Thursday, February 12, 2009

Social Justice

Perhaps you’ve all heard the saying:
In essentials, unity.
In nonessentials, liberty.
In all things, charity (love).

Once we are agreed on who Jesus is, these are the rules of banter about how we then shall live.

So let me toss this out into the fray: I am troubled by social justice. Between “be good” and the “do good” I fall distinctly in the “be” category. My mama accused me of being a sandbagger (to downplay or misrepresent one's ability in order to deceive someone—or in my case, reduce expectations of useful labor). I would choose worship over work any day of the week.

Nonetheless, my heart has been wrecked by seeing my abundance and easy load sidled up to the rubble of other’s lives. Social justice. There is no social justice. But I must engage.

CS Lewis writes in the Screwtape Letters, a dialogue between demons on how to thwart God (the Enemy):
“… we want very much to make men treat Christianity as a means; preferably, of course, as a means to their own advancement, but, failing that, as a means to anything—even social justice. The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy [God] demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice. For the Enemy [God] will not be used as a convenience…”

Tis a conundrum, is it not? We are called to give to the poor. And even that can become a god of sorts. Abandon social justice issues? I think not. Hey—I am going to Kenya later this year. But am I directing God toward that injustice or his he directing me? Who gets to be the hero? Don’t kid yourself—I know the right answer to those questions but pride, oh my, there you are haunting me again.


deac-in-training said...

Doing good is worship for me--standing in the breach, realizing how powerless I am, witnessing God's great power, feeling the things that wreck God's heart, glimpsing miracles with the corner of the eye--God's fingerprints are all over it.

Tougher for me--and so a most necessary obedience--to practice just being in His presence.

Pig Woman said...

I find I can really over think these things. I mean if you really want to get truthful, there is not one thing I do for God that is not motivated by some self-interest or pride. Even just the feel-good feeling after giving to someone in need is a pat on the back. If I dwell on it, and try not to do anything prideful, it totally paralyzes me. It could be the third thing the devils discuss doing to me--"...aah yes, this one is easy, just turn on the guilt thang. Get her to question every move she makes for God, then when she is all in a tangle over it, whisper in her ear that even excessive guilt is a form of pride. She will be wallowing in such condemnation, we won't have to worry about her for a looong time." Nope. I just have to trust God to change me from the inside out, little by little, day by day. And it is such a burden lifter to toss it onto Him. I mean I figure if He expected me to do it all myself, He shouldn't have told me to cast my cares on Him. Right?

deac-in-training said...


Goat said...

Amen! (that's ah-men to you deac)

Craig and Bethany said...

Yes, completely!

I suppose this is the point where I finally stop watching myself over my own shoulder and turn to see God.

Pig Woman said...
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Pig Woman said...
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