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13 thoughts on “faith for justice”

  1. Philip McNichol

    “social justice” —if its defined as charitable outreach to the poor– given freely by another–this is a good idea. If you mean government bureaucracy taking from me what I have honestly acquired so as to redistribute the wealth the way the government see fit THAT’S WRONG. It is a term that must be defined and not thrown around as having only one meaning. Let us not mistake social justice for EQUAL JUSTICE for all.

    1. Philip, I don’t know why you struggle to find a definition for “social justice” – I have never come across it being equated with “charity” as you suggest – charity and justice are related but not identical. If you needed “social justice” defined you could have gone to the website at the end of this video-clip.

      It is the week of prayer for Christian unity. The video is to encourage unity through shared effort towards social justice.

  2. How Unequal Are We?
    http://extremeinequality.org/?page_id=8

    The unfortunate truth is that huge portions of the American populace (and it seems so too for most of the English-speaking world) were tricked in the late 1970s and early 1980s to espouse a tricksey dogma surreptitiously designed to recapitulate the era of the Robber Barons by deregulating corporations, relieving taxation on the rich, and expanding the corporate proportion of the mixed economy through privatization. This was all assented to and relinquished by the voters, ironically in the vain hope of getting rich themselves, to the detriment of the poor and the vulnerable. The appeal has been to individualism, personal responsibility and non-interference by a nanny state, ’cause bid kids don’t need nannies! Little did they know they’d likely become poorer themselves, with little to no safety-net.

    They willingly relinquished their hard-won rights and carefully constructed apparati to have the government mediate, advocate and equalize the inherent and vast power disparities among corporate economies-of-scale, the very wealthy and individual consumer-citizen-employees. They had no understanding of what motivates the very wealthy in their quest for wealthy, mistakenly projecting their own mind-set, they fancy that the wealthy just want to buy stuff and live in luxury. They no conception that it’s the power that real wealth brings and most importantly the wielding of that power, which motivates the very wealthy. Average citizens, not realizing what they gave up, have now reaped what they rashly threw away.

    In staunch, but deluded Objectivist, and zealous, quasi-Calvinist fashion they have accepted their self-ordained dying-on-the-vine and angrily eschew any re-appraisal, re-evaluation or assistance, crying out like a wino jealously guarding his styrofoam cup of chump change from the meddling social worker coming by to check in on his condition. The pathos of this mass delusion and self-will run riot is riveting and nauseating, like a train wreck.

    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” – John Rogers
    http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2009/03/ephemera-2009-7.html

  3. I was unaware of this debate in USA when I put up the video. I hope enough has been said about this now and we can move along. The context of justice, for me, is the five-fold mission of the church: proclaim Good news; teach, baptise, and nurture new believers; respond to human need; seek to transform unjust structures; safeguard creation. The other context is, in this week of prayer for Christian unity, that we can be united as we work to transform unjust structures. Together.

  4. Amen.

    It seems to me that the three-tikanga structure of the ANANZP reflects a heartening model of willingness to examine, deeply listen, repent and materially respond with respect and compassion to old and new wounds.

    I would bet it did not all just one day fall fully formed out of the sky to universal acceptance and joy. I imagine a slow, frustrating, painful, threatening, rending struggle over a long period of time to become a Church with three cultural expressions and a three-person primacy, all this in the setting of post-colonial aftermath.

    May the entire Anglican Communion, and beyond, behold it as a beacon of how to approach the manifold need for social justice.

  5. Philip McNichol

    Your website defined social justice ” people and our shared responsibility to care for one another ” this is correct.
    I do not struggle to define it. As I stated above help “given freely ” charity given FREELY to those in need from those with abundant blessings. If your idea of social justice is not charity,
    you say “charity and justice are related but not identical” then you must explain what social justice is. The term ‘social justice’ can not be found in the Bible. Is social justice charity ? or is it to take without consent from those who have honestly acquired wealth and give it to others simple because they have less. If it is not equated with “charity” as you say then what is it?

    1. I am not sure what you are seeking, Philip. You take an incomplete phrase from that website (not mine by the way) and present it as that site’s definition. You then continue to ask what social justice means, offering as one of only two alternatives something I have never heard as a definition of social justice. As to where to find social justice in the Bible, Micah 6:8, but really the whole context of Micah and Amos, Isaiah 42:3, Proverbs 31:8-9, Proverbs 3:8-9 spring to mind for a start. If you see justice as being a dimension of charity, I have no issue with that. I think that is just a linguistic difference – blame it on Antipodean linguistic eccentricity. Blessings.

  6. I was at a talk last night by a chemical engineer who, amongst other things, lamented what had happened to the word “sustainability” – with people thinking it means so many different things that the NZ government now refuses any professional advice paper that contains the term. I had not realised it, but it seems the phrase “social justice” has gone that way. I don’t think we should abandon the phrase (and especially not the concept, and warnings in Amos for example), but talk more about it – and I think the “Faith for Justice” clip is a good starting point, but doesn’t go very deeply. I think we need to pull the idea of justice out from under the dirt it has been covered in, look to what God is saying to us, and see if the language we use in churches – or complain of in public – can retain clean, clear meanings.

    Discussions are good. Finding out how words have changed meanings is vital. Is “justice” only charity? When “social” justice is a Bad Thing, is it because it isn’t justice? I struggled to find details in Glen Beck’s video, but I suspect he is calling on background understandings of how phrases are used that relate to the USA? The language of governments is complicated for all manner of reasons (they probably want it to be, to obfuscate)… the language of churches should be as clear and accurate as we can make it, surely?

    1. I think you are helpfully clarifying things here, Mark. Like you, I had not realised the particular issue in USA over the term. Possibly some in USA do not realise that not everyone is struggling with a word as they are in their own particular context. Just because some abuse a word, like you I am slower to abandon them – social justice appears relatively straightforward: it is justice that is social. If people abusing and confusing a term meant we should abandon it, I would long ago have abandoned the words Christian, love, evangelism, gospel, mission, and even God.

  7. Christian Cleveland (Facebook)

    Justice means “the quality of being fair and reasonable”. Social justice is justice performed at the level of societal relationships. It’s not an exclusively Christian or religious concept, although it could be argued that it grew in Western civilisation out of the Christian ethos of the (God-given) dignity and worth of every person created by God in his image.

    The fact that so many faiths and secular organisations champion social justice is surely a good thing. As for which faith or social organisations you consider to be morally superior, that’s a personal decision.

    Philip’s notion of “equal justice” has no meaning for me. We don’t have a right to EQUAL JUSTICE, we have an EQUAL RIGHT to justice. Justice is justice, whether performed by an individual, a church or a nation state. It’s either fair and reasonable in the circumstances or not.

    That is why we have a system where the government decides where our tax dollars go – not only to the road that you want repaired or the poor person that you want helped or the school that you want equipped, but to all roads, poor people and schools in a fair and reasonable distribution. If they get it wrong, you vote. Sounds fair to me.

  8. David |dah•veed|

    is it to take without consent from those who have honestly acquired wealth and give it to others simple because they have less.

    And yet is not that exactly what is going on in Old Testament scripture when the Israelites were told to share their possessions with their needy kinfolk without strings attached, to forgive unpaid debts after seven years, to leave the corners of their fields untouched during harvest for the poor, etc. They had no choice in the matter, it was the law. It would have been enforced by the Israelite government.

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