Posted by: wjlayton | November 1, 2011

Reform and Reformation

This week many of the member communions of the NCC observed Reformation Day, including (or maybe especially) my own denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Since then, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the idea of reformation. Those of us in the protestant tradition are probably most familiar with the term in regard to church history (never mind whether our own particular favorite reformer is Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, Knox, Simons, Wesley, or another of the many influential figures of the church’s past). Reformation, however, is not merely a topic for history books, nor is it confined within the walls of the church.

Today, many different groups are calling for reform, whether or not they use that language. Political movements of all kinds, from blue to red, left to right, have called for reformation of our economy and our government.  Politicians on both sides continually promise to change something or other. The idea of reform and reformation has long permeated our culture and our politics.

On Thursday, November 17th, at 2 pm, the NCC Eco-justice Program will host a briefing in the Capitol Visitors’ Center in Washington, DC, dealing with one kind of reform in particular: chemical policy reform. Perhaps it’s a stretch to draw a comparison between what happens on “the hill” in Washington today, and the reformers of the past, but there is one clear similarity. Like the old reformers, people of faith today see problems with the way the world works, injustices in “business as usual,” and we want to change it. In the case of the NCC’s upcoming briefing, people of faith are concerned about the presence of toxic chemicals in the products we use every day. We fear that those chemicals, products that end up on the shelves without ever having been proven safe, could harm us, our families, and our neighbors.

I hope some of you will be able to join us on the 17th. I also hope that some of you will join me in praying that we may continue to work, in a spirit of reformation, to changes aspects of the world that are unjust.

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