I received an e-mail from one of my former UST law students, a woman with a deep commitment to social justice, sharing some wonderful and challenging resources.
The title and description of the second is a good reminder for all of us who claim to take our faith seriously: We are God’s plan for justice, and he doesn’t have a Plan B. We’re it.
With her permission, I share the contents of her e-mail with you.
(1) Re-Imagine the Law audio lecture with Q&A, Dr. Timothy Keller, Center for Faith & Work. He discusses:
- Our call to “cultivate the garden,” i.e., using raw materials skillfully to bring about human flourishing
- How obeying, applying, & producing the law leads to flourishing
- Discerning and repenting of our own idols
- Our need to understand the history of the secularization of the profession and the myth of “neutrality”
- Several other good books/articles that Christian attorneys should read
- His reflections on practical questions about living out our faith, such as in the realm of political activism
(2) “We are God’s plan for justice” audio lecture by Gary Haugen, International Justice Mission (IJM). He discusses:
- How believers are God’s instruments for bringing justice, and he does not have a Plan B
- The importance of obedience in giving our efforts and resources (small as they may seem) when faced with overwhelming tasks
- The importance of exposing ourselves to suffering and connecting with people in need
- Why a reasonably functioning public justice system is a great need in the developing world
(3) The Locust Effect (book) by Gary Haugen, IJM, and Victor Boutros, DOJ. They discuss:
- Why the world’s efforts to alleviate poverty are seriously undermined by our failure to address the global crisis of violence against the poor
- Four major categories of pervasive violence against the poor, with many specific examples
- How reasonably functioning justice systems were once highly unlikely everywhere, but now they exist for some people in the world–and how this should give us hope and a starting point toward strengthening the rule of law elsewhere
What I wonder though is what the term “justice” means. I’m family with Dr. Keller and while I agree with most of what he speaks about and that he does good work, he is also coming from a Reformed tradition which to me is severely anti-Christian – not to mention anti-Catholic. Also, all Christians use the term “justice” to suit their own agendas when it comes to social justice. A progressive Christian will see LGBT issues and the strive for equality as being “just” while traditional, conservative, orthodox Christians won’t. What then is justice? We think that it means that those who commit crimes or sins will get what they deserve. God will get them in the end and boy will they regret ever going against His word. Justice to some means the death penalty, while to other it means seeing through the veil of ignorance and exposing the inhumanity of the death penalty. Justice to some is free market economics which promotes division and inequality. Greed is not good to these people, but hey, they think, it comes with the territory. Dorothy Day for example was called a communist by those who later called her a saint. God forbid the Vatican has said that the ugly word “socialism” is used. Like their Protestant brothers and sisters the Vatican encourages free market capitalism (again, but they really shouldn’t be greedy. After all, we’re not socialists, they say). So, what is justice? Whose justice? The justice of the Israelites or the justice of the Babylonians? The justice of the Catholic Worker Movement or the justice of Opus Dei? What bothers me about the use of justice in the Bible is that it does change. God cries out to help the underprivileged and makes it pretty clear in the Old Testament that social and economic inequality is not His way, But, in the New Testament, well, if it aint’ Jesus’ Grace, it’s nothing. Then, what happens is in New Testament is that justice is all those who are deemed unfaithful will burn in Hell forever and God will punish them for eternity. This is justice? We think Hitler will be suffering for eternity for what he did. We want him to. We are so happy that finally Osama bib Laden is dead. Hurrah! Is that justice? Will those who inherit the kingdom be joyful at the suffering of the unfaithful? Is that part of our joy? If so, then I don’t want it. It seems to me that human beings project OUR sense of justice onto God. God, since you love us more, then you will make sure OUR enemies suffer. To me, if one soul is lost, just ONE, then God is a failure. After all, He created them and if He can’t save them, then what kind of a God is He?
Reblogged this on Kneading Bread.