Wednesday, December 9, 2009

World religions and justice


I was a part of The Salvation Army presenters at the world parliament of religions held in Melbourne this past week.
It was an interesting experience - and one that was full of controversy. I thought all of that was over with the Sexpo stall... but it seems that the dialogue among other faith groups has some Christians worried.
The tension of course is that the dialogue is a crack of liberalism opening us up to potential doctrinal compromise and that we may stray from our evangelical beliefs and Jesus centric gospel. On the other hand, to be present at places where people are already searching for truth is a tradition that goes back to the apostle Paul as he made his way through religious gatherings of pagan worship and dialogued with them about who Jesus really is.
this tradition is deeply embeded into the christian faith - to speak with people openly about the person of Jesus and our experience of His transforming power is not only an opportunity but an obligation.
What was really interesting was the session that I was able to do on Human Trafficking (Stop The Traffik), shared with the Catholics, was jammed packed. Standing room and over-flowing with people, all kinds of different people from different lands, faiths and backgrounds... wanting to know how they can help stop human trafficking.
This leads me to a truth that I'm discovering more and more... justice is the great vehicle of unity... our faith is made clear by our works... our worship is made true by our journey into God's heart for justice.. and that message (which Jesus always proclaimed) is as popular today as ever before. People may not be hungry for dry doctrine and semantics... but they are hungry for justice.
At the end of the presentation, a person came up to me and said 'thank God for the Salvos, the people who can finally bring some practical reality to religion!'. Hmmm. that's something to think about.

2 comments:

Bernard said...

Hi Danielle,

Good to hear of your work at the World Parliament of Religions, presenting and pursuing issues of justice, and speaking openly about the person of Jesus and your experience of His transforming power. I'm sure the Lord will bless what has been done and use it for His purposes. I'll certainly pray that that will be the case.

As you say, justice is a great vehicle for unity. This is indeed a good thing, but I suppose this may also be one of the reasons why some Christians were worried, (or had concerns). Because justice is such a great vehicle for unity, there will inevitably be the temptation to make it 'the' main thing. Linked with the fact that people are hungry for justice, but not dry doctrine (though doctrine should never be dry if it's true, but should be living and vibrant if it points to Christ), then it is possible for unity based on justice to become more important than unity based on Christ.

I'm sure you've got the right balance, but perhaps the concerns of others are a useful reminder to keep us on the right track.

May the Lord continue to bless and use you.

Bernard

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