Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Last night I was at a meeting of Faithworks in Lambeth, London, as american preacher, Jim Wallis was giving a talk.
Now some of you might not have heard of this chap, although he is also a political activist who recently got arrested on Capitol Hill for leading a protest about the apparently cruelty of the US budget that would make cuts on programs designed to help low income american families. You can see him in the second photo down. He's the chap with the white hair.
He is also married to an british priest by the name of Joy Carroll, whom Richard Curtis based the lead character of The Vicar of Dibley on. I met them (Jim Wallis and Joy Carroll that is) about four years ago at Greenbelt and they are absolutely lovely.
Anyway, Faithworks meeting. Well I went along with my old buddy Aidan and his girlfriend, Katie, and was surprised to see a no of familiar faces in the audience. There was fellow Subwayian, Jonathan Hassell and his wife, Ros. Fellow CSM activists Stephen Beer, Jonathan Cox, and Helen Dennis (well I part expected them to be there, given the event), and what was a mild surprise was seeing Kerron's fellow office colleague, Travis Randall. Who you can see below, chatting up, I mean discussing the evening with the girl in glasses.
Will be interesting to know what his take on the meeting was.
Anyways, the main frust of the talk was about how evangelicals have lost their touch in public life, compared to the ninteenth century evangelists like Wilberforce and Shaftesbury who were deeply involved in alleviating living conditions for those vulnerable and abolishing slavery. Today's evangelicals, well those who shout loudly, end up being prophets in the pocket of the King and failing to tell the difference between that and simple access to the government. For example, the Prophet Nathan had access to King David, but challenged him when he felt David had erred. It seems sad, as Wallis (and indeed Steve Chalke who was also there) pointed out, that the image of today's evangelicals, thanks to a few, are seen as right-wing zealots who are more bothered by abortion and gay marriage than the poor. For all the prostelysing of scripture, how often does the Bible repeatedly call for the poor to be an issue of primary concern in society. A great deal is the answer!
Afterwards there were book signings and Aidan, Katie, and I were invited to The Horse pub down the road by one or two fellow CSM members, before we went our seperate ways.
All in all though, it was an interesting evening, and definetly a lot to think about.