Building Bridges Not Walls - JIM Unit Convention 2017
27 May 2017
The talk given at the JIM Convnetion 2017 addressed the rising levels of anxiety in much of the Western world. The rise of the far right is one fo the most striking symptoms of the growing malaise. The inbseucrity people feel has much to do with rising economic and social inequalities - what some have called 'the ugly side of globalization'.
Two other factors are worth noting: the uncertainties posed by uncontrolled violence (e.g. terrorist attacks and the war on terror, prospect of nuclear catastrophe, costly and futile wars of intervention, unprecedented refugee flows), and climate change which many deny or refuse to countenance precisely because the prospects are too awful to contemplate.
In such conditions of profoundly unsettling uncertainties, people become highly vulnerable to simplistic, xenophobic solutions.
The experience of insecurity is now a global phenomenon. Both the problem and the solution are global in scope. There is no such thing as an effective local response. The refugee crisis is a case in point: no country can handle it on its own, not the US, not Germany, not the UK, certainly not Australia. An apporpriate response requires global knowledge, global analysis, global networking, and global planning - all of which can then help to shape and empower more effective local and national action - by governments, by civil society, by business and the media.
Faith communities have a critically importnat role to play in fostering the politics of empathy, solidarity and interdependence.