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Showing posts from July, 2020

My current thoughts about Extinction Rebellion

Obviously there's not been much public activism in the last few months in lockdown. But I'm beginning now to think a bit more about Extinction Rebellion, what I think about it, how I relate to it, and where it's going. I think a lot about this article that states the tactics of Extinction Rebellion are flawed. Since the 2019 election that seems clearer than ever to me. The social science behind XR's strategy is that if enough disruption is caused, if enough nonviolent direct action happens, it changes government policy. But that article shows how that is just not true. The social science research supposedly behind XR's tactics show what mass nonviolent movements can and cannot achieve. They can  achieve the downfall of dictators. They can achieve change in one particular area of government policy if governments become embarrassed that the public mood has gone against them. This means that the current Black Lives Matter protests in the States do have a good

The Possibilities of a Contemplative Universalism

"This was the attraction, the power, which inwardly affected me, to desire reward for my preaching, in these last days of great tribulation. And my reward is this: that each father and mother of a family, with all the children and domestics, may devote an hour of every day to the Lord our God, in assembling in stillness, side by side, as in the presence of God, and in humility waiting on the inward illumination of the spirit of grace in their hearts." George de Benneville (1703-1793) We often ask, "are church buildings necessary?" and in 2020 we have been given a definite answer: no, they are not. At least in extreme circumstances, they are not. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all churches would be better off without buildings, I'm saying it is very clear today that the core of faith practice is something other than "going to church" because we haven't "gone to church" in four months and we're still "doing faith&quo

We are being led by a deadly political ideology

(Edited on 30th July 2020 to add Newsnight video) What's becoming clearer and clearer to me is that we're being led by a UK government which has a deadly ideology. Of course that was always true because of the government's criminal inaction on the climate crisis, but the corona virus pandemic has shown it to be true on a smaller scale of this particular crisis. I think this video of an interview with government adviser John Edmunds is really instructive. I think the key part of the interview is from about minute 9. At 13.40 he says, "It is hard to imagine we would do that [take restrictive measures] here in the UK.... I don't think anybody looked at it [lockdown]... it was difficult to imagine just how easy the lockdown was ... that people actually would go along with it." In other words we didn't go into lockdown as early as we should have done (which most people seem to be saying now would have cut our death toll by a half, if not three quart