I just came from listening to Roméo Antonius Dallaire speak tonight. What an disquieting yet inspirational message of hope.

And yet I came away conflicted. With so much pain and suffering in the world, why do we/I spend so much time debating minuscule issues and problems like:

  • is the bible inerrant?
  • how should the church be structured? and what form of leadership style is more biblical?
  • what is the nature of Christ’s atonement?
  • is hell a physical place and will anyone suffer eternal torment there?

And yet, so often our action or inaction stems from our beliefs. I can not help but think of the resistance of conservative evangelicals towards climate change and the resulting looming disaster. So I ask, how would we act differently if we thought that Christ’s atonement and God’s reconciliation was inclusive rather than exclusive? What if we believed that Jesus’ message had more to do with justice and action in this current age then it had to do with our eternal habitation?

It was while pondering this that I remembered a blog dialog between Richard and Peter (start, next, next and next), which in turned raised the questions: What comes first the chicken or the egg? Should we concern ourselves with a social gospel or a personal salvation gospel?

We could all get involved with humanitarian aid, but if our core belief structures and human institutions do not change, there will always be a need for that aid.  So my conclusion is that we need both. We need those that are on the front lines delivering the humanitarian aid and fighting atrocities like genocide. We also need those who are the front lines debating ideas, asking questions and figuring out the answers so that in the future there may be less need for the first group.

I am hopeful.