the poor', but the two are not inconsistent.

The vision inspires us to work all the harder to

make the commitment work.

Underpinning our whole approach to globalisation,

then, must be our understanding of

God - God as a God of life, the creator and

sustainer of life and the one who, in Jesus,

comes that we might

have life

'more )

globalisation:

christian responses

ideas from scm's

'window on the world' conference

'The Chrislian aommunity ehould

reo?ond with pnyer and action.

Prayen oupporting lhoee who take acliont for

unde?atanding of the issuesl for wisdom about

how to aat,

Aationz to learn morei to aampaigni to educate

olheroi to alert poliliaiano; to be more aware of our

voaationi to have liturgy that reflecls our concern for

lhese issuesito givefrnancial and ?rayer oupporti


globalisation: christian responses

ideas from scm's

'window on the world' conference

'Chrielians ehould ..,

make oureelvee aware of t'hebibllcal groundingwehavefor

hope and aa|,ion| take whalever aclione we aan in our

own lives (for example, Turahase

loaally grown food),

while reaognising i';hat everyone ls aompromieedt

eduaate ahildren aboul lhe world they live in,

eopealally aboul t'he relali.lonship belween the

Northern and goulhern Worldo aaL within

and wit'hout corToratione to subvert

and reeisllheir harmful etfectel

abundantlY'.

lf we understand that to

mean that nothing should be valued more

highly than life, that everything should serve

life, then we have a framework for both

critique and action. We shall not demonise

markets, companies, international finance

institutions, even globalisation per se' but we

want to see them seruing life rather than vice

versa. We shall argue for work as an activity

that gives meaning and value to life rather

than one likely to jeopardise or debase it. We

shall argue for trade and investment to be

means to an end - improving the quality of

life for all - rather than simply ends in

themselves. We shall affirm, as forcefully and

passionately as we can, our planet as a Godgiven

source of life for all, even in the face of

its exploitation and rape in the relentless

pursuit of groMh and profit. And when, in

. Dr Andrew Bradstock is

Secletary for Church and

Soclety at the United

Reformed Church. He ia

author of several books

on falth and polltics' and

has recently edlted (with

Christopher Rowland)

Radlcat Christian

Wrllings: A Reader,

publlshed by Blackwell.

making these affirmations, we find ourselves

sharing ground with people of a different

faith, we must do all that we can to break

down the barriers between us, barriers which,

when founded on mistrust and misinformation,

can have such devastating

consequences.

So we can offer an alternative to the

prevailing system - its reorientation to reflect

and incarnate the values of the reign of God'

to serue the interests of people, life and

planet. And we have already begun to work

towards realising this. Jubilee 2000 proved

that church people, in solidarity with others of

like mind, can be highly effective in securing

significant reforms to the global economic

system; the Trade Justice Movement, drawing

on the support of many relief agencies'

churches and other bodies, seems likely to

make this point just as powerfully. The

Fairtrade Movement, too, alerts us to ways in

which producers in the developing world are

exploited and challenges us to act justly as

consumers. As Christians make connections

between povertY and debt, trade, aid,

education and other factors' so we can

become a powerful force for good in our

globalising world. And as the movements we

have mentioned remind us, throughout the

scriptures God calls on communities to

practise justice and jubilee in preference to

charity and alms, to organise so that povefty

is eliminated rather than simply 'treated'. This

is a callwhich should spur us allto committed

and prayerful action, for that really is what it's

all about in the end. As Max didn't quite say'

the point is not just to interpret our globalised

world but to change it' I

Andrew Bradstock

t-.i uAraFltq.c

Ie not profit

Fairtr e

Globalised iniustice can be opposed by globalised resistance..'

rhis Piece is about empowerment'

I anout the understanding that

I Eloo"li"ation is a process that we

all are part of, and that we all can

influence. The 'we' that I am referring to

is literally everyone who feels unable to

affect, but feels affected by, the trends

of international business and politics'

According to Christian Aid, the three richest

people in the world control more wealth than

all 600 million people living in the poorest

countries. Their share of world trade is just

:: bittBr d+.1

lEr Th;'d \'/(rl,l

Frl.ldu 3uf g

0.4 per cent. But this doesn't mean that

ordinary people have no power. On 4 May this

yeart over 30OO rural craftswomen in

southern lndia marched proudly through the

streets to celebrate the first ever World Fair

Trade Day, proclaiming their achievements as

artisans and expressing their solidarity with

others around the world, who they see as

their trading partners. On the same day,

supporters in Austria were climbing into mansized

banana suits to spread the word to

other shoppers in the Vienna high streets. >

18 lmovement


feature: global isation

'My first experience of international trading was at a trade

show in Europe. Quite out of my normal comfort zone, I

found the experience daunting, unnerving and at times

quite intimidating. Prices, naturally, were uppermost in

people's minds and I had great difficulty reconcilin$ the

atmosphere of the trade show with the environment in

which the products were produced. There was no way in

this great hall that I could share the stories about the

women who made the products and in no way were their

needs and aspirations taken into account. I am not naiVe

enough to believe that at the end of the day, trade is not

about prices and profits, but somehow there needed to be

another way.'

Karin le Roux from Mud Hut Trading!, a Fair Trading or{,anisation

in Namibia which links rural craftsmen and women

We must develop the confidence to face, and

not accept, the global trading system as it is.

We have the power, if only we will use it.

The Trade Justice Movement is a growing

group of organisations in the UK who are all

concerned about the negative impact of

international trade rules on the world's

poorest people, on the environment, and on

We have the power,

if only we will use it

democracy. Their shared vision is that trade

can be made to work for all - if there is

change to the rules and institutions that

govern it. This can be achieved if ordinary

people are inspired to take action and make

their governments listen to their concerns.

On 19 June the mass lobby for Trade Justice

proved its power as 12,000 campaigners

from every corner of the UK converged on

Westminster to deliver their message to their

parliamentary representatives and from there

to the top echelons of government.

We find that we have power and influence in

the various areas of our lives. The Fair Trade

movement is a growing sector of international

business that brings the Trade Justice vision to

life through practical, everyday trading with

communities who have been shunted to the

mar$ns by $obalisation. Those communities are

now selling their products on the same

(botlom left)

rhousands or

plotesters

lobbred thef.

MPS ln

person ro

;:,?::t

;lij:

mass lobby of Parliament this summel

supermarket shelves as the largest multinationals.

When customers in the UK choose Fair

Trade products, they are contributing economically

and politically to an alternative way of doing

business. The growth of Fair Trade sales in the

UK has spearheaded a momentum of initiatives

across the corporate sector that go far beyond

PR and represent genuine efforts to measure

social impacts as part of the bottom line.

That empowerment is mirrored at the other

end of the trading chain, in the lives of our

trading partners in developing countries.

According to Brigitte Kyerematen-Darko from

the organisation

Aid to >

globalisation:

christian responses

ideas from scm's

'window on the world' conference

'?ray lo bring God into the situation, and

live the ?rayen

Listen to the stories and be aware ol the

situation, while epreading awareneol to other

people (that io, beln6 the "aonsaienae of the

people".)

