Wednesday, August 3, 2011
(day forty-one) Everyday Justice
Instead of the usual blog today, I'm going to share an article with you that I just wrote for an online magazine. Social Justice is something that's very close to my heart. I'm realizing how much we have a part in global justice whether we are investing in freedom or slavery (unfortunately). When Christ frees us from slavery of sin, we naturally desire to see this freedom in others lives (spiritually and physically). God loves His kids all over this planet, and we should too... we are family after all.
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed, helpless, or guilty when you hear about all the injustice and pain in the world? It's not that we lack compassion, it's just that in most cases we have no idea where to start. Although you are just one person... together we can do so much, even by starting small.
“When I was a young christian I was told that our job was to get people to heaven. The world (like now) was a mess, so evacuating people seemed like a good idea. What if instead I had been told that our main job was to bring the kingdom of God to our planet? What if that meant doing very practical things like advocating for people who were poor, voiceless and powerless? “ Jim Henderson
I love the definition Julie Clawson gives in her book "Everyday Justice" of JUSTICE: the practical result of loving God and loving others. Truth is: We need simple, positive, concrete ways that cause our lifestyle to be one that represents Christ well and in turn will effect important issues like fair trade, modern-day slavery, fossil fuel dependence, ethical eating and buying, and debt.
It's not only about “saving” or “rescuing” the world (which are very admirable goals), but it's about being a good steward of what God's given us no matter where we are. When we take care of “His stuff” that He's given us the right to use, He begins to bless our lives AND heal the world... one step at a time, one person at a time. But we must first look inward to our hearts. How do we love each person we encounter well? Then how well are we stewarding our earth? Simply asking yourself these questions is jump starting your assistance in the freedom of the world.
Most of us may hesitate to make changes in our buying and using because it effects our pocket book. In my case I've learned two very important lessons in this. I've seen that it actually cuts ways down on my spending because I either don't shop at the “normal” stores, buy fair-trade online, or shop re-sale. Also, I believe God will honor these small steps we take towards stewarding His earth and taking care of the people in it, even if it costs a little more sometimes. The more we invest in people's freedom (spiritually and financially) the more blessed we become.
Here are some more tangible ways to live this out: Buy fair trade chocolate, coffee and other products. (great resource! http://www.equalexchange.coop/) Be more self-sustainable by composting, recycling, carpooling, gardening... demanding less from the world and promoting your local community.
Shouldn't the church (us) be the ones to get excited about building gardens for the community, recycling their trash, and such? For some reason we tend to think that these things are not related to the gospel. But our everyday choices really do echo around the world, not to mention show our local community how much we care.
“Jesus' life, death and resurrection inaugurated a new kingdom, and he taught his disciples to live according to the revolutionary values of this kingdom of God: to care for the needy, to treat one's enemies with love, to feed the hungry, to work for justice, and make more disciples. Jesus wanted this peaceful revolution, his kingdom of justice and love, to spread.” Julie Clawson
B90: (Psalms 34- 56:13)
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." Ps. 34:18
"For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints, they are preserved forever..." Ps. 37:28
"Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; ou do not give him up to the will of his enemies." Ps. 41: 1&2
"God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God." Ps. 53:2