Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Justice or Socialist?

Justice is close to God's heart. Reading through the scriptures makes that very clear.

"And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God" - Micah 6:8

"For the word of the Lord is right and true;
He is faithful in all He does
The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of His unfailing love." -Psalm 33:4-5

I recently read this interesting article about how to view biblical justice with some of the raging debates of today (tax plans and health care). Is the direction we are headed more towards a biblically just system or socialism? I love the line stating that, "If the issue of how our wealth is linked to others' poverty makes us defensive, we will find it hard to do Christian community development."

It's really not hard to figure out why people get so upset and angry when terms like 'universal' or 'redistribution' come into play. Anything that challenges the existing power structure will be met with fierce resistance. But like Dr. Soong-Chan Rah asks, "when did we equate capitalism with Christianity?".

Here is the article: Justice or Socialist? -

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Good News for All

I've been reflecting a lot lately about how the Gospel is good news for all. Not just the few who choose to believe and walk with Jesus, but the Gospel was intended to be good news for ALL. Because the true Gospel is not just good news for the individual. Jesus cannot be labeled just in terms of a personal savior anymore.

Read through Jesus' most extensive teachings on the kingdom of God (the sermon on the mount) and you'll see the following trend. Jesus starts each lesson by saying "You have heard that it was said..". Then he gives his listeners/followers a new way/interpretation by then saying "But I tell you..".


"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment." -Matthew 5:21-22

"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." -Matthew 5:27-28

"You have heart that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." -Matthew 5:43-44

I think the most interesting observation that I've read in the last month or so, was how Jesus never went back and tried to 'convert' anybody. There are no accounts of Jesus running back to the rich young ruler trying to persuade his that he 'didn't really mean what he said about selling everything he had and giving to the poor'. There just isn't...

And that's ok, because you have to look at the bigger picture. Some people will believe and become practitioners of this new way of life and some won't. But here is the kicker:

"Even if only a few would practice this new way, many would benefit. Oppressed people would be free. Poor people would be liberated from poverty. Minorities would be treated with respect. Sinners would be loved, not resented. Industrialists would realize that God cares for sparrows and wildflowers - so their industries should respect, not rape, the environment. The homeless would be invited in for a hot meal. The kingdom of God would come - not everywhere at once, not suddenly, but gradually, like a seed growing in a field, like yeast spreading in a lump of bread dough, like light spreading across the sky at dawn." -Brian McLaren

Christian is a great noun and a poor adjective.