Thoughts on Social Justice

If you're at all up on current trends within American Christianity these days, you know there is a huge push in the area of "social justice." (If you're not up on current trends, but listen to Glenn Beck you might have some idea of the issues, though Beck himself seems to be a little fuzzy on exactly what "social justice" is). Some of the current trend toward "social justice" stems from theologies that see the church responsible for ushering in or manifesting the Kingdom of God on the earth. Some of it comes for more visceral reasons, one being an embarrassment that the church has been a latecomer to the scene on many contemporary issues of justice (I think a lot of this healthy discussion started with Bill Hybels and Rick Warren's conviction about the church's lack of response to the AIDS issue).

The other more visceral reason is connected - many trend-trackers show an increasing dissatisfaction with the relevance of the Church. Church leaders feel like the church needs to prove relevance in issues of social justice in order to fix a perception issue with the church.

I'm still thinking my way through all the issues. Certainly I believe the church should be involved in what's going on in the world. But, I've got some serious concerns about both "how" and "why" many contemporary leaders say that needs to happen.

For the rest of the week, I'm going to record some of my current disjointed, stream-of-consciousness thoughts on this - more because I need to get them down than because I think you care to read them. Even still, feel free to interact if you've got an opinion. Like I said, I'm still very much in process.

2 comments:

elenburg said...

> Church leaders feel like
> the church needs to prove
> relevance in issues of
> social justice in order
> to fix a perception issue
> with the church.

Perception issue? Yuck. That makes me ill just reading it.

Has the church as a whole been negligent on matters of social justice? Or, is it just the comfortable and wealthy American church that got myopic?

I watched this over the weekend: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0912580/ I think it is not just the church, but middle America in general, that is myopic regarding social justice. Unfortunately, the American suburban church often reflects the culture rather than the other way around. It shouldn't be that way.

jwhughes said...

The mandate to the church in the NT is To be My witness and edify the universal church. The call to compassion, charity, integrity, etc., is the exercise of who we are and the confirmation of our witness and edification of the saints. When we make the temporal the main thing we lose the main thing. C. S. Lewis said something about seeking the temporal and losing both the temporal and the eternal. Seek the eternal and gain both.