Greg Smith has 40 years’ experience working in urban mission and community development. Smith’s pre-election (2015) analysis of the British welfare system takes a candid look at the role of faith-based organisations, and asks how and why these groups try to plug the service gaps created by government spending cuts. ‘Faith, Progressive Localism & the Hol(e)y Welfare Safety Net’ explores the relationship between Local Authorities and faith-based service providers, through a combination of revealing case studies from the North West of England, and strong theoretical analysis.
In this engaging collaboration, John Atherton and John Reader argue that traditional theology has struggled to understanding the contemporary relationship between religion and a secular public sphere. Developing an interdisciplinary approach, the writers suggest the need for genuine dialogue, communication and negotiation between the different belief and value systems in our society. Taking examples from their respective research, the writers share an insight into how mapping the material might contribute towards a discourse illustrating how faith still plays its role in the public sphere.
In contemporary times, with technology making ‘money’ an electronic process, money is the information flows that reckon balances all around the world. And because of the relative wealth of the world’s rich, money is also about power and politics. Indeed, because so many people seem to worship it these days, it now seems to function rather like a religion. But where is the Christian God in all of this? In ‘God and Money’ Eve Poole explores the accounts of economists and academics, alongside Biblical interpretation, to deepen the Christian understanding of money and wealth.
How does the Church of England approach the “secular” concepts of equality and diversity, and what is the role of power in these debates? Combining critical theory and theology, Grace & Power: Sexuality and Gender in the Church of England argues for an increasingly nuanced debate, centred on notions of hospitality and inclusion. Author Hayley Matthews’ research gives voice to many homosexual clergy who report feeling fundamentally constrained from being ‘fully themselves’ due to prevailing attitudes within the Church.
In the fifth book in this first Temple Tract series on religion and public life, Philip Lewis and Charlotte Dando offer a critical introduction to the “Interfaith Movement”. The authors track the historic development of interfaith work at both institutional and grassroots levels, with a special focus on Anglican-Muslim relations in England. From reflecting on successful interfaith work the authors move on to asking difficult questions about the role and sustainability of the interfaith movement, and propose a series of recommendations aimed at ensuring that this significant work has a strong and positive future.
One important way of describing what happens in a society – and a basis for evaluating that society – is to show how its citizens spend their time. Taking a broad economic approach, Steedman and Opocher introduction’s to the study of time-use raises a number of questions about society’s allocation of time, and what this says about priorities and principles. Combining theories from renowned Economists with contemporary research, the authors consider productivity, work satisfaction and the output imperative, in this new contribution to an ongoing debate on how to live well.