Worth listening to

A week ago I heard an interview with Douglas Johnson, who heads the Institute for Religion and Diplomacy, on the NPR program Speaking of Faith.

Johnson is an evangelical Christian, with international diplomatic experience. He is author of Faith Based Diplomacy: Trumping RealPolitik.

He believes that “the greatest threat in the post-Cold War world is the prospective marriage of religious extremism with weapons of mass destruction. Yet the U.S. spends most of its time, resources, and weapons fighting the symptoms of this threat, not the cause. The diplomacy of the future, he is showing, must engage religion as part of the strategic solution to global conflicts.”

Johnson had some fascinating stories to tell, including a conference he helped organize in the Sudan which brought together Muslim and Christian leaders for one of the first times. Included was a “prayer support” group from the US and the Sudan which prayed as the political leaders talked!

None of this, he said, gets play in the mainstream media. He also told of a large evangelistic healing campaign in the heart of Khartoum which attracted hundreds of thousands. When some Muslims wanted to close it down the president responded, “The Christians were here before us. They are celebrating their religion. Why don’t you go and celebrate theirs”!

More Christians need to know what is happening, and can happen, in honest dialogue and prayerful encounters like these.

I would strongly recommend that you listen to this interview. To do so go on line to Speaking of Faith, choose Archives, and you will find the interview posted there that you can hear (if you have a speaker for your computer!) You can also go to the Institute for Religion and Diplomacy website.

Leighton Ford,

January 15, 2008

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