I have been reading a book lately called "Practical Justice" by Kevin Blue. I picked up the book because I am not sure what it means as a follower of Jesus Christ to "do justice". I alluded to this in my last entry. Are there categories of justice that we should and should not pursue? Isn't justice a code word for political activism? Isn't political neutrality the real call of the minister? Isn't the separation of church and state essentially biblical (or at least wise)?
Here are a couple of my assumptions: The scriptures are true and reliable. They form a more solid foundation for all of my activity in life than the political leanings of anyone or any system. I neither want to be a simpleton when it comes to reading scripture nor do I want to use my theological or political reflexes (or systems) to undermine what scripture says.
So all that to say that while I don't think we should be afraid to look the scripture and see a call to justice activties (if they are there). Does the bible have much to God's people that call us to justice? Inescapably, yes. Ok, so what does that mean?
My feeling is that we should take our Jesus straight. Don't water him down.
So when Kevin Blue reminded me about Luke 6:30 I was (and still am) pretty unsettled.
Luke 6:30 -- Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
Every one of the 5 or 6 beggers I meet each day? The guys who just broke into my house and stole the keys to my car, house and my kids XBox 360? You've got to be kidding Jesus!
That's crazy. But "read the context" my bible education background responds. That only makes it worse. The context starts in verse 27: "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. (vs. 27-29)
So "taking Jesus straight" on the whole justice issue starts with my willingness to set conventional wisdom aside and obey. So I'm broke this week -- and trying not to get caught with only a $20 in my pocket!
More to follow on categories for thinking about Justice. If I can't swallow this lesson I can't move to the next.