Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Social Justice and Kingdom Focus...

I made a statement (among many) in my post yesterday that social justice is of little value unless it is seen in a Kingdom perspective. Let me explain a bit more.


Our lives and very existence can be viewed as running on two tracks. One is the temporal, flesh and blood, seen life that that we are now living. It is real. It is where we have joys immeasurable and heartbreaks just as immeasurable. We feel, love, think and move in a real world. But in the end, it is a temporal world. We are eternal beings living in temporary confines. 


The other track is the eternal, the core of who we are, who we are becoming, and who we will always be.  It is seen yet only dimly; as if through a fogged over glass. Everything we say, do or experience is moving towards that day when the temporary shell of this world and its constraints will culminate us being freed and born into a new and truly freed existence of who we really are. 


These two tracks are not in competition. These two tracks are not separate such as to create a dualistic nature or reality. They are parallel and we move along them experiencing one of two things along the way and one of two final destinations: existence in and with God or existence apart and without God. 


Therefore, we strive for and long for justice, God's justice, here in this world as a foreshadowing and promise of things to come. Make no mistake. We all will arrive at justice, Kingdom justice. Either a glorious eternal existence in God and becoming fully who we were created to be or an eternal separation given over to our own desires, corruption and choices. 


Somewhere in the middle is where we are all currently residing. It is the place of the fallen where we long for, strive for and even yearn for God and His Kingdom justice. But we also fully recognize that it can never fully be until He brings it about through His sovereignty and the culmination of this age. 


So, I hope you understand now that I can only view social justice in the light of the Kingdom. I see our efforts at feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, and taking care of the stranger pointing to what is to come. These actions bring God's values and a glimpse of His Kingdom into a fallen and corrupt world. It visually and physically demonstrates His love paving way for the proclamation of His truth that there is a better reality. It also works a process in our hearts and lives that conforms us who practice social action to become more like His Son, Jesus. And, moreover, it serves as a beacon to all that there is a God and a higher purpose in this life than today's existence. It doesn't minimize suffering or pain. It doesn't alleviate our responsibility to our neighbor in need. It does constantly hold before us that we must view all of life through an eternal, Kingdom-focused lens.


Whether we proclaim in word or in deed, it is all about God and His Kingdom and His righteousness.

3 comments:

  1. Ian Sterling - KBC DRMay 17, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    It really seems as if you are deeply re-evaluating the true nature of the work that you do .. and the purpose it does .. and does not serve in relation to the coming Kingdom. Social action certainly does visually and physically demonstrate that there is a better reality .. but absent the Kingdom context .. it loses it's deeper purpose and meaning .. if I understand your thinking correctly. I feel sure that I will meet you personally someday and look forward to exploring this topic further. Clearly it is weighing heavily on your soul .. and based on your line of work .. I am sure there are plenty of good reasons for this ..

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  2. Ian, I would be honored to meet you in person some day as well. As to my struggle, what really weighs heavy on my soul is not the social justice issue but rather the lack of it and the incomplete (my opinion) views of the church on the topic. Having lived and worked over 20 years in Kingdom development work in Asia, my eyes were opened to true holistic ministry that didn't seek a balance of proclamation and demonstration of the gospel but sought 100 percent of both. We, the church in the west, are still so dualistic in our outlook that we tend to choose one or the other or, at best, try to seek balance between the two. My message, and I wish it could be clearer, is that, like Christ, we should not only understand but live not as if it were either/or but both/and. Thanks for your keen insights and comments. Keep them coming. Jeff...

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  3. I am sure that you must have read this incredibly insightful piece of writing already .. but I use it as a reference to let you know that I am beginning to deeply understand your thoughts and feelings concerning the "social justice" issue in relation to the Gospel. I look forward to the coming day when I can explain to you how and why your blog launched the next phase of my life in Jesus Christ. Until then .. I continue to be spiritually enriched by your writing and your work.

    http://multiplyjustice.net/2012/05/08/gospel-about-gods-justice/

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