Spirit Sightings

October 2, 2016: Living Love Letter

From Fraser Macnaughton

The United Nations was set up in 1945 after the end of the Second World War as a means by which nations in dispute could get around a table to discuss their differences. After the carnage of WWII, great faith was put in this body to deliver peaceful solutions. As colonialism came to an end and new nations were born, they were keen to join the UN club.

Over the intervening decades, the UN has expanded its remit into many areas of human life, including health and education as well as food programs and development initiatives. When crises occur, the people of the world put their faith in the UN to address the issues and come up with solutions.

Recently, however, that faith has been shaken by revelations from special envoy Angelina Jolie, who has used a major peace conference to highlight cases of sexual abuse by peacekeepers. Miss Jolie said, “We all know that the credibility of UN peacekeeping has been sadly undermined by the actions of a few intolerable cases of women and children being sexually exploited by the very people in charge of protecting them.”

 There have been documented cases in several African countries of sexual exploitation of women and children by UN peacekeeping troops. In the Central African Republic, UNICEF has reportedly interviewed 98 girls who claim to have been sexually abused by international peacekeepers in just one province. The UN Secretary-General is to consider dispatching high-level envoys to countries whose troops have been implicated and “prima facie allegations have been confirmed.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights described the allegations as “sickening” and said investigations would leave no stone unturned.

In countries torn by civil war or insurrection, where victims of violence are disproportionately women and girls who are very vulnerable and who will have faith that UN peacekeeper are there to protect them, it is devastating when that faith is abused and all trust is lost.

Miss Jolie believes that one of the ways to re-establish faith in the UN and its peacekeeping missions is to have more women involved in the missions. “Peacekeeping forces can only gain and keep the trust of local populations if they are able to engage with women as well as men in that community,” she said.

Explore…2 Timothy 1:1–14

  • Can you think of any other examples where faith put it in a person or institution is diminished by unacceptable behavior?
  • To what extent do you think unrealistic expectation is a factor in people losing faith in religion or the church?
  • What things could you do to enhance or restore faith in your worshipping community?

Prayer links…

  • Jesus talked of treasure hidden in a field. Could he have been meaning faith and all that faith can bring to a community, something that has to be searched for, a nugget that has to be discovered. May we go on searching together for a living faith Amen.

Read more…



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