POST UPDATE 02/26/2011: I love that blogging challenges me to wrestle with difficult topics and gives me an opportunity to learn. After publishing this post, I was informed by a friend that Bono is indeed a Christian. I rejoiced at the news! Check out what Bono has to say about the gospel: http://goo.gl/JbSCR
I was too excited to reach my quarterly Leadership Journal Magazine from Christianity Today this summer. The cover stated “Evangelism and Justice” with a heading “Beyond Bono: Doing Justice God’s way is more than a fad.” I have only gotten through approximately five articles but this was there best magazine that I have read to date. Each article was thought provoking about a very important topic and critical issue of our time – Justice.
When Jesus announced his ministry, he stated, “The Spirit of the Lord (the same spirit that dwells within believers today) is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18-19).” The “good news of the gospel” is that Christ has come to reconcile God with his fallen creation. Justice means returning everything to its proper order or making everything whole. Justice and reconciliation are inseparable.
I read a book last semester that reminded readers that all humans (not just good Christians) are created in God’s image. Therefore, humans that have not yet expressed their faith in Jesus Christ still have the ability to reflect at least some of God’s goodness and grace. We see this all of the time when God blesses or gives a secular entertainer an enormous amount of talent or the passion to be a “Good Samaritan” or philanthropist in the world. The list of these “good secular city” people is long.
We must consider two things:
- God owns everything, and we as true believers have a right to anything that our Father (God) owns.
- How effective can we be at sharing the gospel, we don’t show up where God is already at work?
If the secular folks (as image bearers of God) are sharing their concern for the same things that concern the heart of God, we most certainly should join in and partner with them.
I’ve recently been exposed to a wonderful example of this through Shayne Moore, Christian author of the book entitled “Global Soccer Mom.” Check out Shayne’s post here. She is an advocate for the ONE organization sponsored by Bono (who endorsed her book). In his endorsement, Bono spoke highly of her. Would Bono be willing to at least listen if she shared the gospel with him? I believe it to be likely simply because she showed up to serve along side him in humility. She is not shy about being Christian. She carries the mark of the Holy Spirit within her and the words of Jesus are on her lips. Furthermore, having “connected” with him, she can better understand how to pray for him, the organization that they both support, and the people that they serve.
We must remember that justice is God’s business, not Satan’s. Justice in its purest form means functioning as God originally intended. We know what we have to look forward to in the new Heaven and new earth, but, we have the ability as Christians to work towards God’s original desire and purpose for his creation now (understanding that we will not experience the fullness of that truth until we see him face to face).
We are wise to be like the Apostle Paul who stated, “I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (1 Cor. 9:19-23).”
Should the church be concerned with justice? How might the church partner with other organizations to support justice efforts? What groups or organizations might we consider?
© Natasha L. Robinson 2011
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4 thoughts on “HOT TOPIC: Justice – Is It Sacred or Secular?”
One thing about blogging is: I have an opportunity to learn. I was just informed by one of my readers and friends that Bono IS indeed a Christian. I guess Christianity Today did not know that either. Lol! I rejoice over this news. I love learning new things from educated people. Thanks for reading and keeping me informed! Blessings, Natasha
I wanted to respond to this concerning “justice” as a secular or sacred topic. . .
To me, it seems there are those who perhaps warp “justice” to mean material equality. They are focused on simply that. Surely, sharing what we have materially been blessed with is something we are called to do as followers of Christ. The focus on “justice” as a material matter alone is what renders it secular, in my opinion.
Do we accept as Christians that God gives us each unique challenges in life that help us to grow and radiate glory back to Him? Not everyone will have the same materially, and I feel that demanding “material equality” through political means will obscure the work that is meant to glorify Him. Government will become a god. Throughout history we see examples of governments replacing God when people demand this sort of social justice. And it ends up demeaning humanity as it draws humanity into a dependence on government instead of God.
While I am a fan of U2 (Bono’s rock band) music, I am leary of Bono’s ideas as well as well-meaning friends who want “democracy” that they believe will redistribute wealth (“social justice”). . . The ideal would be that we as Christians do not allow government to supplant God, we do what He has clearly called us to do, and that we would throw off cultural ideals that ensnare all in a trap that prevent us from knowing freedom in Christ.
Emily, I agree that justice is not simply material equality and that the world’s view of justice has been “warped.” As Christians, however, we are called to serve the poor, widowed, orphaned, oppressed, sick, etc (anyone who is defenseless). I often wonder if the government is “overstepping” because the universal church has not stepped up enough. Thoughts?
Bono on Focus on the Family, breaking down the Word and his passion for Justice and caring for the Poor http://bit.ly/16wxLLj