Ferguson is in turmoil. So is New York. And so is Union Theological Seminary in the city of New York, a long-standing institution of theological education located on the upper west side of Manhattan – or in West Harlem – since 1836. Annegreth Schilling, a German theologian currently at Union, looks at the social and political location and witness of theology in a troubled and unjust world.
At Christmas 1914, four months into World War One, British and German soldiers on the Western front laid down their weapons. They exchanged small gifts, sang carols, buried their dead, and some even kicked a football around.
'Panic Saturday' is behind us. But the panic does not seem to have diminished greatly. The compulsion to buy and the strain of doing so is on almost every tongue. Like many Quakers, I don't give presents. This makes Christmas both easier and more demanding.
Advent is a time of waiting and expectation, as the possibility of revelation and revolution slowly dawns – the birth of a new era in Christ, challenging the religious, social and political assumptions of the governing empire.
I’ve been re-reading ‘A Christmas Carol’, and the way it resonates with present day Britain is quite remarkable. As Christmas approaches, Scrooge sits in his counting house, as he does every day, obsessed with his accounts and balancing the books, untouched and unmoved by the poverty all around him.