Latest Issue: 22 November 2014
22 November 2014
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Columnists

20 November 2014 by David Blair

The daily struggle for control of Jerusalem’s holy places has been waged at least since Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the first Jewish Temple in 586 BC. Often, this ceaseless battle takes the form of Jewish settlers clubbing together to buy a house in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City,

20 November 2014 by Christopher Howse

The headline in The Sun summed it up: “Jesus wed hooker and had two kids.” If the language in the headline was a little rebarbative, the reporter adopted a more decorous tone in the relative amplitude of a 130-word report: “A lost gospel has been translated to reveal Jesus married prostitute Mary Magdalene and they had two children.

20 November 2014 by Jonathan Tulloch

One by one, the colours of autumn have faded. Only the orange of the larches remains, curled round the nose of the hill like a fox’s tail. And the bright flames of the beech trees, whose leaves stay longest on the branch.

Previous issues

13 November 2014 by Clifford Longley

Scene One – what actually happened. Woman sitting on pavement, begging. Enter the leader of the Opposition on a walkabout, with aides, journalists and photographers. What does he do? Begging is illegal, he is thinking; the Big Issue movement, which helps the homeless to help themselves, says one should never give in to it.

13 November 2014 by Sara Maitland

C.S. Lewis said that cowardice is one sin that offers no pleasure, no compensation – unlike, for instance, gluttony. Being afraid and letting that fear control you is generally pretty horrid. This is possibly why making other people fearful or anxious has a certain nasty delight to it.

13 November 2014 by Peter Stanford

I do not think I have met anyone who has been excommunicated before: plenty who wonder about the wisdom of some church teachings, plus others who have left because they disagree so fervently with it over questions of doctrine, or have been so damaged or appalled by its behaviour

13 November 2014 by Jonathan Tulloch

At first I thought the grey-blue, rather stiff-winged bird was a collared dove. But there was something a little too quick and purposeful about the flight. The flight became even more rapid as the bird swooped low over the ground. Express wing beats were punctuated by a full-tilt glide that shot it round an oak tree and into a small flock of sparrows in the stubble.

06 November 2014 by Francis Campbell

Late last month, a court in Lahore rejected the appeal of Asia Bibi – the illiterate Christian farmhand accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death by hanging. Asia has already spent more than five years in prison and is perhaps the most high-profile victim of Pakistan’s blasphemy law.

06 November 2014 by Laurence Freeman

This is the time when we especially remember the dead and discover whether they are still within us. It is a test of the kind of relationship we had with them under this sky. I was thinking of Nicole from our community who died recently. At her memorial service her son, Laurent, in the softest voice ever used in a church, spoke about his mother.

06 November 2014 by Christopher Howse

Have you ever explained the rules of football to someone, or the workings of a car engine? It is not easy to put into concise, lucid prose. Yet if an attempt is made to explain briefly the deliberations of the Council of Chalcedon on the nature of Christ, say, the terminology itself is often regarded as a criticism of Christian thinkers

06 November 2014 by Jonathan Tulloch

I was deep in the winter wheat when I heard the haunting whisper. Time and time again the same melancholy whistle passed overhead, but when I looked up I saw only the grey November afternoon. Then I caught a whir of wings passing through the low clouds, a flock of calling golden plovers.

30 October 2014 by Clifford Longley

The proportion of children born into families in Britain where the parents are unmarried is fast approaching 50 per cent. Across Europe, the overall percentage of such children is 40 per cent and rising, with the United States not very different.

30 October 2014 by Joanna Moorhead

Was the Synod on the Family a missed opportunity? There were all our esteemed church leaders, grappling with the messy, slippery problems of family life.

30 October 2014 by Jonathan Tulloch

WHATEVER HAPPENED to the aspidistra? There was a time when every house in Britain had one. With leaves like wide, waving tongues of green flame, the aspidistra first became popular as a houseplant in Victorian days.

23 October 2014 by David Blair

The oldest dictum of statecraft must be “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. As the terrorists of the Islamic State (IS) advance to the very barbed wire of Turkey’s southern frontier with Syria, this telling phrase helps explain recent events.

23 October 2014 by Christopher Howse

The question seems simple: should Catalonia be independent? But as the British found out with their own referendum, supplementary questions stick together like cranberries in muesli while any particular answer may long remain undiscovered, like the last teaspoon in the washing-up.

23 October 2014 by Jonathan Tulloch

We all know how the film footage runs. The sound of honking draws the camera to a sky bruised with autumn, and then we see the geese. The flock stays in shot for a while, their beautiful, seemingly effortless skein rippling over the world.