Social Issues In Social Justice

1980 Words8 Pages
Not all threats to the Church are as obvious and direct as those aimed at the creeds. Some assaults even appear benign, borrowing their roots from Christian tradition. One of those comes in the form of the Church’s social justice movement. Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote, “There are certain phrases which only serve as an excuse for not thinking.” A few years back, as I was listening to a sermon, the Supreme Court Justice’s words came back to me. The minister was telling the congregation how it should feel about a host of social issues from open immigration to universal health care. It was worth hearing, especially for an upper middle class audience, but in closing he told us why we should get on board with his programs, “Because God is…show more content…
The trend is not just within the Church but can also be found in many divinity schools, where a curriculum of theology has given way to sociology. Questions of social justice have always been at the forefront of the Church’s mission, and when they haven’t, the Church has failed itself. Social justice runs throughout the Old Testament, spoken by prophets to an often wayward Israel who worshipped in the Temple but neglected the widow and orphan. The Jesus we encounter in the New Testament has a special empathy for the poor and downtrodden. The question then for the Church is not whether it should be promoting social justice, but rather one of priority and emphasis. Looking beyond the nice sounding catchphrases, first we need to ask several questions of the social justice movement: When does the call for social justice become a disguise for politics? If social justice becomes our priority, will the Church lose its identity as the Body of Christ? Finally, isn’t justice often in the eye of the…show more content…
One of the central themes in his Gospel is the kingdom of God. John the Baptist’s first words are “Repent for the kingdom of God is near,” and later when Jesus begins his public ministry, he utters the same words, “Repent for the kingdom of God is near.” Matthew knows his readers have some questions. What does this kingdom look like? How do I become a part of it? Much of the Sermon on the Mount is an exposition of these questions, as Jesus presents an upside down kingdom counterintuitive to the world’s ways. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom. The meek shall inherit the earth. If a solider impresses you into service for one mile, you go two.” He says we should “not resist and evildoer.” Here we notice something about the kingdom and about following Christ. No one here is crying out for their rights. No one slapped in the face asks for recourse. No one, whose shirt is taken, cries out for reparations. It tells us that something far greater than our notions of social justice is at work in this
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