I've just spent 48 hours in New York with some amazing people who have come from across the length and breadth of the USA for the 6th Religion and Foreign Policy workshop hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations. It wasn't just the calibre of academics, political analysts and practitioners that impressed me, itwas also the realisation that so many of these individuals have given so many years of their lives to the primary purpose of arguing, studying and working for a better world. And they tend to be doing it not just for their friends next door but for people in far-flung parts of the world where the impact of the dollar works alongside the impact of American foreign policy. And there's something else: they weren't all radical democratic progressive Christians. Many of them were real Republicans showing huge concerns for marginalised people in places like Iran and North Korea. Even more liberating was the fact that the workshop included a wide variety of people of other faiths.
So it’s left me wondering what to make of Jesus' statement about peacemakers being 'children of God.'
But to be fair I was wondering about it before I got to the gathering, because my short visit began on Tuesday morning with a meeting with friends and staff members in UNICEF who spent 90 minutes watching and discussing issues which came out of our showing of The Jesus Agenda. A few non-Christians were there too! Thankfully my buzzing brain had a bit of a reprieve when I met up with Geanette Seymour (the newly appointed International Social Justice Commissioner of the Salvation Army), and had her biblical passion for justice pouring all over me over an inadvisable but delicious plate of crispy bacon and sweet potato fries. But I know I'm going to have to confront my theological conundrum again within a few hours when I run up to meet with directors at the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) to talk about working together on our EXPOSED2013 campaign.
But I simply can't pull away from the idea that God must look very approvingly at all of these people who have dedicated themselves to be harbingers of peace. A few hours ago I was telling the meeting that I am an evangelical: so that means I'm quite passionate about conversion without proselytization. And as I told a church a week ago, I'm fully signed up to the notion that transformation begins with God's forgiveness through Jesus' exclusive life, death and resurrection. In that sense there is a 'spiritual genetic' at work which is unique to people who have met Jesus. We say that we are people 'born from God.'
But around the room at the workshop on religion and foreign policy I was also reminded that whether we like it or not, human beings have a spiritual birth right which becomes more transparent and identifiably God-like when we work for peace.
- 24/09/2012 14:50 - Give Us This Day 0.7%
- 14/09/2012 13:32 - Less learning - more obedience?
- 03/09/2012 10:35 - The Bishop Blanks the Blair
- 07/08/2012 11:34 - Jamaicans - cool runnings!
- 02/08/2012 12:51 - Counting UP to 2015