I visited the Transitional Justice Institute for the first time the other day. Argentina and South Africa's experiences of how human rights activism has changed through political transition. I only understood the discussion at a very superficial level. But it was enough to trigger my own thoughts about how to ensure that our Northern Irish peace process continues to bed in.
I realised that I don't yet believe the peace is permanent. There's too much bigotry and there are too many sectarianisms around for me to be confident that we've "got it". Respect for all human beings is not yet our "point de départ", or even our default position. Our theologies here are idolatrous in providing excuses for rejecting the image of God in fellow-humans. Too many "decent folk" still prefer to shun those they disagree with, rather than engage, learn to listen, to understand and even to love. (Anything short of this is not following Christ, is it?)
While I can turn up to a church meeting and feel cold-shouldered for my theology, before I've even met folk, I cannot celebrate the quality of the love of Christ in my own denomination.