“It’s possible for a church with deep resources for doing good to get co-opted by nationalism. I don’t want that to happen now.”
Tim Keller’s national reputation doesn’t come from his political positions. As the founder and newly retired senior pastor of New York City’s Redeemer Presbyterian, his claims to fame come from his thoughtful theological work and intellectual engagement. Yet 2017 may have been Keller’s most politically active year yet. Keller, along with more than 500 evangelical leaders, took out a full-page ad in TheWashington Post asking the administration to reverse its temporary ban on refugee resettlement and its proposed reduction for the next fiscal year. After the Trump administration announced a budget that proposed significant cuts to foreign aid, Keller’s former church held a global poverty event sponsored by Bono’s ONE Campaign. There, Keller joined former George W. Bush speechwriter and adviser Michael Gerson and the World Bank Group’s Edith Jibunoh to discuss where the church’s presence and perspective belong in American foreign assistance conversations.
Keller and Gerson recently sat down with writer Sarah Kate Neall to discuss that moral vision, the nationalism which threatens benevolence, and the key facts in a conversation about foreign aid.
Why is it important to have a conversation about global poverty and foreign aid now?
Keller: I’m concerned that there’s a growing resistance to foreign engagement stemming from rising tides of nationalism around the world. It’s not just America; more and more people are saying, “We’ve got to take care of our own. We’ve got to care about here.”
This sentiment is the reason the conversation has to go on. I see a lethargy and indifference growing. I also see a feeling of negativity and despair about …