two for two: deep justice
i’m on a roll here in san diego! i’ve been to two seminars and both have been great.
this afternoon i went to hear chap clark from fuller seminary talk about “deep justice in a broken world”. it will be a book soon, but today he was talking about some of the concepts that will hopefully motivate youth ministries to help right the wrongs of our world. this is some of the stuff i’ve been chewing on quite a bit.
here are a few great thoughts he had that made me think…
…our justice work [service projects, mission trips, etc] are not really impacting the real hurts or the deep needs in a long lasting way. we aren’t dealing with causes just putting on band aids and probably hurting people in the process.
…we in our churches have resources and want to help, but usually there is a hook to that helping that relates to wanting to feel good about ourselves and what we are doing. are we teaching our students that God wants us to care, but at the same time teaching them inadvertently that our hook of looking and feeling good is really important too?
…justice asks important and deeper questions like…
- how did these wrongs that we see come to exist in the first place?
- how can we help the poor and marginalized fix their own problems?
- what does God want us to do that will make a difference beyond today?
- are we putting ourselves ever in the place to learn and grow from other cultures?
- what is the difference between justice and service? justice is rights wrongs.
- are we gentle and respectful as we serve and seek justice instead of “defending” the gospel with anger and rage?
…justice is a major theme of scripture and yet we never talk about it. 1 peter 3:15
…the king is on the move and doesn’t need us to fight, but to love?
i’m really looking forward to seeing the book flesh this out more. as chap said it’s what Christ called his followers to do and is the important work of bringing out and living out the kingdom of God. one great quote chap used was something to the effect of, “if i ask how we can feed hungry people, they call me a humanitarian. if i ask why they people don’t have any food they call me a communist.” the idea being that once we dig deeper and look to the real problems and causes, then people will become scared of real systemic change and making their comfortable lives uncomfortable. chap said and i agree, let them say that about me someday, because then i would know i was doing the right things and making people uncomfortable for the right reasons.
so how will this play out in our ministry? i’m not sure but chap suggested checking out his group at center for family and youth ministry because they want to start networking people who are trying this shift of praxis or practice, in their groups. also, working with miriam and her students from the inner city with my suburban students might open some doors and lead to new thinking and living. sweet! but it’s going to be a very long road with some big bumps along the way. Lord Jesus help us takes these steps because i know i’m going to be uncomfortable, i know i’m going to squirm. but it’s also trying to be like the way Jesus lived and left his disciples to act. building the kingdom of God by doing right, freeing the oppressed and getting dirty doing it. it all must change!