Before the pandemic, recent university graduates often told me about their struggles finding work in their field of study. Since the pandemic, most young adults I talk to have given up on the idea of finding permanent employment in their field of training or choice. In many ways, the pandemic has functioned as a revelation of the state of our economics. And if we have eyes to see (not only the benefits enjoyed by some but also) the tragic consequences of our economic system, then we are responsible to discern our opportunities in the midst of the challenges.
This is the third in a series of posts considering the Covid-19 pandemic from the perspective of the various ‘aspects’ proposed by reformational philosophy. Last week Alicia Smith considered the religious aspect of the pandemic – the way it has revealed the underlying influence of religious attitudes and priorities on collective thought and action.
In this week's installment of our series of reflections on the various dimensions of the Covid-19 pandemic, I'm briefly considering the question: how has Covid-19 revealed the religious orientation of our lives? I'm taking this phrase 'religious orientation' to mean the ways in which our lives, individually and collectively, are shaped and directed towards certain priorities by a religion: a set of habits and practices emerging from a specific worldview and tradition.
I want to ask some questions about what may be the most prominent rift among Christians in our day, evident in scholarly writing as well as campaigning and, dare I say, in a large chunk of the discussions I see among my acquaintances on social media. I must tread carefully here! But I offer the following in the spirit of biblical faithfulness and reconciliation, hoping to stimulate more-gracious, higher-quality discussion than I'm familiar with on these issues. Above all, I am expressing my grief about the polarisation that I see.
We're starting a new series looking at the phenomenon of Covid-19, this strange disease that has spread to virtually every part of the world's population over the last 18 months or so and is attributed with the deaths of more than 3 million people so far. This basically biotic event is having wide-ranging effects on human societies and cultures, and can thus be said to be making history. As such, it raises lots of important questions that we ought to be interested in from a Christian perspective.
Mike Wagenman introduces a new series on scholarly disagreement.
How does a Christian scholar navigate scholarly disagreements? Over the years, I’ve endured my fair share of differences of opinion, perspective, and conviction with academic peers. Sometimes they have been friendly and fruitful but more often they have devolved into bitterness, bullying, and even personal attacks. And sometimes the worst offenders have been fellow Christians.
I attended an open-air service this weekend, at our local parish church. Our family has moved house recently and we haven't yet settled into a new church. But this open-air gathering seemed hugely appropriate right now, just after Easter.
It's almost a year since my last post for FiSch, on writing my acknowledgements to my recently completed thesis. Since then I've defended and finalised it: anyone who cares to can now download 100,000 words on 'Anchoritic Prayer in Time'! Since this is a pandemic year, of course, some things are still a little in limbo – I haven’t yet graduated, or formally deposited my thesis as a bound copy (which I was quite looking forward to doing!).
We enter Holy Week this year just a few days after the year-anniversary of the UK's first lockdown. What a difference a year makes. It's become a staple of the national conversation in recent weeks to observe the transformation in attitudes, plans and expectations from last March up to now, the way that the ongoing Covid-19 crisis has at different moments served to unify and divide, to trigger outpourings of love and of anger, to inspire creativity and provoke dread or despair.