Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Liberal Evangelical

It's been really tough for me to watch the election in the United States. We had a federal election in Canada, back in October, and during the campaign they interviewed Canadians from all across the country about the Canadian vs. American election. One person in Windsor, which is right across the river from Detroit, said that he was following the American election, because it was going to have a greater impact on people in Windsor, than the Canadian election. What is scary, is I don't think he was too far off the mark .

Anyway, it has been tough for me, because I feel constrained in talking about my views. You see I am a Liberal (I spell that with a capital "L", because Liberal designates a political party in Canada, and not just a political position), and I am also a conservative evangelical Christian. It is a pretty lonely and somewhat conflicted position, at times. While I don't share many of the moral values of the Liberal party, I do share their value of caring for people - it just seems a little more Biblical, then the more conservative position of every man for himself.

I have appreciated John McCain, for many years, precisely, because he didn't fall entirely into the normal Republican mold, which of course is why he was not particularly popular with his own party. But, if I had lived just a couple of miles further north (Windsor is south of Detroit), I would have voted for Obama. I don't agree with some of the things he stands for, but I have not been particularly impressed with what has gone on for the past eight years, much of it with this vague connection to Christ. Personally, I'd rather "render unto Caesar", and get on with the business of loving God, my neighbours and myself and making disciples of all nations. But, politics can get in the way of that.

I pray that the next four years will be a little more sane, a little more caring and a little less harsh than the past eight. Who knows, just maybe God can work in this, or maybe we who love Christ can get on with what is eternally important and not get sucked into temporal stuff.

I want to add that we Canadians, in spite of all of the global American bashing that goes on, appreciate the liberty and freedom that the USA has stood for and the warm generousity of American people. God bless you.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

DR Congo 5.4 Million Dead

I don't know if you follow international news, but you need to pay attention to what is happening in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The events taking place there are part of one of the greatest ongoing human disasters of our lifetime. In the past decade 5.4 million Congolese have died because of the ongoing civil war.

Right now the city of Goma in eastern Congo (right on the border of Rwanda) is in the news. This isn't the first time Goma has been in the news. In 1994, 1 million refugees from Rwanda settled into Goma. I remember it well because I was in those camps in 1995. Goma made the news again in 1997, when a civil war swept through the city and the surrounding refugee camps. Thousands were killed and the refugees were driven out of the camps, into the bush and back across the border into Rwanda.

Goma is a very dreary city. It is at the base of a chain of volcanoes and the town and surrounding countryside is the charcoal colour of the lava that has so often flowed from those volcanoes. In 2002 Mount Nyiragongo erupted and Goma made the news again. This time the lava flow went right through town. I remember walking around a church in Goma. It was 'V' shaped with the point of the 'V' facing the volcano. It was explained to me that the church was built this way so that the lava would flow around it - it didn't work. The church along with most of the city was wiped out.

Goma continues to periodically make the news because of the ongoing civil war. It is in the news again, because the war has intensified. What is tragic is that no one seems to care about the 5.4 million people who have died in the past decade. I can't think of a greater tragedy - Darfur?, Korea?, Burma?, Somalia? - even Rwanda didn't see this level of unnecessary death.

I travelled through Goma, Nynkundi, Likati, Bunia, etc. and what breaks my heart is that many of the people I met are dead, their homes pillaged, the women raped and nothing has been done.

Shame on us!