Q and A with Tim Overton-Harris

Q&A with Tim Overton-Harris

Q A quote2Why do you believe in God?

I believe in God because I have experienced the Divine in so many and varied ways in life. Others might be able to point to science, coincidence or some other explanation for what I experience, but those answers never seem to be enough for me. I sense in relationships, in creation, in events, in crowds, and in solitude and contemplation something that is other, holy, MORE. I name this God.

What is one hope you have for Christians in the next decade?

I hope that Christians can get away from the mindset that we are gatekeepers who require a set orthodoxy for a person to be acceptable to us and God. We must reclaim the Way of Christ—working in the here and now to transform lives and the world. Our faith isn’t about some perfect eternal rest, it is about making the Kingdom real in this place and time.

What makes you sad about the state of religion in the Unites States right now?

Religion is being used as a weapon. It is being used to justify petty differences and hate. It is being manipulated to support things that it never should support. No matter our differences, we should work for a society where every person can live up to their fullest potential, and right now religion is being used for just the opposite.

Why do you think it’s important for people of faith to be involved in justice work?

Because it’s what Jesus did as a penultimate revelation of God. It is what characterizes the God I believe in and the God described in the Bible. It is what I am called to as a partner of God and Christ in this work of transforming lives and the world. Justice brings about equity and peace.

As Paul wrote: We are one body; if one part suffers, we all suffer. So too in our society and world, if some suffer and we do nothing to address the suffering and what causes it, we will suffer too. This is clear, look at climate change and racism and economic disparity to name just a few—we all suffer because we are not working for justice for all.

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