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The Curiosity Index (24.05.2017)

Oh dear. You may have noticed that the frequency of posting has declined but I’m not giving up (again) at least not yet. So here for your interest… Five reasons church members attend church less frequently I think this misses some of the wider trends in western culture that have affected commitment to pretty much everything but these are still good points. The Phenomenal Growth of the Salvation Army William Booth commanded fewer than 100 British Isles stations in 1878, but two decades later his world-wide organization numbered about 3500 posts,…

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The year of the migrant

I just want to recommend that any reader interested in the issue of migration should take 20 minutes to read the last issue of Vista from Redcliffe College, UK. As they say here, “The figures speak for themselves: 920,000 arriving by sea, and a further 34,000 coming by land. This compares with a total of 214,000 by land and sea in 2014. (figures from International Office of Migration). This issue of Vista tries to capture something of what happened, with stories from all stages of the journey, from arrival in Europe…

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Immigration: Ten observations

I’ve been doing some long-hard thinking about immigration recently. I’ve argued here and here that Europe is doing the right thing in letting hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria and Iraq in. After all Syria is home to a world-conflict (as in lots of countries are fighting or sponsoring fighting there) and is a nation of killing. 2015 was unquestionably the year of the migrant. It was the year-long story. Then came Paris and Cologne and it felt different. Sweden hit the wall, closed it’s borders, talked of deporting half of the…

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‘The spirit of killing is in my country’

At a recent evening gathering of our missional community in Stockholm, we were joined by two young Muslims from Syria. We spent some time getting their views on what was happening in their country – it was quite informative. The young man with us had lived in Damascus and worked fixing computers. Life was manageable but life was getting harder. The prices of everything was rising all the time. It was dangerous to leave Damascus, there were curfews and the suburbs were very dangerous at night. So why did he leave Syria?

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Don’t shut the door: receive the refugee

View image | gettyimages.com The flow of refugees into Europe continues, partly as a result of the ongoing war, the fear that more doors into Europe will shut and the oncoming winter which will make the journey much harder and the sea journey nearly impossible. As a result, some are finding increasingly inventive ways of entering Europe in search of a normal life, which as one man from Kabul put it is a place without “bomb explosions.” Which sounds reasonable enough.

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Immigration & Asylum: reading & resources

Two major issues are beginning to frame the political landscape – inequality and immigration. The overlap is obvious, but there seems little question that these two issues are exerting great pressure. They are also two issues on which, I would argue, the church has a unique opportunity to speak into. However to avoid, naive or simplistic analysis or solutions, some homework is required. Here are some recent good articles on immigration and some further resources drawn from a couple of books I have on the subject.

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The refugee crisis & Christian hope: A response

Recently Reformation 21 posted an article by Alistair Roberts on the refugee crisis and while it contained many good things, there were a few things that I thought needed further discussion. In a similar vein, a recent post by Ian Paul also expressed unease about the general naive response of the general public. This is in some sense a response to both posts but primarily to Alistair’s article. Areas of disagreement. I should begin with taking issue with the title of Alistair’s article and of course the general approach in the media which calls…

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When the migrant crisis gets personal

When we close the books on 2015 and look at the big stories of the year, one of them will surely be the migration of millions of people from the Middle East and Africa to Europe. It is, I think, no exaggeration to say that we are witnessing a demographic shift that is going to significantly affect all three regions for generations to come. Europe is by and large a rich continent surrounded by poverty and chaos – Yemen, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Iraq and then further away the tragedy of grinding poverty,…

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