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Prov UC Lecture Series
God, Government, and Gospel: Christians and Politics
Listen to the 2011 Providence University College Lectures:
On October 25, Providence University College hosted its annual public Lecture Series, this year on the theme, “God, Government, and Gospel: Christians and Politics.” The guest lecturer for the occasion was the Hon. Bill Blaikie, an ordained minister and a retired MP and MLA.
For 32 years in elected office, Blaikie distinguished himself as a rare Canadian politician with an ability to weave together almost seamlessly his faith and his political affections.
Blaikie gave three addresses, “The Naked Public Square vs. The Naked Marketplace,” “Market Fundamentalism: Idolatry and Inequality,” and “Top Ten Scriptures for Faith and Public Life.” He addressed the audience more like a prophet than a politician. To those in public office, he warned, “When we treat the market as something other than a human creation we have created an idol.” Summarily, he called on the public to resist the wages of greed and rediscover a moral center based on an equitable social wage. But to accomplish this, leaders need nothing short of a spiritual vision that can comprehend both God’s generous love for the whole world and the need to discern the principalities and powers that are working against that generosity. Throughout his lectures, Blaikie referred to his new book, The Blaikie Report: An Insider’s look at Faith and Politics.
Regarding the church, Blaikie lamented the reality that instead of holding governments accountable for the frequently undemocratic and inequitable actions of the marketplace, many Christians are too busy singing the praises of the market. Citing the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan, Blaikie pondered why so many in the church walk on the other side of the road politically when it comes to being neighbourly. And when the church is critical, it fails to see how it is often complicit in the very terms it judges. At the same time governments need to create non-partisan opportunities for public discourse outside the realm of politics.
The day ended with a panel of Providence faculty and student respondents and a healthy question and answer period. Blaikie gave a final reminder that, in the matter of public policy, we all struggle to see through a glass darkly. In humility, we should not pretend we have the definitive flashlight.
Dr. Hendrik van der Breggen, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Providence University College, wrote a response to Bill Blaikie's lecture series. A Personal Look at Faith and Politics can be found here.
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