Thursday, July 26, 2007

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

Those who know me personally and those who are acquainted with the broader scope of my writings will know that I am a fairly outspoken critic of evangelicalism and more particularly Reformed Christianity. However, I feel that it would be remiss of me not to mention a particularly positive contribution made by Christians in the Media, an evangelical church in Annandale on Tuesday night. Celebrating 200 years since the abolition of the British transatlantic slave trade and in anticipation of the upcoming movie "Amazing Grace", Christians in the Media invited Sandy Grant to speak about the life and legacy of William Wilberforce.

Sandy gave a particularly compelling account of the role that Wilberforce played in the abolition of the slave trade, examining the pivotal role that his Christian faith played in motivating him in this cause. This reminded me particularly of a speech by Jim Wallis I attended last year, in which Wallis argued for a passionate commitment to justice motivated by an underlying Christian faith to strengthen one's resolve in the face of adversity. However, I was most pleased by Sandy's call for the church to walk in the footsteps of Wilberforce, and to continue the fight against the slave trade that still exists in many parts of the world today. In particular, Sandy mentioned the importance of responsible purchasing decisions with respect to markets that are fuelled by slave or otherwise exploitative labour. One way in which we may do this is by purchasing Fair Trade, a pursuit which is already close to the hearts of the Space For God community.

After listening to the talk, a crazy thought entered my mind. Is it even remotely possible that promoting Fair Trade is a project that Christians in the Media and Space For God could work on together? I don't for minute believe that this would help to smooth over the theological differences that the groups have. I may be young, but I'm not naive. Not that naive, anyway. But what a profound statement it would make if we were able to put our theological differences aside for one day to promote such a blessed cause! And who knows, notwithstanding the profound disagreement that may exist, perhaps members from each church could even appreciate the sincerity and conviction of each other's faith and the central role that our respective faith journeys play in spurring us on towards love and good deeds?

You may say that I'm a dreamer - but am I the only one?

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