This statement is a work in progress. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The words urgency and hope are at the heart of our desire to convene Faith+Finance: Reimagining God’s Economy.
We stand on the precipice of a crisis of faith. Religious communities are losing their moral credibility, public influence, and alarming percentages of members and resources. Life together as many congregations have known it is at risk. Yet countless believers are having a powerful impact in their neighborhoods and around the world.
We stand on the precipice of ecological and economic disaster. Levels of income and wealth inequality have become incompatible with any notion of common good. A climate crisis already well underway is threatening the very survival of God’s good creation. Yet inspired solutions are emerging all around us, with marginalized communities often leading the way in sustainable innovation.
We stand in the midst of a crisis of relationship. Typical modes of engagement in political, racial, economic, and regional conflicts are making it hard to talk and seemingly impossible to trust. In the time of our greatest need, we are losing the nerve to encounter and learn from various forms of difference. Yet each day the Spirit is reconnecting us one to another, forming new partnerships of counsel and cooperation.
It is understandable to fear the challenges we face. It is faithful to lament our part in them and to repent in heart and mind.
We must also act, trusting in the Almighty to work through us to repair what is broken.
God calls all people to live justly with one another and build conditions for mutual human flourishing. Jesus calls his followers to bind their fortunes with neighbors near and far and to seek, accompany, and grow the resiliency of God’s most vulnerable children.
As the organizers of Faith+Finance, we believe that responsive, equitable, accountable markets have an indispensable role to play in solving problems of the magnitude we face. We also believe the values, connections, and resources of religious communities hold immeasurable value in reimagining our current economies according to this need.
Faith+Finance has the potential to bring together powerful networks of collaborators to do this work together. But the problems are too big for us to allow our inevitable disagreements to get in the way of convening the conversation.
In particular, we acknowledge that divisions within Christianity are strong, often politicized, and deeply connected to this nation’s sinful history of racist practices and to ongoing structural inequities.
We believe that, like our different beliefs about how markets should work or how to prioritize among multiple positive impacts, our various traditions’ different emphases and values can be a source of strength and collective wisdom.
We are not asking potential participants to tell us anything about their beliefs. We hope this statement tells you enough about ours to evaluate whether you would benefit from participating and be able to actively contribute. We will do our best to curate and moderate all sessions and content in a way that represents a diversity of identities and perspectives.
We hope it goes without saying that we expect all participants to contribute to a climate of respect, especially for the interfaith partners we are inviting to join us for the first, primarily Christian convening.
As you know, respect not require agreement, but it does require
clear communication about how each of us wants to be treated;
clear responsibility about the impact our words and actionscan have on others; and
clear understanding of the limits of our knowledge of self, one other, and God.
In many ways, the purpose of this gathering is for all of us to get smarter, faster. That means we have to believe we have much to learn from one another.
We pledge, with God’s help, to do our best to make that possible for all participants.