View Nhe planet aa on loan from our grandahildren

and God, and eee all people ao equal.

5ee the Flble as a double-edged eword, read bolh as

o??reeeor and the oppreesed,

Have faith lo aat, knowing lhat God ie wibh usi


feature: global isation

Artisans Ghana, woodcaryers may know that

they are not getting a fair price from intermediary

traders, but need the confidence to

Small communities are now selling their

products on the same supermarket

shelves as the largest multinationals

. Kathorlns Anderson Is

Co-ordinator fol

lnformation and

AdvoGacy for the

lnternatlonal Federatlon

of Alternative frade

negotiate. 'Fair Trade gives them the

confidence.' Aid may provide much needed

assistance - but it doesn't give any of the power

back.

So what can we do to engage positively

with the challenge of globalisation?

we can use our power as voters to engage

with the parliamentary process. We can use

our power as customers to create a demand

for fairly traded goods. Let businesses know

that we have ethical concerns when we buy

their products - send a postcard to the store

manager. lf we have money to invest, think

about where we invest it. The main thing is to

be vocal. We have friends, families'

colleagues, and through those networks of

relationships we can influence many others.

When we realise the interconnections

following globalisation, we realise that

nobody is so easy to i€nore. I

Katherine Anderson

IITEffiIIET#ffiTIET

see also,,,

O The Trade Justice Movement

campaigns for fundamental

change to the unjust rules and

institutions governing international

trade, so that trade is made

to work for all. lt is a fastexpanding

group of organisations

that include ActionAid, CAFOD.

Christian Aid, The Fairtrade

Foundation, Friends of the Earth,

Methodist Relief & DeveloPment

Fund, National Federation of

Women's lnstitutes, National

Union of Students, Oxfam, Peace

Child lnternational, PeoPle &

Planet, Save the Children, SCIAF,

SPEAK, Tearfund, Traidcraft, VSO,

War on Want, WOMANKIND,

Women's Environmental Network

and the World DeveloPment

Movement.

Contact details:

Trade Justice Movement

c/o The Fairtrade Foundation

Suite 204

16 Baldwin's Gardens

London

EC1N 7RJ

t: 020 7404 0530

e: tim@fairtrade.orE.uk

w: www.tradeiusticemovement.org.uk

O The Fairtrade Foundation was set

up by major UK develoPment

agencies to promote Fair Trade

and to award the Fairtrade Mark.

The Fairtrade Mark is an indePendent

consumer label which

guarantees a better deal for

workers and producers from Poor

countries. Set uP bY major

development agencies, the

Fairtrade Foundation checks that

products meet its standards

before awarding the stamP of

approval. The Fairtrade Foundation

is a point of contact for all UK

individuals interested in

supporting Fair Trade.

Contact details:

The Fairtrade Foundation

Suite 204

16 Baldwin's Gardens

London

EC1N 7RJ

t: O2O 74OS 5942

e: mail@fairtrade.org.uk

w: www.fairtrade.org.uk

O labour Behind the Label is a UK

coalition camPaigning for

improvements in working

conditions in the international

garment industry. lt is Part of

broader international coalition,

the Clean Clothes CamPaign.

Through Labour Behind the Label

you can find out how to influence

UK high street retailers to improve

conditions for their workers.

Contact details:

Labour Behind the Label

38 Exchange Street

Norwich

NR2 1AX

t: 01603 610993

e: lbl@gn.apc.org

20 lmovement


ties and binds

ties and binds I jim cotter

this lookout, this planet earth

Untilfairly recently the calendar of the

Western world was firmly attached,

without controversy, to the approximate

year of the birth of Jesus. We

still refer to years as, for example,

581ec or Before Ghrist, and lo 581, or

Anno Domini, in the year of the Lord

581. (By the way, the ec comes after

the date, the no before it, because you

say it aloud like that when you use the

phrases in full - sorry to point it out,

pedantic I'm sure...) To many people

this division now feels parochial, or at

best regional, not least since the

'millennium' was greeted by every time

zone round the planet, and even Ghina

uses the year 2OO2.

Since more people, of different cultures and

faiths, now use the formerly more exclusive

Christian reckoning of the years, some writers

have altered ac to BCE, Before the Common

Era, and no to CE, Common Era. But there is a

problem here. lf you don't think the birth of

Christ significant your dating system hangs

loose from any event. lt doesn't really work for

a secular world. Of course Christians may think

they hold a trump card. After all, the language

of 'common' and 'universal' has been claimed

totally for Christ. But the change to CE is more

a matter of international convenience and an

accident of history in a world of computers and

travel agents.

Well, I might want to argue that one of the

best titles for Jesus is The Human Being, the

archetype of humanity who lived a decisive

(perhaps I push that word into 'definitive'?)

clue to the character of God, incarnating it,

which I would sum up as Love, expressed as

Justice in public life and Intimacy in private

life. That is the vision I have glimpsed and the

programme I recognise as fitfully enacted.

But I am aware that at least two-thirds of the

world doesft think like that, and in general

human awareness it seems to me that indeed

something new has occurred over the last

generation. We have crossed a threshold,

intimations of which have been gathering pace

ever since the first circumnavigation of the

globe, and which irrevocably changed our

consciousness when human eyes - was it in

1968? - first contemplated our home planet

from far off in space. I would make a tentative

claim that that was the most siginificant event

of the twentieth century.

This suggests to me that the 'Common Era'

or 'Global Era' began in, give or take a few

years, 1968, and that we are now living in,

shall we say, 34 GE - though I am under no

illusion that the United Nations is going to

endorse this prophetic moment. I simply share

the idea for what it's worth, which may be

nothing.

These ruminations could lead into a discussion

of globalisation, the World Cup, climate

change, the internet, international law, or a

host of other issues. But I want to stay with

that picture of the planet, the blue and white

sphere against such a deep black background.

Much poetry and prayer uses the imagery of

sunrise and sunset, and the human eye

delights in the illusion as well as in the natural

beauty. The sun sets, sinks, falls, and so on.

and so on. Body clocks and emotional moods

are often intimately connected with the

changes of daylight and darkness, and the

seasons of the year.

But the new awareness gives us a different

perspective, one not yet woven into poetry and

prayer, not least because we neither feel nor

see (at least with the naked eye) the

movement of the planet in space. One meditation,

derived from information in Edward Hays'

Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim (Forest of

Peace Publishing lnc., 1989, 1995), gives us a

hint of how we might add a 'morning' 'ptayet'

to our repertoire that honours the new

universe story - though whether it leads to

thoughts of glory or of insignificance remains

an open question:

From this lookout, this planet earth,

remote outpost of the universe,

contemplating the stars at night,

racing with our brother planets

forty thousand miles an hour through

space...

On the surface of our earth,

warmed to life by mother sun,

orbiting around her six hundred million

miles a year,

wakened by our day star that seems so

close...

