The following are notes directly from the context of this book with a mingling of my opinions and thoughts while I processed what I read. It is my interpretation. You may get something totally different out of this book.
INTRODUCTION: LOVE AND JUSTICE
- Being incarcerated does not rob a person of the right to dignity and respect.
- Police officers that are bullies (not to be confused with police officers with a servant’s heart) make a mockery of humans and justice.
- When we see injustice we often look away because we don’t want to see people hurt. We should be trying to serve the people being hurt with whatever we have. Even a smile can encourage someone being persecuted.
- Decisions we made in the past should not steal today; this is true for people paying for their crimes too.
- By treating every person well, even people who are behaving in ways that is causing discomfort to others, we are showing them that they are treasured and loved by God and they are beautiful.
The motivation behind prisoner’s rights, prison reform, immigration reform, stopping human trafficking, ending extreme poverty and homelessness, civil rights, drug/alcohol/compulsive behavior cessation, or any other desperate issue is to help lift people up and make them aware of their value and worthy of love, peace and justice.
Shalom means peace with justice. It is not just referring to your inner, personal peace but the peace and health of our community. Flourishing cities seek shalom.
Social justice is not singular or political issue, it is about the least or the last — those who can’t obtain it on their own. This is how we should show our love for Christ, if we are believer.
We are meant to be a blessing in the world. Do not remain separated and segregated.
Jerusalem means “city of peace and justice.”
People of peace with justice hear their neighbors and respond by walking with those who are protesting, speaking to each other words of truth, peace and justice — not just by reading their bibles or praying about the whole situation. When we fail to hear our neighbors we have a problem.
In authentic spirituality there is no separation between spirituality and justice
- Laws cannot truly create this separation unless we let them. We don’t have to allow the separation inside of ourselves
- Looking to God for our power will honor Him, ourselves and our neighbor.
Authentic Spirituality as spoken of in the bible:
- Solomon: Speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice. (Proverbs 31:9)
- Isaiah: Break the chains of injustice…set the oppressed free. (Isaiah 58:6)
- Micah: Do justice, love mercy. (Micah 6:8)
- Amos: Let justice roll like a river. (Amos 5:24)
- Jesus Christ: He has sent me to proclaim freedom for prisoners…set the oppressed free. (Luke 4:18)
We need to convert our thoughts away from:
- spiteful attitudes toward immigrants
- resentment toward the poor
- the hatred of racism
- the fear of all other people groups
CHAPTER 1: WHY SOCIAL JUSTICE MATTERS
People seem to be comfortable with “justice” but be very uncomfortable with “social justice.”
- We might have to do something tangible with our spirituality
- We might have to defend a population we have been conditioned to be biased against
- Has a political party or media channel told us this is an evil thing?
- It is greed because we don’t want to share what we have with the poor or immigrant
God is disturbed by injustice.
He wants it stopped.
We are His plan for making things the way they’re supposed to be.
Three foundational principles of social justice:
- the image of God
- the common good
- the good new of Jesus
ALL people, not only believers, are made in the image of God and are equally worthy of dignity and respect regardless of race, gender, wealth, ethnicity, immigration status, background, or ANY other factor.
Social justice is reclaiming God’s original intent for humankind: to make the world a place where basic needs are met, people thrive, and there is shalom — peace with justice.
We should want to help the disadvantaged and marginalized to flourish. We must understand the root causes of:
The best form of spirituality is to care for our neighbor.
By not acting we are minimizing the good news as presented by Jesus. Quiet and personal learning is good but caring for others is the best way to know God.
Jesus never healed a person in order to manipulate the person to follow Him; He just met a need.
If we do not embrace the immigrant, or the homeless, or poor, or people of other races and backgrounds than ourself we are only accepting 1/2 of the gospel of Christ.
- The 1st church shared all they had with each other and the poor.
- In the 3rd century, homes of Christians and monasteries became safe havens for infants left to die by parents because they couldn’t afford them, didn’t want a daughter, they had a deformity, or generally didn’t want them.
- Christians and churches were the primary facilitators of the Underground Railroad to help end slavery.
- Methodists helped lead against many social issues, including prison reform and abolishing slavery.
It wasn’t until the 1920’s when “liberals” were building hospitals and schools when some believers chose a “personal” gospel instead of a “Jesus” kind of gospel.
Jesus said to follow Him—His example.
What good are we doing if we plant churches and give sermons on Sunday if we don’t do anything about the homeless or persecuted groups around us every day?
When Jesus said, “The poor will always be among us,” He was not saying, “Ignore them because their is no hope,” He was talking to Judas about a specific issue: He would not be standing next to him for consultation forever…
“For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.”
Books of interest:
- “Silence” by Shūsake Endō
- “Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning
- “The Wounded Healer” by Henri Nouwen
When people riot it is either because they enjoy any form of violence or because they feel attacked and out of options because no one has heard their cries. We can’t know who is who and we must stop and listen and work toward a solution for the good of those who are crying for help.
When I read the website for Black Lives Matter, I felt disqualified because they weren’t speaking to my white skin and they didn’t sound like my mixed wife. I let my offense stop me from understanding why it seemed they are spreading another kind of racism and causing pain with their road blocks. I am beginning to feel like I felt the same way they have felt from other people. The fact that they don’t know me or how I believe is irrelevant. All Lives Matter is true but for the black women who created this organization, they need justice in a different way than, “separate but equal.”
Jesus embraced immigrants, poor and marginalized people.
The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor, but the rich has many friends. He who despises his neighbor sins; But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.
Feel free to leave your comments below!
My name is Summer. That is how you can call me. I hope that I am a blessing to you. I am not perfect. I will fall again. But I am forgiven.
Do you know Jesus? Do want the Holy Spirit to fill you and give you understanding and salvation? Ask Him. Want someone to pray with you? Contact me.
If you would like to know Jesus as your friend, but want to make this amazing commitment by yourself please pray something like this:
Thank you Jesus that You are the Son of God, the God that created heaven and earth. Thank you Jesus that You came to earth in the form of a man so that You would be able to empathize with my humanity. Thank You that You did this in order to fulfill the promises You made at the foundation of the world.
I realize that I am a sinner and do things that hurt myself and keep myself away from you. Thank You that You died for my sins so that You could defeat death and bring me into Your life. Please forgive me.
I ask You to be Lord of my life. I ask you to heal my hurts and show me what my new life, empowered by You looks like. Thank You for Your mercy.
The Lord is with you always.