Amport Conference 2018

Just returned from the conference at the Royal Army Chaplains Dept. at Amport House.

A provocative theme this year: Lessons Never Learned? Western Military Power on Religious Terrain. Yes, there was discussion about Iraq and Afghanistan, but also talks on methodist chaplains in the late nineteenth century, the influence of the Sunday Schools on the soldiers of WW1, and the negotiations with German bishops in the immediate aftermath of WW2. Jonathan Lewis gave a particularly humbling account of the work of several Jewish chaplains in Bergen-Belsen in 1945.

In philosophical and reflective discussions, David Richardson discussed the view that neo-liberal economic thought had pervaded the moral and ethical dimension of people’s lives, with individual notions of self-worth and self-identification becoming marketed items that can change with the next round of selfies on social media. Mark Davidson looked at shame theory in international relations, and offered the view that, far from only applying to eastern cultures, as the West often thinks, the concept of shame (and ‘honour’, which is often the reverse of the same coin) is very much alive and operative in the West.

A great opportunity to consider the history of armed interventions – and implications for the future – in the presence of Christian, Jewish and Muslim thinkers, both chaplains and academics.

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