At morning turn-around of earth,

spinning on her axis at a thousand miles

an hour,

fullness of day beyond the eastern

horizon,

thick night way out beyond the west...

we breathe in quiet exhilaration,

we move into this new day in trust... I

one of the

best titles

for lesus is

The Human

Being, the

archetype of

humanity

. Jim Cotter runs Cailns

Publishing, an

independent Christian

imprint

movementl2l


ecumenrsm

ecumenlbm tb like

ridins, a bike...

what can SGM learn from cycling activists?

solidari$f No, really - put the

away,

history books aside - in your experience what is it?

have you felt, 'l belong. This truly matters'?

Examining my own life, I realise solidarity is

much rarer than I first thought. An evening

spent with close friends in a pub discussing

grand ideas? Once the mist of alcohol or

sentimentality has gone away, I'll admit this is

only camaraderie. Then there are certain stories

I have covered as a journalist for local newspapers

- stories with political bite that have voiced

community concerns and effected change. This

doesn't even take strong editorialising, just

straight reporting of a legitimate issue. Yet, if I'm

honest, the reason editors love such stories is

that they sell papers. lt is not because they

conform to some noble charter of ideals.

I'll try again. The best example of solidarity I

can offer is riding my bike with a bunch of

strangers. By that I mean a Gritical Mass bike

ride, a monthly'happenin$' in numerous cities

worldwide, in which cyclists assert their ri$ht to

be on the roads by riding together, usually at

rush hour on a Friday evening. ln this case I'm

talking about St Louis but the atmosphere, and

the ethos, is more or less the same anywhere.

Gritical Masses are not protests'

not athletic bike rides, but rather

torganised coincidencest

I came to St Louis, Missouri last summer with

my wife. We'd been married for a week at that

point and Katy hadn't lived in St Louis for ten

years, so we were both pretty clueless about

what to expect. We were short of cash'

. unenthused by the idea of runnin$ a car and

determined to see how we'd fare with a travel

pass and a bike. We soon discovered that in the

Midwest, relying on public transport means

something different than in Europe. Put simply,

only pensioners and poor people ride the bus.

Or at least that is the perception. lt's not

uncommon to be standing at a bus stop and

have a passing motorist yell, 'Get a car!' When

people give you directions they'll tell you where

to find a parking spot, even before asking how

you're travelling. Using Metrolink - a light

railway system installed ten years ago - is not

quite so deviant, but it doesn't get you

everywhere.

As for cycling, recreational biking is deemed

acceptable, but anything more purposeful is

just plain eccentric. I have heard a story about

someone who had just taken a job with a

corporation and was told he would not be

allowed to ride his bike to work. Given that

context, it's understandable why biking with a

group of fifty other riders is so affirming. We're

all freaks together.

Critical Masses are not protests, not athletic

bike rides, but rather, as the lingo goes,

'organised coincidences'. There is a route

sketched out, usually about ten miles, and if

someone feels like taking a detour the whole

group follows. One feels safe taking the inside

lane on major roads, something I would be

unlikely to do if travelling on my lonesome.

The idea comes from Beijing, where at

junctions, cyclists gather until they achieve

'critical mass' and then plough into the road

making the other traffic stop for them all.

Similarly, a Critical Mass travels as one unit and

can keep going through traffic lights when they

turn red, in the same manner as a funeral

cortege.

Dan Kliman, a transplant from Chicago where

masses attract up to 500 people, started the St

Louis ride two years ago. He told me: 'l'm a bi$

road rider and every time I ride Critical Mass it

gives that energ/ to get through another month

of being a bike commuter.' lnitiating the ride

was a matter of putting flyers on every parked

bike he saw and getting the news out via

supportive online discussion groups. The first

mass was siginificant for the disparate cycling

community because 'people had the sense that

they could take over the road. We weren't goin$

to be terrorised by cars.'

Numbers fluctuate depending on the weather,

the final destination and, of course, group

chemistry. Participants vary from hardcore

cyclists (professional couriers, competitive

cyclists and daily commuters) to wusses like

myself (far happier on a cycle path than a main

road and with a major aversion to riding at

night) and people who haven't been on a bike in

ten years. I couldn't even begin to identify all

the different kinds of bikes - suffice to say

that the visual effect of a mass (especially the)

22 lmovement


fancy dress one at Halloween) would be enough

in itself to stop traffic. How often do you see a

tandem followed by a rickshaw?

So why have I jimmied these transportorientated

musings into SCM's magazine?

Because, I feel, there is a latent spirituality in

the Critical Mass phenomenon - an appreciation

of what rituals, evangelism (in its best

sense) and community are all about.

RITUAL: after twenty minutes or so of chatting

while people congregate in Keiner Plaza,

downtown St Louis, everyone hops on their bike

and circles round a fountain in the centre of the

plaza several times until someone decides to

embark on the route. lt's street theatre and a

great demonstration of unity-through-diversity

without resorting to shrill slogans. Another

tradition that has evolved with the St Louis mass

(and perhaps other cities, I don't honestly know)

is that at least once per ride at a major intersection

everyone gets off their bikes and defiantly

raises them above their heads. Some drivers are

amused, others are irked and some - believe it

or not - have tried to drive through the mass.

Once the honking of horns becomes too much, or

arms start to sag, we move on.

EVANGELISM: some riders hand out flyers to

puzzled pedestrians and motorists. There is a

fanatical urge to spread the good news about

biking. The leaflets say: 'Once people see how

much fun cycling can be, and how much safer

and more pleasant it makes their streets, the

thinking behind our car-oriented transport

policies will be challenged.' To my tastes the

flyers are rather gushy, but to people who have

never considered a bicycle as a serious form of

transport, it's maybe not a bad idea to be

emphatic. Although it's not 'my thing' (l never

made a good evangelical Christian either), others

will continue to ride-n-proselytise and I

wholeheartedly support them.

COMMUNITY: Critical Mass creates a tangible

sense of community, even if the community exists

in that form for one night only. Some riders are

rabidly anti-car, others drive daily, but there is no

interrogation about how committed anyone is to

alternative forms of transportation. There is no

qualification to being a Critical Mass-er, other than

being there with a bike.

Those empowering evenings remind me of my

time involved with SCM in Glasgow: there's the

grand idea - an intelligent and inclusive vision

of Christianity - which no-one really talked

about because you were so busy doing it;

there's the discovery that I am not alone, there

are other freaks (people who also feel both

sceptical and excited by faith); and we stuck at

it, meeting once a week, with the numbers

fluctuating wildly.

Rather than worrying that SCM has lost its

political edge or its theological rigour - or

whatever the complainl du jour is - perhaps we'd

do well to imagine SCM as an advocacy group

along the lines of Critical Mass. The primary aim

is to allow free thinking about our faith, when,

broadly speaking, churches discourage this.

