Thursday, March 11, 2010

Viva Social Justice!

Just when I thought I had seen it all...You may have noticed that this blog is the opportunity to raise social justice issues, in the midst of other reflections on the Christian life. Justice issues have always been important in the United Church and while we need to be cautious that we don't allow those justice issues to eclipse developing a devotional relationship with God, in Christ, we wouldn't be faithful to scripture without that commitment to those on the margins of society. I have been pleasantly surprised that there has been a growing awareness of these issues in evangelical circles as well. Megachurch pastor Rick Warren has invited conservative Christians to respond to the crises in Africa, including AIDS. Others have encouraged their followers to care about the balance of the natural world.

So I was appalled to see that television commentator Glenn Beck has entreated his viewers to "run as fast as you can" from their churches if they hear about social justice from the pulpit. He equates it with Nazism and communism. You may have noticed that in the States these days, anything conservatives don't like is labelled Nazism. It is tempting to label Beck as insane, but he has a broad following, which I simply cannot comprehend.

Is it important to you to consider issues of justice for the poor and the vulnerable? How does this play out in your everyday life when it comes to acting compassionately and as a follower of Christ?


Anonymous said...

I am not quite sure how social justice issues could be avoided in a Christian community, when Jesus tells us to feed and clothe the poor and to seek justice. He does doesn't He? Or do I have the message wrong?

IanD said...

Beck is universally reviled by those of sound mind as a comprehensive whack job, bigot and half-wit. I leave it to my fellow readers to draw their own conclusions about his audience.

Reactionary oversimiplication and inappropriate distortions of the kind he demonstrates are the work of a feeble mind. Go Glenn, go.

I dunno about anyone else, but my mother always told me if I didn't have anything good to say, I shouldn't say anything ... !

Nancy said...

I agree Pupil. I think of the hymn we sing, "to seek justice and resist evil, and humbly walk with the Lord......"
I met with several staff at noon today and we are about to start a unit after break on Social Justice/Activism with our junior students. We are going to look at some of the "rights of the child" and then bring it locally to homelessness, as one of the "rights of the child" is to have the right to housing. How can we not consider issues of justice for the poor and vulnerable when it is all around us and those of us who are fortunate, are in a position to do something?

lionlamb said...

You are so right pupil. How can we read the psalms, the prophets, Jesus, and not hear the call to justice.

I will agree on feeble mind Ian.

I commend you and your colleagues Nancy. You can't say much about your faith in the school system these days, but you can live it. The hymn you mention, which I like as a round, is based on verses from the prophet Micah.

Deborah Laforet said...

I see Jesus as someone who promoted justice in a world of empire. I see us currently in a world of empire needing to seek justice.

The United Church courageously grapples with many social justice issues, such as the truth and reconciliation with First Nations people, ecumenical and interfaith work, and the questions surrounding peace in Palestine and Israel. One of the reasons I love this church.