Public faith: A different approach
For people who equate conservative Christians with Americans — and with the religious right — Faithworks is a healthy antidote.
The UK-based organization began in 2001 as a campaign for the recognition of Christianity in local communities and an end to “discriminatory practices” in funding and partnerships.
From that start, the movement has broadened to helping local churches serve their communities. Faithworks has also developed a 6-point plan to reduce “fear of faith” in society — especially the fear that it necessarily causes bigotry and divisiveness.
“We need to move beyond fearful, knee-jerk reactions to faith and develop an understanding of what it means to be motivated by faith and how active faith can actually benefit society,” says Joy Madeiros, Faithworks public policy director.
The organization also posts the contents of its magazine and newsletter, in PDF form. A recent magazine issue deals with matters like rural and gang ministries. It also talks honestly about ethical dilemmas: family life versus public activism, and reducing personal debt versus fighting global poverty.
However you feel about separation of church and state, approaches like Faithworks are a cooling, calming way to address the issues. Maybe American Christians should take a few tips from their British brethren.