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Distributed for Seagull Books

Offence: The Christian Case

During the cold-war years, Western Christians basked in a sense that they were living on the right side of the ideological divide, harboring humane values, freedom, democracy and the right to irrationality, belief and non-belief.  The atheist Communist world was seen as intellectually and politically oppressive, dishonest, impoverished and dangerous.  After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, however, the old division gave way to the spectacle of religious believers vying for ascendancy with skeptics and with each other.
In formerly Communist countries, the sense of sacred identity among newly powerful religious communities has never been stronger.  New Russian artists experimenting with religious imagery have faced legal action and been forced to remove their work from public display.  In Poland, over 90 per cent of the population is Roman Catholic and smaller communities of believers -- Protestant or Jewish, for example -- have been exposed to a range of symbolic attacks.  In parts of the U.S., books by Golding, Twain and Conrad have been banned after interventions by the new Christian right.  Meanwhile, in the U.K., a  screening of the musical Jerry Springer: The Opera led to street protests and attempts to prosecute the BBC for blasphemy.
With a look at notions of the sacred, and how Christianity takes offence and gives it, this essay explores what outrages and challenges Christians most in the new world order.

112 pages | 4 1/2 x 7 1/4

Manifestos for the 21st Century

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Table of Contents

Feast of Fools
Who is She Anyway?
A Liminal World
The Cross Triumphant
Communion and Conflict
The Uses of Offence

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