In the past weeks, I’ve been wondering if my pastoral preaching and teaching has been as justice-focused as it should be. Am I able to “go and do likewise,” as Jesus describes in telling the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)? Am I a sheep or a goat? Do I actually welcome strangers, clothe naked people, or visit those who are sick or in prison (Matthew 25:31-45)?
The prophet Micah talks about doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with your God (Micah 6:8). I wonder if I’m walking humbly with my God if I’m listening to an iPod while I walk, or if I’m wearing expensive designer walking shoes. How humble is that?
Elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible, Amos decries those who “sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals” (Amos 2:6).
I have a pair of Teva sandals that, even on clearance, still cost the equivalent of several hours of work for a minimum wage worker. At full price, they would be over one hundred dollars. I feel like I have literaly sold the needy for a pair of sandals. (Full disclosure: I actually own two pairs of Teva sandals).
Justice texts like these function as law for me. They point out the brokenness of the world, and my own participation in it. I lament the world as it is, and long for the world as it should be. I keep on fervently praying, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Social justice is a theme throughout the Bible, and I pray that the Church may continue to figure out how to respond to the injustice in the world. Thus, I am a bit confused when I hear that Glenn Beck is encouraging Christians to leave churches that preach social justice.
Here’s a link:
I would be concerned if a church were not preaching love of neighbor and care for those who are oppressed. That doesn’t sound like Communism or Nazism to me. It sounds…umm…well, Christian.