Here are the videos of the Conversion, Covenant, Hope and the Human Future hosted by the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem 13-14th Feb 2011. I appear in session 4 at 21.08. Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the power behind this project, appears in session 3, beginning 50 minutes in.
See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, then you will live and increase and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
Yesterday (13 Feb 2011) was the sixth Sunday of Epiphany. Every Church of England, and every Roman Catholic, Christian will have heard this passage from Deuteronomy 30. It refers exclusively, to Israel, telling you that you are the people who entered this land and must possess it. But by extension it refers to you in the United States and every other place you live. This passage tells me who I am, for we Christians understand this promise for ourselves, discovering our inclusion on this entirely exclusive basis. So Christians in Britain have understood this to be our permission to form a sovereign nation under law and so to live well together. And on the basis of this faith, held by many generations over many centuries a culture has grown, and on the back of it, a law, a polity and a nation. This gospel has created a political culture that gives us the freedom of conscience, rule of law and conception of property that makes for a dynamic economy and prosperity.
Van Leer Institute Jerusalem 13-14 February 2011
Is it desirable for gentiles to convert to Judaism? Is there a place for Christianity and Christians in the covenant between God and the Jewish people? On what basis can Jews and Christians hope for a better future between them and for the world?
This International Conference is co-sponsored by The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and the Institute for Theological Inquiry (ITI) of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) in Efrat. It centers around the original research project of ITI scholars on the topics of Covenant, Mission and Relation to the Other and Hope and Responsibility for the Human Future. As the capital of the Jewish people, the birthplace of Christianity and the locus of so much international religious conflict, Jerusalem is the ideal venue for discussions of conversion, interreligious relations and hope for the future of civilization.
Apparently we are going to be live-streamed to the world. So if you have any questions about civilisation or about the human future, just ask.
Despite daily streams of data and calculation showing that banks are undercapitalised and overlent, the stock markets are ludicrously overvalued and gold undervalued, nobody in authority has any new ideas at all and those out of favour are dismissed and/or smeared the choo-choo train of it is alright it is alright it is alright chuffs along on its journey across the detonating bridge…
Which brings me to the final reason: culture. Just about every cultural fault that could get in the way of reform is present at every level of this unholy mess. A banking culture driven by selfish greed and testosterone. An economic culture with so few ideas, it invented the jobless recovery. A consumer culture ready and willing to accept the irresponsible credit sold to it in return for material benefits. A media culture more interested in bread and circuses than issues, and too lazy to look beyond the spin of briefing packs. An energy exploration culture devoid of ethics, and prepared to do any deal with any rogue on behalf of the shareholders. And a political culture in every one of the States involved that long ago stopped listening to the complaints, needs and aspirations of its citizens.
John Ward The Slog