Building Consensus

A consensus is building that people of
goodwill must take responsibility for addressing those problems that confront
the human family, such as ending poverty and the diseases of poverty, and
concentrate our energy on working for the common good. It makes sense. It pays
off in many positive dividends and it’s the right thing to do.

…we do in
fact have
the capability
to end the
worst of
the world’s
health
problems…
Philip Hilts

Do the right thing. I perceive a consensus building that people of goodwill must take responsibility to address problems that confront the human family such as ending poverty, preventing and treating the diseases borne of poverty and creating a climate in which peace can grow. The consensus is that it’s the right thing to do, and more, it’s good for everyone.

It will pay off in dividends that will benefit the long-term future of the whole human family. It’s good politics, foreign policy, economic policy and, most important to me, theology.

Everywhere I’ve been lately I’ve heard frustration with the polarized intransigence that divides us. What I’ve heard leads me to conclude that most people want to put their energy into those things that unite us, things that we have in common, not in those things that highlight our differences.

In RX for Survival, (the companion book to the six-part PBS Series), Philip Hilts writes of “the growing realization that we do in fact have the capability to end the worst of the world’s health problems.” (p. 24)

What is needed, Hilts says, is the political will among major donor nations to work with the poorest countries to bring this reality about. When Bill and Melinda Gates, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Ted Turner, Bono and many, many others put their names and their foundation resources into this effort, they change the dynamic. It’s no longer an ethereal dream. It’s a concrete search for specific vaccines and treatments for diseases that undermine social stability and cause premature death.

I believe, considering all that I’ve seen and heard in the past several weeks, that this dialogue–how to end poverty and how to end the diseases of poverty–is one of the most important dialogues we can have about our common future. Within the faith community, it’s one of the most important theological conversations that we can have about faithfulness today.

I’ll be posting on this in the next few weeks, attempting with all my powers to stay on this message. I think it’s the life-giving message that we must perfect and act upon with urgency. Let me know what you think.

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