Meeting together without a leader is a form of

direct action and if we succeed in making a 'safe

space', theological insights and political stances

will come out of that. That was my experience

during six years with Glasgow SCM. We would

draw up termly programs with an obligatory

session on 'Homosexuality and the Bible', as if

the SCM group had to spell out its line to

newcomers, but then it morphed into an attitude

of 'There's so many gay Christians in this group

that's if anyone is uncomfortable with the idea

they will have left by the end of term anyhow.'

Rituals were similarly loose and organic. A

ten-minute slot, jokingly called the 'holy

moment', was prepared by a different person

each week, who of course brought their tastes

and religious heritage to it. But liberal

Christians rarely take Mass together, to use the

Catholic term, because it draws lines and

excludes people. Church history and teaching

has turned the breaking of bread - essentially a

sign of unity between believers - into a highly

divisive issue.

I'm not going to suggest on the basis of a

weak pun on the word 'mass', that a bike ride

offers anything that will heal 2,000 years of

internecine fighting. But there is something very

appealing about Critical Mass's way of making a

community from essentially isolated people who

come together and share a journey, then leave

energised and emboldened for their daily

journeys. Critical Masses are carnivals that

celebrate diversity and unleash pent-up ener6/.

But they are also 'carnivalesque' in the sense

that academics use the term. lt's like the

Roman festival of Saturnalia in which slaves and

masters exchanged places for a day: subversive

thoughts are played out, temporarily

turning the world upside-down, and that vision

sustains us when things return to normal. Bikes

could dominate the streets, not cars.

Likewise a spiritual community energises us

for our daily journeys; and SCM is a carnival

where bright young things imagline what the

church should be.

Let the dreary old

codgers honk their

horns. I

Tim Woodcock

ecumentsm

subversive

thoughts are

played out,

temporarily

turning the

world upsidedown,

and

that vision

sustains us

when things

return to

normal

. Tim Woodcock is a

former editor of

Movement


first among equals

.l

first among equals I claire connor

Meet Lucy Symons, co-ordinator of a university SCM group' and her

faithful committee. lt's the beginning of the year, and Freshers' Week

is looming large. Lucy's diary tells all...

The whole

day was a

hideous

pantomime,

with large,

fixed grins

directed at

the crowd

of freshers

stumbling

past with

arms full of

freebies and

eyes too big

for their

faces

. Claire Connor is Catholic

lay Chaplain at GKT

medical schools, King's

College London

September 15th

4pm Well, back to earth with a bang - second

year here I come! Just finished moving into our

new house. lt passed the Parent lnspection,

thank Boodness. Mum stuck her head out of

the car as they drove off and yelled, 'Don't

forget to plan your food shopping, darling! And

change the freshener in the loooooo.." The

neighbours must think they've left an eightyear-old

behind, not a grown adult. Hmph'

Surrounded by all my worldly goods here, so

better shove it all in the bedroom and unpack

later. The SCM committee are due round in

half an hour for the pre-freshers meeting. I'm

the first back, can't believe it. Damn, no fresh

milk! Oh well...

9.3opm Come on!! Meeting went amazingly

well. Am fantastically fantastic co-ordinator (we

decided not to use the term president, too

hierarchical and not very pc, we felt), with v.

committed team. Nearly everyone was there,

Bemadette (social sec), Jane (publicity), Sister

Margaret (Chaplains' rep) Kevin (secretary) - we

were missing my assistant co-ordinator Jeremy,

but he's still on holiday. Pretty much

everything's in place for the fresher's fair on

Wednesday and the opening social on Friday at

Tom's house (HUGE vicarage and his wife's a

great cook).

Slight problem with Kevin, or Krazily Keen

Kevin as I think of him, in that he wanted to

minute the entire meeting word for word. Tried

to say he just needed to put down the main

points but there was no stopping him. A bit

tedious having to repeat things and his pencil

was practically smoking by the time we were

finished, but it's great that he's so conscientious.

Always look for the positive, Dad says.

There were some great ideas for the annual

retreat - Kevin wants to cycle to Santiago di

Compostella but most people seemed to put

Taiz6 as the top option. Have to see what

people think. Just back from the pub with

Bernie and my bed's covered in boxes.

Unrngh, what's positive about that?

September 18th

8.3oam This is inhumane! lt's practically the

middle of the night. Thank goodness Freshers'

Fair is only once a year. Oh Lord, I'm going to

miss the bus. Here goes!

7pm Too - tired -to write. Quite successful -in

spiteof -iz@z..

September 19th

71am I have in front of me a sheet of paper

with 26 freshers'e-mail addresses on it. Yep,

26. ln view of yesterday's performance, this is

miraculous. Jeremy, my mainstay team

member, has had what I can only describe as

an unholy conversion experience over the

summer. New Orleans has clearly weakened

his mind. I don't know what I'm going to do

with him - or at this rate, to him. Grrrrr'

Arrived to find Jane and Robert (Free Church

Chaplain) setting up the stall next to the

Groovers society, who were cheerfully

thumping out music to make your ears bleed

on a mammoth sound system. 'Couldn't get

anywhere else!' screamed Robert - at least, I

think that's what he said. Whole day quickly

became like hideous pantomime, complete

with exaggerated sign-here gestures and

large, fixed grins directed at the crowd of

freshers stumbling past with arms full of

freebies and eyes too big for their faces. Only

Kevin remained undaunted, bouncing around

in an 'l belong to Jesus' t-shirt and matching

WWJD baseball cap, cheerfully bellowing at all

comers and handing out term cards.

Thankfully, there were enough people for us to

do half hour shifts with hearing recuperation

breaks in between, and we were actually doing

okay - untilJeremy made his entrance.

He strolled up at 2pm (four hours late), Mr

strait-laced Marks and Spencer 2002 dressed

in top to toe black, shirt half-unbuttoned to

reveal a large gold chain, wearing a ridiculously

large pair of shades and a cigarette (a

cigarette!) dangling nonchalantly from the

comer of his mouth. There was a collective gasp

from the stall - well, everyone had their mouths

open at any rate. 'Jeremy, what happened?!

You look like something out of the flipping Blues

Brothers!' I shouted. 'lI's Jaz, if you don't

mind,' he replied coolly, 'and that's the whole

point - dotl.'Well, it was damage limitation ftom

there on in. Even Kevin began to lose his

bounce after an hour ofJeremy haranguingthe

Groovers (soulless philistines, apparently)' and

lurching up to fteshers with what was clearly

supposed to be a cool swagger, shouting,

'We're on a mission from God!' and spraying

cigarette ash all over the place. We were luclcy

not to get thrown out, franklY.

Amazin$y, not everyone was scared off and a

good number seemed keen to come to the

social. Wonder if I can dissuade Jeremy/Jan

from coming - no, that's horrible. Maybe he'll

get normal again after the holiday effect wears

off. ln the meantime, it's official - America is

bad for my health. I

1

24 | movement


eviews: books

I

J

fgVJ 9

'V

c)

J

celebratin{, the senses

a new book challenges some accepted orthodoxies about the body

The Education of Desire

T J Gorringe I scm press I f,13.95

I confess I judged this book by its

oover. The colour photograph of a

half-clad Dexter Fletcher posing as

Bacchus in Derek Jarman's film

Canva{gio wastoo much to resist.

