Sunday, March 21, 2010
Of course, in the real world, that is just absurd. Such nightmare scenarios are all just part of the brainwashing that has happened amongst some on the Right who can ONLY imagine something like that must be happening at these churches. For this reason, it seems reasonable to them to tell people to "run" from such churches.
So, to that end, I thought I'd provide some real world examples of what we, at Jeff St, do to promote social justice, in our own words and actions.
We educate about the homeless, as we do here, here and here
We sing songs, as we do here or hymns that include these lines...
If you give food to the hungry
and set the oppressed free
then your light will rise like a light out of darkness
and the Lord will be your guide
you'll be like a well-watered garden
like a spring that never runs dry...
(...which the biblically astute will recognize as coming from the prophet Isaiah).
We preach sermons about it, as you can see here
For example. So, in any of our words, are there any actual problems, or just a people striving to be faithful to God's Way?
And yes, sometimes, we take what might be called political action. For instance, just this week, our church and about 20 others around Louisville will ask our school officials and state courts to implement a program called "restorative justice." The concept is that for many of our children, they get introduced early on to prison life for horrible mistakes they've made and actions they've committed. The problem is that, statistically, once that happens, these children will tend to become lifelong problems, with many repeat visits to prison and thus leading an unproductive life.
Restorative justice is a way of intervening early to stop that cycle of a school-to-prison pipeline. I won't go into the details here, because that's not the point. The point is, we have researched an existing justice problem, one we know well because of our own families and friends, and found a positive, productive solution. In this case, that solution can only be implemented by schools and courts. We can believe that restorative justice is a good idea, but it is only a good idea if the powers that be implement it.
And so we'll take political action, asking our elected and court officials to implement a positive change for justice.
Justice for some of the least of these, as is a repeated theme throughout the Bible.
But in any of these ACTUAL real world examples of what churches that "push" social justice do, is there anything that says, "This isn't a real church - you should RUN from it, leave it!"?
Even if someone disagreed with a particular song or action that we're doing, clearly these are actions taken in an effort to follow God. So, it would seem the most anyone could complain about is that we are mistaken. We are mistaken, some might say, to think that this "restorative justice" program is a good idea.
But even IF someone thought we were mistaken, well, churches are mistaken about things all the time. Shall we tell everyone to "run" from churches that ever make any mistakes? Obviously, that would leave our churches empty.
And so, I ask: Is there some problem with any of our actual words or actions - a problem that would call for leaving such a church? OR, is that a good, healthy, Christian political thing to be doing?