Tuesday, October 13, 2009

normal justice

The authors of Justice in the Burbs advise that when you start getting involved with justice issues you can "kiss normal good-bye." What is normal anyway? Is it normal for 1 in 4 college aged women to experience an attempted or a completed rape? Is it normal for half the current homeless population to be made up of families with children? Is it normal for 1 in 5 people to be without health insurance? Is it normal for 1 in 10 people to go to bed hungry in the US. Unfortunately, these things are normal today - that's why they are justice issues. Changing these "norms" means altering the status quo and that's where doing justice meets passive, often active and sometimes angry resistance. With change, someone is going to have to give something up and even if it is for the greater good, that's not a normal human reaction.

Is it normal for Christians to feel passionately about issues of justice and speak out?
The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority. - Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963
I'm afraid Christianity in America has lost its passion. It’s become mainstream, selfish, narcissistic, bland, couch-potato, feel good fluff. Core values include promoting creationism, pro-life, heterosexuality and "saving souls." These are good things to promote and I respect those who strongly believe in them…but I don't fit in there. I don't see these as pressing issues in my faith. I need a gut-retching, enduring, bold challenge to seek justice, love, peace, understanding, and tolerance. I need a community where I can be held accountable, not only for my daily actions and prayer life, but for the greater ills of society. The pain and hurts I've caused by compliance, compliance with a world that is inherently broken with systemic injustice. I need something real and tangible. I've just spent three years of my life in a corrupt country with few resources to bring about lasting healing; I need to know it wasn't in vain. I need to know there's still a community willing to take me in and care for me as I rediscover this strange reality of America. - Carol in Philadelphia, 2009
I wish it were normal. I thank God for these voices of justice in my life urging me outward and onward, beyond normal!

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