As is often the case, it is had to

find justification for the choice of

picture in the contents of the book,

thouglr Gorringe does refer brieffy

to Caravaggio's depictions of

Bacchus in his third chapter, 'Sins

of the Flesh?'. Still, the Dionysiac

and delectable Dexter is what

made me pick the book up and

perhaps what made you read this

review, so here goes.

The first four chapters of lhe

Education of Desire are based on

lectures given at the University of

Victoria, British Columbia in 2000 and

argue for a revised attitude towards

our bodies and senses in our thinking

about God. The final chapter is taken

from a lecture given to the Catholic

Peace and Justice Conference and is

a re-interpretation of the Eucharist as

both a celebration of the body and as

a ritual with.far-reaching implications

for living as bodies in the body of a

global economy.

The problem with turning a series

of lectures into a book is that the

chapters risk appearing disjointed

and may not come together convincingly

enough to form a coherent

overall argument. But Gorringe

overcomes this problem almost

wholly successfully by setting up a

bold case for the centrality in

theology of a celebration of the

senses in the first chapter:

'ln and through bodies, and

through the exercise of our

senses, God moves towards the

creation of a new world, a world

of the celebration and affirmation

of bodies, and therefore of

the creator, as the consummate

sign of the grace of God's

essential nature.'

and then dealing with anticipated

objections to his own argument in the

chapters that follow. What about

when the senses are used for evil as

well as for good? Doesn't a celebration

of the senses affirm our hedonist,

consumerist societlp What about the

tradition of asceticism? And, to my

mind most importantly, if we put so

much weight on the senses, what

about those who are sensually

deprived - blind, deaf or quadriplegic?

Gorringe is refreshing and illuminating

on all these points, but his

treatment of this last one is the most

memorable because it is the most

controversial. He challenges deepseated

ideas on a sensitive subject,

rejecting the definition of disability

as that which is contrary to what is

'normal', but also rejecting the view

held by some of those who are

disabled themselves, that physical or

mental impairment is somehow Godgiven.

What is particularly impressive

about this chapter is its range of

reference. Gorringe never simply

gives his own scholarly view - rather

he illustrates his points with firsthand

accounts of people personally

affected by disability.

lndeed, the whole book is filled with

an incredible array of references. He

refers to Karl Barth and to Britney

Spears, to Augustine's Confessions

and to When Harry Met Sally. This is

engaging and entertaining, though

occasionally he does risk losing his

reader by getting bogged down in

constant allusion to other sources.

Gorringe is at his best when

overturning accepted orthodoxies

and challenging our prejudices and

hang-ups. His points on the real

origin, purpose and reach of the

Eucharist in the final chapter are

certainly food for thought. What,

finally, does he mean by 'the

education of desire'? Nothing to do

with Dexter, I'm afraid, but that

doesn't mean it's not provocative. I

recommend you go between the

covers to find out. I

M enber . r.,"i;j gill,:,"ff:l

movementl25


.l

reviews: theatre

teachin€ God to dance

a modern interpretation of medieval religious drama

Mysteres

London, spring 2002

A South African theatre

company put on a PlaY based on

the Ghester Gycle of MYstery

plays in London during the

spring. The Mysteries were a

series of medieval PlaYs telling

sacred history from the Fall of

Lucifer to DoomsdaY Put on bY

craft guilds in cities across

Europe: each town had its own

set of plays. TheY were a

populist form: the stories were

enlivened by humour from

assorted shepherds, devils,

soldiers, and Noah's wife (who

didn't like the idea of sPending

forty days cooPed uP with a

bunch of smelly animals and

would rather go and visit her

friends), and the anti-authoritarian

potential of the Passion

narratives was PlaYed uP.

planvrights cheerf ullY

imagined the events in

medieval terms,

unencumbered by historical

awareness or any sense of

classical grandeur

The writers of the Plays found that

the biblical narratives are often

somewhat spare and confine

themselves to essentials. To modern

sensibilities, this is part of their

literary power, but medieval sensibilities

were different, and theY found

that the biblical narratives allowed

for, and indeed required, elaboration

to explain and motivate the behaviour

of the characters. Thus, the

playwrights cheerfully imagined the

events in medieval terms, unencumbered

by historical awareness or any

sense of classical grandeur. Medieval

sensibilities enjoyed diversity, digression

and occasional irreverence, and

they found that the grand narrative of

the Old and New Testament allowed

them to fit a lot of this in. The good

characters are surprised at being

caught up in the events of sacred

history, reasonablY Pious, $ven the

number of miracles going on around

them, but not exactlY holy, while the

evil characters are cheerfullY

irreverent or madly tyrannical' Herod

was notorious for allowing the actor

to go over the top - Shakespeare has

Hamlet make reference to him. The

primary sense is of a bustling

humanity who have lives of their own

in the background, who haPPen to be

called up into the Biblical story. As

noted, the villainy of the evil characters

in the New Testament, is

depicted very much in terms of

medieval power structures - wicked

priests and rulers are bY no means

left safely in a distant Past. The

narratives before the lncarnation

show God at his most'Old Testament'

(although the narrative starts with the

Fall of Lucifer, which is a much later

invention). The play cycle traditionally

included Judgement DaY, which is

pretty 'Old Testament' as well,

although in the South African production

it was omitted in favour of a

thoroughly universalist ending: the

cast all did an African dance led bY

Jesus, with Lucifer in the middle of

the company playing the percussion

accompaniment.

wicked priests and rulers

are by no means left

safely in a distant Past

The company in the London Performance

was mixed race, mostlY

black, performing in traditional

African dress for the Old Testament'

and in jeans and shirt for the New

Testament. TheY sPoke in at least

four languages - Afrikaans, English,

Xhosa, and Zulu - with a few extra

Latin chants. Some of the costumes

were pointed: Pontius Pilate was

costumed as a British Admiral' not

wanting to convict a man he thought

innocent, but eventually washin$ his

hands of the native's affairs.

I'm not sure to what extent the

mixed-race casting was used deliberately.

The first white character on

stage was Cain. Other white characters

were Abraham, Mary, sister of

Martha, Pilate (as PreviouslY

mentioned), and Thomas (who didn't

get to express doubt over the

resurrection, but did seem to be

telling Jesus that he couldn't be

expected to learn to dance just like

that). Certainly the casting raised

questions of racial Privilege and

God couldn't dance until

he'd taken off his robes and

jewellery and stripped to a

pair of old ieans

power, and was preferable to the all

too frequent inclusion of a black

actor as a minor villain on the

London stage.

Lucifer always steals the show and

the actor playing Lucifer in this

production was esPeciallY good.

