Animal stories

Food is the most direct link we have between culture and nature, city and farm folk.  It can serve as the point of interest that unites urbanites with farming concerns. As  we begin to understand that food is not simply fuel, but is in fact a natural, social, cultural and spiritual product, we will also make the effort to foster the practical conditions necessary to protect and preserve ecological and social health. (Norman Wirzba, 2003).1 In the first part of my address at Worcester Cathedral Read more [...]

Food, land and people, and the road to Emmaus

Address given at Worcestershire County Harvest Festival, Worcester Cathedral, 2 October 2016 Dr Peter Carruthers, Honorary Senior Fellow, University of Worcester, Executive Director, Village Hope (Readings - Verses from Psalm 104, Luke 24: 13-35) It's always difficult to know where to start an address like this. So perhaps I might begin by stealing someone else’s lines, and quote the first words of Jorge Bergoglio on his appointment as Pope Francis: “Brothers and sisters, good Read more [...]

Income inequality and religion

This is my third response to my own challenge to apply the ‘Honey and Thistles’ approach to finance and economics. In 2013, celebrated French economist, Thomas Piketty, published his best-selling book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Pikketty argues that if the rate of return on capital is greater than the rate of economic growth over the long term,  wealth concentrates and this unequal distribution of wealth causes social and economic instability. He goes on to contend that the Read more [...]

Money and power

This is my second response to my own challenge to apply the ‘Honey and Thistles’ approach more widely, in this case to finance and economics and offers some biblical reflections on the relationship between money and power. “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Paul’s immediate concern here was with certain members of the Thessalonian church who were idling about, mere dossers, interfering with other people’s affairs and living off the earnings Read more [...]

Jesus and money

This is the first of several responses to my own challenge to apply the 'Honey and Thistles' approach more widely, in this case to finance and economics. It is often said that Jesus spoke more about money and economics than He did about church! Most of His parables concerned money, farming, business or debt. Many of His miracles were ‘economic miracles’. And, a good part of his teaching addressed our relationship with money, wealth and material possessions. So, as good a starting point as Read more [...]

Not just farming!

In a recent review of Honey & Thistles, Jim Currin, who holds the Evangelisation, Mission and Media portfolio at Churches Together in England, draws attention to the wider significance and value of the book and the thinking behind it. "Farming may not be the subject uppermost in people’s minds but questions explored like biodiversity, bees, soil erosion, farm chemicals and public health affect us all", he says, suggesting that "what the authors have done here is a good exercise that others Read more [...]