Faith alone is useless
Tony Blair's in the headlines again, this time urging people to put faith in a central position in solving the world's problems. He's half right. Good to see him urging people to look to matters spiritual, because our rudderless world is crying out for a moral datum, but the truth is: faith cannot feed Somalis, faith cannot disempower Belfast drug barons, faith cannot stop social decay.
Only God can.
Tony Blair speaks of the role his faith played in his premiership and says he didn't like to talk about it because, "frankly, people do think you're a nutter". Lots of room for cheap asides there, but he's right of course: talk about God and people look for a straightjacket or, at best, a hidden agenda.
And in this statement too, Blair doesn't mention God once. He talks about the virtues of faith. But faith, without highlighting the object of faith, is dull theory. When thrilling audiences of potential travellers, which airline explains the laws of aerodynamics? No one buys theory, but people everywhere hunger for God's loving care.
Wouldn't it be great for a Christian leader of 'world' proportions to stand up and tell us how brilliant, how utterly fantastic, God is; how, even though we're endemically nowhere near up to the job of pleasing him for anything more than fleeting instants, he reached into our world with the answer to the human dilemma which millennia's worth of our best philosophers have failed to find an answer to: himself in human form.
Imagine a world, or even a bit of it, transformed by the liberating realisation that, even though we're the scum of the earth, God has chosen to love us.
Makes lectures on faith sound a bit limp, eh?