KAIROS: The importance of faith

What does the Lord require of you?

But to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

KAIROS is an ecumenical organization that brings together eleven churches and religious organizations in reflection and action on ecological justice and human rights.  We understand our work to be public witness, rooted in theological reflection and faith commitment.  What does this mean?

We believe that God’s call to us is to do justice; this is a requirement of our faithfulness.  We take positions on issues through a process of discernment, beginning with hearing the voices of people most affected by injustice whether these are partners in countries of concern or Indigenous people in Canada.  Believing that people are made in God’s image, we listen to their experience, hearing what stands in the way of God-given dignity and life lived to its fullest.  We reflect theologically on the issues raised by these often marginalized voices, drawing from both the wisdom of scriptures and the social teachings of our different denominations.  We also apply research and analysis, expertise from many years of experience in social justice work.  Considering all of this information, our churches set priorities and develop positions for KAIROS.

With our churches, KAIROS speaks in the public sphere not primarily as a political act, but rather as public witness to our faith.  We strive to participate constructively in policy debate on our priority issues.  This leads us to at times support government positions and at times to critique and offer alternatives to government positions.  We believe that in contributing to public debate and policy making we are enhancing democracy, as are those contributing from other faiths or from conscience and experience.  Our role is strictly non-partisan, as we critique and support positions regardless of the political party from which they originate.

This tradition of public witness has proud roots. In Canada, it was the faith of Tommy Douglas that led him to struggle for universal health care.  The faith of Canadian churches motivated them to oppose apartheid in South Africa and contribute to the end of this unjust system. It was also the faith of people across the country that led our churches to join in Jubilee, and influence Canada towards bilateral debt cancellation for poor countries.  These are only a few examples.

Our faithful motivation does not in any way restrict our collaboration with those of other faiths or conscience who come to similar positions.  For example, while it is our belief in the integrity of God’s creation that leads us to address climate change, we gratefully work with unions, environmentalists, citizens’ groups, other faiths, and many others in research, policy development education and advocacy on this issue.  It also does not mean that we support only Christian organizations.  KAIROS partners in Africa, Latin America, Middle East and Asia are women’s groups, human rights organizations, research centres, peoples’ networks, as well as church-based organizations.  We collaborate with people of all faiths, both in our international partnerships and here in Canada in education and action for justice.

KAIROS is one or many ways that the churches strive to live out their faith in a God, in whose image and dignity all persons were made, and in whose creation we are called to abundant life.

Filed in: Spirited Reflections


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