“Is there still hope for our divided nation?”
As we watch politics spiral into a never-ending cycle of argument and dissension, it’s easy to ask this question.
Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) is trying to answer that question.
RZIM’s new project, ‘At The Table,’ brings together political and religious leaders across the country in hopes of starting a conversation about unity.
At The Table “is designed to be a place where the exchange of ideas and hospitality meet.”
RZIM recognizes that the concept of hospitality has been sorely neglected in current culture. In our disagreements over policy and morality, we the people fail to make room for those with whom we disagree.
The organization is interested in offering hospitality as an avenue for creating open discussions between conflicting parties.
At the Table also “seeks to engage crucial issues of the day” like immigration, abortion, and other topics that influence policy across the nation.
The ministry invites leaders to study these issues “through the prism of a Christian worldview that is relevant, thoughtful, and persuasive.”
RZIM’s leadership intends for At The Table gatherings to be conducted in an invitational style, echoing the work of Christ while He was here on earth.
Just as He invited strangers to come to His table and know Him, RZIM hopes to invite those who don’t know Christ to come and encounter Him in the midst of political life.
The inaugural At The Table event was held on July 10th at the historic Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, D.C. Speakers included U.S. Senator Tim Scott, U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black, former White House official Michael Wear, and Ravi Zacharias himself.
After a panel discussion, these four individuals invited participation and dialogue from tables of other senior government staff members, elected officials, and media representatives.
The room took time to reflect on the idea of unity.
“Much has been written about our nation’s current divisions, but it is evident that we have faced and overcome deep divisions in the past,” said Michael Suderman, one of the RZIM representatives who leads At The Table.
“Some radical voices say it is time to ‘burn it down’ and start over, while others suggest there is time and a desire to heal our divisions and once again unite,” Suderman continued.
“But how do we unite, and around what?”
RZIM’s vision is that At The Table attendees will begin to unite around the ideas of mutual respect, a listening ear, and perhaps even the love of Christ.
Respect and listening starts with setting a good example.
“Being good listeners is indispensable to finding good solutions. Our country is divided and our world is in turmoil. We must come together and listen if there is to be a future for peace and liberty,” said Ravi Zacharias.
“Beyond ‘right’ and ‘left’ is an ‘up’ and ‘down.’” Zacharias hopes to expand the view of unity into something that exists beyond political leanings.
This will be a challenge, no doubt, especially in the often negatively charged domain of politics. But the opportunity to share ideas freely in a hospitable environment can be a powerful and transformative experience.
“The vision for At The Table was born out of a desire to intentionally create a space where leaders from diverse backgrounds can come together to discuss the critical questions of culture,” Suderman explained.
In an era where it’s easy to isolate ourselves from difference, At the Table is meant to draw out and celebrate the diversity found at Christ’s table.
Suderman went on to say:
“Our differences don’t need to divide us, but they will in the absence of communication. Traditionally the table has been the place where the exchange of ideas and hospitality meet, and it is our hope that this event will provide an opportunity for guests to actively participate in a discussion aimed at finding common ground and coming together as a nation despite our deepest differences.”
At the heart of the ministry is the acknowledgement that only God can unite what we the people divide. RZIM urges communication and grace in the process of coming together.
While the ministry has only held events in the U.S. so far, it has a vision and passion for reaching across the globe.
The success of the initial event in Washington, D.C. encouraged RZIM leadership – and now future At the Table events are planned for Sydney, New York, London, and other significant cities.
To learn more about this ministry, visit the RZIM website. Keep RZIM staff in your prayers as they strive to reach leaders across the political spectrum and around the world!