Multiply Justice

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

‘Perfect love’ overcomes LGBT protest

Marty Duren writes at Kingdom in the Midst:

Recently the FIRE Church in Concord, NC, was to be the object of a protest by a local LGBT group. The protest, however, was abandoned when members of the LGBT community experienced “perfect love” from the church.

Read Marty’s post by clicking here.

Enabling the oppressed to become the oppressors

Chris Horst writes at Christians for a Sustainable Economy:

“Moonshine or the Kids?” Nicholas Kristof, writer for the New York Times, stimulated much uneasiness with this question in his recent column on global poverty. He said:

There’s an ugly secret of global poverty, one rarely acknowledged by aid groups or U.N. reports. It’s a blunt truth that is politically incorrect, heartbreaking, frustrating and ubiquitous: It’s that if the poorest families spent as much money educating their children as they do on wine, cigarettes and prostitutes, their children’s prospects would be transformed. Much suffering is caused not only by low incomes, but also by shortsighted private spending decisions by heads of households.

Kristof went on to cite some clear data to highlight this disturbing “ugly secret.” At the same time I read this article, I heard a radio report about the rising prices of vodka in Russia. In the report, they interviewed an unemployed man who was frustrated by the rising prices. He said, “I just so desperately need to find a job so I can afford to buy more vodka.” The comment stuck with me. We work in Russia and I wondered if this man had ever attempted to start a business through HOPE to “grow his family’s income.”

… I’m more convinced than ever that helping people materially is not enough. Helping is enabling. My friend, Dr. Rob Gailey, articulated it more clearly. He said that “economic development is about increasing people’s choices.” If we help an alcoholic poor person—and there is no heart change—we will simply enable him to buy higher qualities and quantities of alcohol. Without heart change, as the BBC reported, helping families in India might actually be enabling them to perform sex-selection abortions, a problem which “prosperity is actually aggravating.”

In a sense, we could be enabling the oppressed to become the oppressors if we do not speak to more than business decisions. True change happens when we promote biblical values, boldly communicating the truth of the Gospel. Income growth is important, but it is only when hearts and minds are transformed that we will we see true change happen.

Chris also offers a compelling video about Mama Flores, a salon owner in Congo who has trained and employed over 15 orphans through her business success. To watch that video, click here.

Tim Keller: What is biblical justice?

Tim Keller writes for Relevant magazine:

When I was professor at a theological seminary in the mid-eighties, one of my students was a young man named Mark Gornik. One day we were standing at the copier and he told me that he was about to move into Sandtown, one of the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods in Baltimore. I remember being quite surprised. When I asked him why, he said simply, “To do justice.”

It had been decades since any white people had moved into Sandtown. For the first couple of years there, it was touch and go. Mark told a reporter, “The police thought I was a drug dealer, and the drug dealers thought I was a police officer. So, for a while there, I didn’t know who was going to shoot me first.” Yet over the years Mark, along with leaders in the community, established a church and a comprehensive set of ministries that have slowly transformed the neighborhood.

Although Mark was living a comfortable, safe lives, he became concerned about the most vulnerable, poor and marginalized members of our society, and made long-term personal sacrifices in order to serve their interests, needs and cause.

That is, according to the Bible, what it means to “do justice.”

Mr. Keller makes four excellent points: Justice is Care for the Vulnerable, Justice Reflects the Character of God, Justice is Right Relationships, and Justice includes Generosity.

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