Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Reviving Faith Ideological Engagement in Politics

Andy Reed (Lab)Sat at Waterloo Station, waiting for the Alton train to get me back to Farnham, I'm mulling over the debate this evening. Chaired by BBC correspondent Christopher Landau, it was a conversation between him and Jim Wallis, American author, campaigner, activist and theologian (in no particular order), and 3 MPs - Andy Reed (Labour), Tim Farron (LD), and Andrew Selous (Con).

Tim Farron (LD)I made many notes and could could copiously type them up, but I'm not sure that such a verbatim report would make sense to anyone else. So, I've tried to summarise some key points that struck me - not necessarily all of them, or the key ones for others at the debate, but these ones resonated with me this evening.

Andrew SelousIssues
* Movements make things possible, not just an individual (even Wilberforce). Millions of individual decisions, and by critical and prophetic minorities, not majorities, bring about change.
* The church should be focussing on speaking to the common good, not about the church 'winning' the debate.
* There is a choice in society's response to its issues - between hope and cynicism, and cynicism is a buffer against commitment.

Jim WallisQuotes
* "Globalization has an inevitable logic, but no ethic": Jim Wallis.
* "If we're [the church] are not careful, we'll become middle-class theatres with great powerpoint": Andy Reed.
* "There's nothing insipid about Jesus Christ, but there's something insipid about the church response...": Tim Farron.

And, I came away with the following questions:

1. How do we change the debate so that the secularist position is given the same critical treatment as the faith position?
2. How do we "change the wind", not just the wet-fingered politician?
3. How often does someone ask "Why do you live the way you do?"

And one final quote, as it's so good:
"Evan Harris is Dawkins' representative on earth": Anon.

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