Thursday, December 04, 2008

Justice, Human Rights and Kingdom Mission

I have just finished reading the book “On the Side of the Angels” by Dr. Joseph D’Souza and Benedict Rogers, a book that deals with Justice, Human Rights and Kingdom Mission.
They begin by emphasizing that the basic human right for everyone is the right to life. Without the right to life all others rights are non-existent.

There emphasis is a need not just for social action, giving money, but also standing against the evil in social structures. One of their emphases is that Jesus accepted everyone. That is he treated everyone the same: the sick, elderly, woman, and the disenfranchised.

They suggest that we join with other religions in trying to change evil social structures and even suggest that violence may be a last (though a very last) resort in some situations. They cite Dietrich Bonhoeffer as an example. Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor during WW2, who was eventually killed for his plans to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

There are 2 forms of advocacy: private and public, which include prayer, protest (letter writing and demonstration) and provision.

They conclude with the words of a song that says:

I will speak out for those who have no voices.
I will stand up for the rights of all the oppressed.
I will speak truth and justice.
I’ll defend the poor and the needy
I will lift up the weak in Jesus name.

I will speak out for those who have no choices.
I will cry out for those who live without love.
I will show God’s compassion to the crushed and broken in spirit.
I will lift up the weak in Jesus name.

This book was a good and easy read with a lot of contemporary examples of what others are doing along the line of social advocacy.

2 things came to me as I was reading

1.) I feel social action is limited because of our failure to see it. The adage, ‘out of sight out of mind’ plays a part in this. With all of our technology this should not be a problem. I try to encourage the missionaries that come our way to get a video camera and video the work they are doing and send the video to the churches. That will help them to get a feel for what the missionary is doing and also help in raising the funds for the work that is needed. Real moving pictures of hurting people from people we actually know may have a great impact upon our social action.

2) The devil does not want us to love everyone, and I feel he will use anything to cause us not to accept or love other people. With the crime that is affiliated with our neighborhood, it is easy to become cynical and even fearful of those we meet. Personally I do not want to know and encourage others not to tell me who the drug dealers and users are, who the sexual predators are (or have been), who the ones are that are causing trouble. That knowledge does no good other than to tempt us not to love or accept certain people.

To be like Jesus we must love those who are dirty, sick, retired, those who have no jobs and aren’t interested in finding a job, the teens that walk our streets, the druggies, the drunks and any other than may seem to be obnoxious to us. Anything less is most unlike Christ.

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