Although he could and did adoPt an

expression of gleeful mischief when

required, he was at his best

wandering through the stage with a

shell-shocked expression as various

humans did awful things to each

other without his prompting. Another

particularly effective scene was the

massacre of the innocents. Herod's

soldiers, in modern uniforms,

swaggered onto the stage and cooed

over the babies before killing them.

Both the mothers and the soldiers

knew that the soldiers had no

benevolent interest in children, but

you could see them both thinking

that the mothers were in no position

to protest.

The most memorable scene: Mary

teaching God[esus how to dance at

the incarnation. God couldn't

manage it until he'd taken off his

robes and jewellery and stripped to a

pair of old jeans. I

David Anderson

ActlnEl Edltor ol Movement

26lmovement


eviews: art

ll

but tb it arJ?

an exhibition of 20th century art raises a few questions

Sacred Century: Reti$ion in 2oth Century British Art

Exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, until 8 June 2OO2

Walking into the room with this

small exhibition felt, at first, like

walking into a modern church.

The dominant centrepiece, taking

up an entire wall, was a tapestry

design produced in the sixties by

John Piper for Ghichester

Cathedral. You'll have seen the

kind of tapestry in many

churches vibrant colours,

abstract symbols of the Spirit,

ioytul flowing patterns. Pretty -

but it didn't excite me or make

me think. This initial impression

was challenged by an exploration

of the other pieces, but it started

me thinkingl about the relationship,

or lack thereof, between

religion and effective art.

'Sacred Century'tried to map out a

progression in religious influences on

art over the last 100 years, with

varying success. I started by looking

at work from the early years of the

century - jingoistic images from the

'Arts and Crafts' movement, of Saint

George and other patriotic subjects.

The horrors of the First World War

only seem to have exaggerated

these conservative tendencies.

Reacting against the chaos they had

suffered through - the artist Stanley

Spencer said that it felt like 'the

divine sequence was gone' - the

Christian artists of the twenties and

thirties sought to reassert notions of

order and tradition, through idyllic

pastoral imagery and styles

influenced by medieval iconography.

World War ll shook artists out of this

unexciting tendency. The pieces from

the forties onwards be$n to use

powerful combinations of traditional

reli$ous imagery with contemporary

elements. Feibusch's 1943 'Pieta'

places a man in modem dress beside

Mary and Christ's body, evoking the

tenible scenes taking place in Europe at

the time. Graham Suthedand's Thom

Cross' contains contorted human

figures and sinister machinery of war.

The overriding impression that

'Sacred Century' gave of the late

twentieth century, thougih, was one of

fragmentation and pluralism. The

earlier works were nearly all intended

for use in Christian publications or

churches; the later pieces ranged from

the tapestry mentioned above to

secular works such as lee Wagstaffs

'Shroud', a modem-day Turin Shroud

imprinted in the artist's own blood. The

tone was one of exploration and

challenge, with artists taking and using

diverse images and references to make

their indMdual statements. Wagstaffs

'Shroud'features the artist's tattoos of

reli$ous symbols, reflecting an interest

in the repetition of patterns and beliefs

across cultures. 'Perils of Faith' by Ana

Maria Pacheco pictures sinister

masked figures digging in the dark, a

far cry ftom the noble Saint George.

And artists have drawn on reli$ous

imagery to create striking and controversial

images which challenge the

comfortable notions of conventional

reli$on and politics. Helen Ghadwick's

'One Flesh' pictures a modern

Madonna, sunounded by the paraphernalia

of modern motherhood and

pointing questionin$y at her female

baby. The artist aimed to reclaim

patriarchal images of women, seeing

the Virgin Mary as 'an extraordinary and

fertile site of the feminine'. Similarly,

Rose Garrard was inspired by a 2,000

year old Gnostic text to depict an

evocative trinity of female figures.

Closing the exhibition was a

special display of Adrian

Wiszniewski's stark Stations of the

Cross. Their simplicity and timeless

design was powerful, but as with the

tapestry, I had to wonder whether

they really had as much to say to us

in a new millennium as their more

'secular' counterparts.

For me, the more imaginative and

challen$ng pieces in this exhibition

were nearly all works from a secular

perspective, which drew on the

powerful imagery of religion and )

movement 127


eviews: books

myth (Christian or otherwise) to inspire

debate or explore the human

condition. Leaving the gallery, I

passed dozens of exquisite medieval

church ornaments, impressing on me

the power of a tradition that reigned

over all the people of Europe for

centuries. But that shared worldview is

now gone, shattered in part by events

in the last century. Art produced in and

for the church now is always at risk of

becoming insular, limited, or merely

self-congratulatory. One really

challenging work is worth any number

of colourful banners proclaiming

'hope', in my book. But at its best, art

can act to make religion's imagery and

messages more relevant to the culture

around it, helping religion to engage

more fully with the world.

Some of the work in 'Sacred

Century' did achieve this, and I know

of other exciting and challenging

work being done by artists within the

church, such as the female

crucifixion piece 'Christa'. But art

commissioned for churches should

not be afraid to confront the same

issues which secular artists tackle.

The language, stories and symbols of

religion will alwaYs have a unique

power to define and exPlore the

things which matter to us most as

people and as communities. I

Liam Purcell

seekin!, outcasts

meditations on homosexuality and the church

Ordinary Child

ueline Ley I Wild Goose

Resource Group | 98.99

No Ordinary Child is a book of

meditations written by a mother

grieving the loss of her one-time

hopes for her son.

When Jacqueline Ley's son told her

that he was gay, she had to undergo

a spiritual journey not unlike the

grieving process, coming to terms

with that inescapable feeling that

God's plans for you are not alwaYs

what you may have had in mind. This

is the key in understanding the

book's universality - it is ultimately

not a book about homosexuality,

rather it uses homosexuality as a

guide, a map of woe.

Although Ley never stoops to look

for sympathy through a sensationalistic

style, there is something deeply

moving in her raw sufferinel. She is

up front and honest with the

questions she asks God, describing

succinctly yet powerfully her

feelings:

'The fact that I am a Christian,

that lmy son] James too is a

committed Christian, only served

to compound my anguish.'

(pa$e 75)

We learn through Jacqueline's

experiences some of the meditations

she has used to surrender her

problem to God, to rely on his love

and, perhaps even more difficult in

times of spiritual crisis, to trust in the

decisions he makes for all of us. Her

N-E

duotrilrEE

g![!qt

I \! .l .'r.. .14..

' -- ' rr'r

.'l hr. t.ir r'.-

i.r rt-a. .r. I t t

yet

astute biblical referencing provides

the reader with a very wide range of

passages from the Old and New

Testaments often overlooked in this

field. She makes her points clearly,

reassuring us and encouraging us to

think about our position in the Church

on similar issues with the same

maternal care she shows her son:

'God is in the business of seeking

outcasts. Mercifully, his agenda is

quite different from that element

of the church that bears his name

but continues to ostracise and

demonise gay people'.

