Watchdogs of Christian development are eagerly doing their jobs in making us have a closer walk in our faith. In the Book of Genesis, God spoke his creation into existence. Thus demonstrating the inherent power of speech and the Word. Through his supreme love, God created Adam and Eve to live in abundance. He told them not to eat the fruit of the tree of life, but they disobeyed, and sin entered the world, with their disobedience (Genesis 1-3 ).
Ban Ki-moon (b. 1944), eight and current secretary-general of the United Nations explains our condition, “Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance.” Unlike God’s laws, in the Garden of Eden, the secretary-general was proposing fundamental ideas for growth and development of planet earth.
His proposal followed a 1998 paper on Bahai perspective entitled, “Valuing Spirituality in Development” that was part of a World’s Faith Development Dialogue hosted by the World Bank and the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace, London, which outlined the following factors:
- The intellectual development of the individual
- The guarantees of freedom
- Fostering equality and partnership of men and women
- The nurturing of families
- Protecting the environment
- The widespread participation of all groups in a society
- A desire to serve
It was felt that the events of this world were expressions of our spirituality and it was further noted, spirituality, mass media, and national development were intricately related. In From Yahweh to Yahoo: The Religious Roots of the Secular Press, Underwood saw a connection in the importance of God’s Word, discussion, and debate, in the promotion of values, and development in democratic countries.
The Importance of Public Trust
It was acknowledged that public trust was important for growth – news, information, and entertainment. Freedoms of speech, religion and the press have to be guaranteed. Citizens must be exposed to a variety of media in making the best choices. It’s ideal when there isn’t any restraint from their government, corporations, and competing interests, in America. British conservative politician Benjamin Disraeli ( 1804 -1881), who was twice Prime Minister advised, “Nurture your minds with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes.” Disraeli believed that what leaders, officials, and gatekeepers sell to the public would be on their minds and in their outlook. It’s best for citizens to think great thoughts. Thinking represents social growth and development.
David Suzuki (b. 1936), Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmentalist, states, “We need love, and to ensure love, we need to have full employment, and we need social justice. We need gender equity. We need freedom from hunger. These are our most fundamental needs as social creatures.” Leadership policies bear fruits in well-run societies that are living in blessedness, in the joys of Christ.
The Role of Watchdogs
The press and citizens must have a special role to play as social watchdogs. Journalists especially must uphold fundamental principles of fairness, accuracy, decency, and honesty. With this commitment there will sustain unity of diversity. Everyone must contribute to nation building. Citizens of every persuasion, complexion, creed, and nationalities will be the reporters, builders, designers, architects, doctors, and engineers. Their missions will attain the highest levels of spiritual, moral, intellectual, and creative growth, for all. These developments start in our hearts and minds.
Dalai Lama (b. 1935), current living incumbent of Tibetan spirituality, observes, “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” Christian faith encourages us to love our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). Indeed with this love, all of us have the responsibility as authentic watchdogs, in building up our earthly home.