Social Justice

In what ways does a godly presence in a society lead to social justices?

Photo credit: Gustave Deghilage - Flickr

Reflection: Jesus' Demonstrations of God's Will

by Beth Snodderly

In the Gospel of John, two out of six signs the author selected for emphasis relate to the physical need for food and drink. God’s love is made evident through works that meet human needs (1 John 3:17, 18). International development in the sphere of production and eating of healthy food can be a sign of God’s Kingdom at work in this world.

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Rehoboam’s Syndrome: The Loss of Unity in Israel and Lessons for Fruitful Negotiations between the Government and Special Interest Groups

by Moussa Bongoyok, PhD

Our contemporary societies have beaten all the speed records of previous generations. However, these apparent achievements hide a weakness that deserves attention: the slowness to draw lessons from the past in order to prevent or solve social conflicts. Yet King Solomon, whose wisdom is legendary, seems to continue pointing his finger at a salutary path through this profound verse: "What has been, that is what will be, and what has been done is what will happen, there is nothing new under the Sun.” (Eccl. 1:9).

Let us examine together one case, drawn from among many others, on which the Bible speaks powerfully: the hesitation of Rehoboam, described in 1 Kings 12:1-24, which resulted in the division of the kingdom that he inherited from his father. It is full of lessons for our contemporary communities. We will approach this story from three angles: first, we will revisit the historical facts narrated by the Bible, then we will identify some principles, and finally, we will propose some avenues of application with particular emphasis on the negotiations between the government and corporatist groups.

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A Conversation with Ralph D. Winter about the Search for Meaning in a Secular Society

by Beth Snodderly

• Why do bad things happen to good people?
• Why has the human species been allowed full, unfettered measure of violence for so long?
• Why am I alive? Does my existence count for anything?

People are searching for meaning in their lives and answers to questions like these. Missionary-historian Ralph D. Winter highlighted this when he asked in an Editorial Comment,

How is a wretchedly poor, dispossessed family in Darfur similar to a comparatively wealthy, retired believer in the USA? In both cases they need a good reason to live. Their primary bond is not the need for food, or money, or security. The wealthy, retired person may think that with enough food and shelter he can get along. But retired people die prematurely if they do not have a reason to live (Winter 2007b).

Because the gospel is a message of hope, the poorest must see some concrete reason for hope before they can understand the gospel (Winter 2008, 338). Winter wanted mission and church practitioners to recognize that they need to lead the way in organizing specialized structures to restore God’s reputation in the eyes of the on-looking secular world. Believers must demonstrate to potential (and former) followers of Jesus that disease, suffering, wars, violence, and evil are not God’s will and are not from him.

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Reflection: Why Should Followers of Jesus Care about International Development? A Whiteboard Animation

A 60-second whiteboard animation illustrates these and other key principles:

• “Rescue the weak and the needy;
  deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:4).

• “Give the hungry something to eat; welcome the stranger; look after the sick” (Matthew 25:34-36).

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Popular Approaches to Anti-Racism Are Influenced by Secularism and Are Self-Defeating

by Jim Harries

While this analysis of anti-racism is based upon case studies from Black African communities, it also applies to the situation in the United States in 2017 when racist attitudes and actions are publicly resurfacing after having been somewhat subdued by anti-racist legislation and general culture.

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Reflection: Scripture as International Development in Isaiah 32 and 34: Societal Chaos

by Beth Snodderly

The need for international development exists because societies and their land are in chaos to one degree or another. In Isaiah 32 societal chaos is being overcome by the intervention of God’s Spirit. In this chapter we see a metaphorical image of the consequences for societies whose people practice ungodliness, who use wicked schemes to leave the hungry empty, and who destroy the poor with their lies: “The fortress will be abandoned, the noisy city deserted; citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever” (Isa. 32:14).

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Reflection: Societal Chaos: Comparisons to the Middle Ages

by Mark Mihalyov, WCIU MA Student

The Church in America is being distracted and deceived on the left and on the right. The result for us is severe social chaos. The “Christian” culture displaced peoples are now exposed to is in many ways reminiscent of that of the Middle Ages; more focused on forms and traditions than on power and passion for missionary service.

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