(page 44)

Ley thankfully avoids the issue of

homosexual sex in her meditations,

unlike most other literature on the

subject. This absence is significant,

and serves to reinforce the major

point of the book - compassion for

victims of the Church's oppression;

suffering with them in our own way

and not addressing specific issues

that are best left to those victims

themselves.

One of the major failings of the

book, however, is the lack of a

further reading list - the endless

debates and discussions within the

church about homosexuality have

been accompanied by a vast number

of books on the subject, including

the controversial recent worship

anthology Courage To Love,

compiled by Geoffrey Duncan, and

Aliens in the Household of God,

edited by Steve de Gruchy and Paul

Germond. Organisations of relevance

include the Lesbian and Gay

Christian Movement (Oxford House,

Derbyshire Street, LONDON E2 6HG

- www.lgcm.orE.uk) and Called to Be

One (for Catholic parents of lesbians

and gay men - PO BOX 24632,

LONDON E9 6XF, tel OL642

465020).

Ley's experiences of trying to

surrender her worship of the graven

image of 'normality' for her family

will strike a chord with many, not just

parents of a child with an alternative

sexuality. She recognises that there

are often no answers - much as she

would like to reassure both herself

and her son, the overwhelming

feeling of the book is that we must

trust in God and his decisions. This

collection of meditations provides an

excellent focus for all in similar

situations. I

Ethan Brack is an Arts

"". .r"tjL:l*"jl:l

28 | movement


eviews: films

is the force strcnS, in thlb one?

a long-awaited prequel - but can it live up to the hype this time?

Star Wars Eprbode II: Attack of the

Clones I dir. George Lucas

Star Wars Episode ll has always

been set to be a unique film. As

viewers we know what has gone

before and what is to come next;

as well as measuring up to the

most popular trilogr ever made

(hopefully with more success

than The Phantom Menace,

almost universally panned by

'reaf' fans), Attack of the Clones

had to be a convincing jigsaw

piece. lt has been billed as the

'turning point' episode, the one

in which Anakin Skywalker

begins his gradual slide towards

the Dark Side and audiences are

given insight into his later

character. The promotional blurb

promises a focus on the tension

between desire and duty, as he

falls in love and wrestles with his

Jedi responsibilities.

The trouble is, in the middle of all

the shoot-outs and lightsabre action,

there's just no time to explore any

themes properly. There has been

some criticism that the performances

are 'wooden', and that may

be justified, but there's so little

dialogue that there's not much

chance for any of

the characters to

develop. lnstead,

the script seems to

rely on the quickest

and most formulaic

route to convey each

message, a sort of

emotion-by-numbers

approach. lndividual

scenes are very

obviously intended

to explain pafticular

developments: for

example, the death

of Anakin's mother

and his reaction

marks the beginning

of his disillusionment with his role as

a Jedi, and his fight with Count

Dooku leads towards his transition to

part-man, part-machine. But these

scenes are strung together with little

obvious progression, and there is

none of the subtle flavour of the

original films (just how many times

does Obi Wan call Anakin young?!).

ln the first half of the film Anakin is

constantly moaning about the way

Obi Wan treats him, but in the

second half this seems to be

completely forgotten. Part of the

problem is that the characters don't

seem to carry their personalities into

the fight scenes as Luke Skywalker

and Han Solo did. Whilst this is

probably a result of the possibilities

of improved technologl - there's no

longer any need to 'fill out' battles

with close-ups and dialogue, since

there are spectacular effects to be

shown off - it means that the film

has a different, less personal feel.

The least subtle moments of all are

the fove scenes. ln lhe Empire Stnkes

Back, there's the brilliant scene

where Han is being lowered into

carbon to be frozen and Leia tells him

she loves him. Apparently Han's reply,

'l know', was improvised by Harrison

Ford, because anything else sounded

too cheesy. George Lucas doesn't

seem to have worried about that this

time, though. Put Anakin and Padm6

on their own together, add a sunset or

a panoramic view, and hey! lnstant

attraction. Apart from a few pained

expressions, there's little sign of any

personal conflict on Anakin's part. He

doesn't seem concerned at all about

the Jedi code of conduct, and simply

comes across as a hormonal

teenager trying to get a girl into bed

(and 'l'm an agony' isn't the most

original chat-up line ever, I'm afraid).

It's not even clear why Padm6's

attracted to him in the first place;

there seems to be little to

recommend him by the time of their

first kiss apart from his creepy-crawlychopping

skills, and they hardly make

up for his brattish behaviour and

needlessly crap hair. Luke Skywalker

may have been a bit wet, but at least

he was nice to his friends; there is no

sense that Anakin has genuine

affection for anyone around him.

Don't get me wrong. lt's an

entertaining film, with impressive

and exciting sequences, and I would

recommend it if only to see Yoda

kick ass. lt's just that it's not a

classic. lt feels a bit like being

invited to a friend's house for dinner

and playing on their Playstation all

night instead: fun, but ultimately

unsatisfying. And I wouldn't want to

do it every night. I

Kathryn Allan

Postgirad student at the Unlvelsity of GlasElow

movementl29


eviews: books

no easy ansrryers

the new Archbishop of Ganterbury questions the 'war on terrorism'

Writing in the Dust; Reflections on 77th September and its aftermath

Williams I Hodder&Stoughton | 93.99

Rowan Williams is the

Archbishop of Wales, and has

been named as a possible

candidate for Archbishop of

Canterbury. This is unlikely to

happen, giiven that he is considered

liberal on the issue of gay

priests, is extremely intelligent,

and has an alarming tendency

to speak prophetically. (This

review was wriften in February.

Predictions are rash. Ed.)

Writing in the Dust is a set of

reflections on the attack on the

World Trade Centre and on the

subsequent attack on Afghanistan.

Williams was a block away from the

World Trade Centre when the attack

occurred, discussing spirituality for a

radio broadcast. The subsequent

book is not an attempt to fit those

events into a Christian theologl. The

first chapter reminds us that trying to

fit events and people into a religious

agenda is perhaps the first step

towards the mindset that acts with

violence.

'Perhaps it's when we try to

make God useful in crises,

though, that we take the first

steps towards the great lie of

religion: the god who fits our

agenda. There is a breathing

space: then just breathe for a

moment. Perhaps the words of

faith will rise again slowly in that

space (perhaps not). But don't

try to tie it up quickly.'

Williams has' little time for the

language of a war on terrorism,

which obscures the issue of just

what we are trying to achieve by

droppings bombs on Af$hanistan:

"'War" against terrorism is as

much a metaphor as war against

drug abuse (not that the

metaphor isn't misleading there

as well), or car theft. lt can mean

only a sustained policy of making

such behaviour less attractive or

tolerable. As we've been

reminded often, this is a long

job; but there is a difference

between saying this, which is

unquestionably true, and

suggesting that there is a case

for an open-ended military

campaign.'

Still, Williams avoids taking sides

in the debates in the newspapers

about whether or not violence is

wrong as such. There is no resort to

any hard-and-fast theological rules.

