Former British prime minister Tony Blair has completed his first semester as a visiting lecturer at Yale University, an experience he says has strengthened his belief that religious faith and economic and social globalisation are partners.

Arguing that the process of "pushing people together" has made multicultural and multi-religious societies, Blair argued that "spiritual capital" and "human capital" now need to link.
That, combined with an increased need for multi-faith dialogue, he told reporters after he spoke, "will in time be seen as a defining question, and perhaps the leading question of the 21st century".

Blair was an Anglican but in 2007, after stepping down as prime minister, he converted to Roman Catholicism. In a BBC television document after he left office, Blair acknowledged that his belief in God played a "hugely important" role during his 10 years as prime minister.

Blair has formed his own London-based foundation (www.tonyblairfaithfoundation.org), to promote interfaith dialogue. He and Yale officials are working on a joint initiative to address issues of religious faith and globalisation.

*Taken from the Ekklesia website*
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Now, I dont know a lot about Politics, I will admit, but when I heard that Blair had converted to Catholism, I had my doubts, as im sure did many others. But reading this, you could say that Blair is, dare I say it, evangelising?!

I applaud him for this, over the last few years I've not heard him speak or seen any evidence of a Godly way of life. (Then again, ive only really been listening for the past 3/4 years!) Yet evangelising, for me, is standing up and saying 'We cannot do things our way, the only way forward is Gods.' He essentially is saying (I think) that God need never be excluded from economics or politics, but that faith is an essential part of all things.

I thought this concept of God being in control of those who are placed in positions of power had been almost proved wrong, but looking around properly I see that God is indeed always in control;

George Bush - 'Rumours that he had prayed with a young soldier who had lost a hand in Iraq were thought to be myth, but Mansfield tracked down witnesses and a hospital chaplain who said that Bush had prayed with the man, ending by kissing him on the forehead and telling him he loved him. 'For me, that sums up Bush's beliefs. He really believes Jesus is taken up in his heart and soul,' http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/nov/02/usa.religion

4 comments:

  1. You make it sound like evangelising is always a good thing. I think that Tony Blair "evangelising" can only be a bad thing and would push many many people away from God. People would think 'Well if that's what Christianity is, no thank you.' I don't know Tony Blair and what he's really like, but people's perception of him is set. He polarises people because of the Iraq War.

    Also, we can't view people as potential converts or "lost" if they're not Christians. They're precious fellow humans beings, who Christians are not superior to. We should just genuinely love them. As St Francis of Assisi said "Preach the gospel at all times...and only if necessary, use words."

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  2. I personally believe that evangelising in the right circumstances is always a good thing. The Bible calls us in Matthew 28:18-20 to 'go and make disciples of all nations'.

    To me, this means to reach out/evangelise to people in a way that they can understand and relate to. My perception of this event is that perhaps Blair is learning from his experiences and that this has brought him round to a fuller understanding of God. I, for one, would interetsed in what he had learnt from that.

    I partly agree and disagree with your second statement. I too dislike the term 'lost', however, I believe that all people should and need to know God, in what ever form they choose to, in order to live fulfilling lives and to have eternal life. Being a Christian does not make me better than any other, but it makes me better than what I otherwise would have been.

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  3. I don't think that we can assume anything about people we don't know. Neither you or I know Tony Blair personally but we know what he did as Prime Minister. Power always corrupts, it would be naive to think otherwise. He's now promoting interfaith dialogue, understanding and respect of different faiths, he's not actually evangelising for Christianity.

    I think evangelising isn't always good. It needs great sensitivity and wisdom. People are complex and have different personal histories. People can easily be pushed further away from Jesus by insensitive and inappropriate attempts at evangelism. Christians tend to want to just tell their beliefs to other people and for them to believe them. We have to reassess our motives. Do we genuinely love people and want to come alongside them and be Jesus' hands and feet and heart to them?

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  4. An intresting note on Blair and Bush, two figures who have dominated the political scene for the last 10 years or so.

    Bush's praying with a soldier doesn't suprise me as he has always been open about his faith and it is part and parcel of any american president, especially a Republican to be open about God.

    Blair on the other hand has always professed some kind of faith but in the words of Alister Campbell 'we don't do God' and thats the way it has been for him whilst in power.

    Now that he is free from British political correctness he can speak openly about faith but thats where he stops. Blair never talks about Christianity or even catholicism he just talks about the good that shared faith values can have.

    It's a long reach to say that someone who talks about all faith as beneficial is envolved in evangelism. I would say Blair is doing well at promoting faith but not evangelising.

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