Last Sunday’s Cross Country Checkup (Canada’s nationwide call-in radio program) was superb. I appreciated it so much, not only because of my near hero-worship of host Rex Murphy, but also because of the discussion surrounding the role religious convictions play in Canadian public life.
I’m very interested in helping Christian faith make it out into the light of day. So often there are cultural and social pressures which shift religious values and truth claims into the purely private domain. Sadly, evangelicals have largely cooperated with that push and framed our faith in ways that apply only our own devotion. If Christ is Lord, than He’s Lord of All.
Nevertheless, we live in a plural society and need to enter the public sphere with our faith in such a way that is winsome and hospitable to others. After all, no one comes at any issue without their worldview assumptions. Christians – and other people of faith – shouldn’t be expected to. But we need to do it respectfully and persuasively. There needs to be new ways of public dialogue. This is especially important to me lately for a few reasons:
a) I love God and I love people. I love people so much that I want them to love the God that I love. I can’t invite them to that unless there is a place for me to speak of Him.
b) There is often deep suspicion of people’s religious convictions. * this is sometimes understandable!
c) There are recent issues in my country – such as this Supreme Court decision and this piece of legislation from my home province – which have become hot button topics. While the motivations may be good, as they’re written could have harmful effects on both freedom of religion and speech. We need better spokespeople to voice the concerns of faith communities.
d) So often the most shrill and extreme voices get heard, while the more winsome are muted.
e) Everyone – Atheist, Christian, Sikh, Agnostic, Muslim, Secularist – does better when we can participate in our common life together on the basis of our convictions. It is a ‘do unto others’ type thing.
That’s why I loved listening to this discussion. I couldn’t have asked for a better Christian representative than my one-time professor John Stackhouse. He is a great example of how to be confidently Christian while seeking the good of all and not sounding like a kook! I hope and pray that we could all strive to emulate his tone.
Also, Rex Murphy handled the dialogue and callers like a champ! His wise and judicious mumblings were balm to my soul.
If you’ve got 2 hours free, it’s well worth listening to (or even just a little bit of it).