Rather he asks whether this bombing

campaign is an adequate response

to this atrocity. And he suggests that

There is no resort to any

hard-and-fast theological

rules. Rather, Wlliams asks

whether this bombing

campaign is an adequate

response to this atrocity

it bypasses the difficult and painful

attempt to try to understand what

the causes of the atrocity were and

are. He says this not as a complacent

liberal exaltation of dialogue

and understanding. Dialogue is apt

to be painful:

'Globalisation means that we are

involved in dramas we never

thought of, cast in roles we never

chose. As we protest at how the

West is hated, how we never

meant to oppress or diminish

other cultures, how we never

meant to undermine lslamic

integrity and so on, we must try

not to avoid the pain of grasping

that we are not believed.

Once again: this is not about

Western guilt and non-Western

innocence, not a recommendation

to accept all that we are

accused of. lt is about acknowledging

that it is hard to start any

sort of conversation when your

that your aim is to silence them.'

There is no espousing of any parly

line in this book: that makes it dense

and hard to summarise. lnstead we

have an attempt to avoid all easy

answers and to plead for a chance to

think. Still Williams does argue that

Christian theology has some

resources to offer us in doing so:

'And Christian faith? Can we

think about our own focal

symbol, the cross of Jesus, and

try to rescue it from its frequent

fate as the banner of our own

wounded righteousness? lf

Jesus is indeed what God

communicates to us, God's

language for us, his cross is

always both ours and not ours;

not a magnified sign of our own

suffering, but the mark of God's

work in and through the deepest

vulnerability; not a martyr's

triumphant achievement, but

something that is there for all

human sufferers because it

belongs to no human cause.'

This is a disappointingly short

book: less than 100 small pages of

large type. There must be shelves full

of religaous or political books with

less good sense in them. I

David Anderson

Actlng Editor ol Movement

3O lmovement


ROYAL JUBILEE

I hope all my readers

enjoyed the recent

celebration of fifty

years of government

based on divine right.

The Queen's

unflinching devotion to

the onerous duty of

opening supermarkets

and waving at the

public has meant that

the United Kingdom

has

remained

blessedly free of

democratically

elected leaders,

like George W Bush.

The cause of republicanism

was struck a

lethal blow when it

became apparent that

the entire nation was

willing to bunk off work

and go to a party

instead. In his sermon

in Westminster Abbey,

Archbishop George

Carey broke my record

England's

for greatest number of

problem has

platitudes uttered in been that all

ten minutes, recent

bettering the Archbishops have

previous record been clean shaven

held by himself. I was and that the next

Archbishop needs to

beard.

particularly impressed

by the way in which

Carey said 'street

parties', in a tone both

amazed at the quaint

customs of the

common folk and

complacent in its

indulgent superiority.

I haven't been so

embarrassed on an

Archbishop's behalf

since I read Richard

Holloway gamely

writing about'shagging'

in Godless Morality.

MEN IN BEARDS

Carey is retiring. By the

time you read this,

you'll know who's been

picked to boldly lead

the Church of England

into further irrelevance.

Hundreds of bishops

have come out of the

woodwork and been

dismissed on the

grounds that they were

too boring even for the

C of E. Commentators

have been learnedly

agreeing that the

Church of

I

t

have a

Apparently this makes

them look like a figure

from the Bible and so

holy, although we

needn't expect any of

them to do something

really exciting like call

down fire and

on

brimstone

Methodist Central Hall.

This emphasis on

beards is blatantly

discriminatory against

snakes. We could be as

holy as any middleclass

.male if we

wanted. At the time of

Rowan

writing,

Williams' fine Welsh

facial fungus has been

tipped as the winner

(correctly - Ed) but I,

for one, regret that we

won't be seeing more

of Bishop Michael

Nazir-Ali's outstanding

sideburns.

THE BRITISH

JOURNALIST

Speaking of calling

down fire and

brimstone, I read in the

newspaper headlines

that the world will be

destroyed by an

asteroid in 2019. Even

jaded reptiles like

myself might

t

be

somewhat

excited by this news.

The prospects for

Methodist Central Hall

were not looking good.

Then I read the article

underneath, which said

that the chance of this

asteroid hitting us is 1

in 60,000. lt seems

Methodist Central Hall

can breathe easy

again.

While on the subject of

the British Press, I

can't resist mentioning

my favourite Private

Eye cover of the

summer: a picture of

Osama Bin Laden, with

the caption 'l'm going

to

become

accountant.'

THE AMERICAN WAY

OF DEATH

Evangelical vicars are

in an awkward position

at funerals. They have

to console the grieving

relatives without

compromising the

Good News that if their

dear departed didn't

have faith in Jesus, he

or she is currently

enjoying the great

steam sauna down

below. But I have now

heard that a Revd

Orlando Bethel in

Alabama has had

enough of these woolly

liberal compromises.

Having got up to sing at

the funeral of his wife's

uncle, he was moved

by the Holy Spirit to

inform the congregation

that the dead man

drunken

was a

fornicator burning in

Hell. Prudently he had

brought along a

loudhailer to use when

his microphone was

cut off by diabolical

agencies at

the sound desk.

The

^-.

Reverend is

obviously a

forgiving soul as he

refrained from

mentioning that the

deceased uncle had

been in a dispute

over inheritance of

land with him and his

wife.

SATAN BANISHED

an

News has come in from

Florida, telling me that

my old boss has been

forbidden entry to the

town of lnglis. A pastor

at the Yankeetown

the serpent

Church of God has

buried a hollow post at

each entrance to the

town, containing a

prayer and a declaration

by the city's Mayor

announcing 'Be it

known from this day

forward that Satan,

ruler of darkness, giver

of evil, destroyer of

what is good and just,

is not now, nor ever

again will be, a part of

this town of lnglis.'

When asked if she had

actually seen Satan,

Mayor Carolyn Risher

said, 'Never. But I have

felt his works. I can't

see the wind blow,

really, but I have felt its

effects.' Spokespersons

for Satan have

said that he feels he is

being made a

scapegoat. I gather

that the declaration is

provoking a constitutional

crisis: it was

printed on official civic

notepaper, and this

may violate religious

freedom under the

constitution. (As

opposed to teaching

Creationism in schools,

which doesn't.) But at

least US citizens don't

have to listen to

George Carey

preaching. lnstead,

they have George W

Bush telling the world

that Evil is Bad, which

is far more

exciting. lf

he thinks

Methodist

Central Hall is

O harbouring Evil

Trade Justice

j Protestors out

to unoermtne

a the American

O- Way of Life, he

really can call down

fire and brimstone from

the sky.

I'll be back next issue,

assuming that there's

any world left to come

back to.


s (

StsdeDt

Name:

q

Cbristian

/rl

l|lovenent

tr Please send me fufther information about joining the Student

Christian Movement, and tell me where my local group is.

tr I would like to subscribe to Movement magazine. I enclose a cheque,

payable to SCM, to the value of f-7.OO for my first three issues.

Address:

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