Monday, November 19, 2007

What is justice without love?

Glad to see such controversy, Zac and Chris. Thanks for the respectful dialogue.

Onto other matters:

Jeremy John and I have very different stories and backgrounds. Interestingly, we have come to similar conclusions about some significant issues. Check out his thoughts below:

So I seek to change the world by loving others. I seek to change structures and hearts, focusing on the latter. I don’t believe structural change will matter unless it is undertaken with pure and loving hearts. The political arena is a battleground for good and evil . . . The real battlefield is the human heart, where the struggle to love and forgive others takes place. Jesus didn’t end the oppression of structures by setting up a Jewish state. Instead, he lived and died for love and truth. He won the greatest victory over oppression by simply ignoring its power to rule over him, even its power to take his life.
I still get outraged at injustice, but I try to avoid letting indignation turn into hatred towards systems or the people in them. Such hatred is as destructive as the system that it seeks to destroy.

Where I was once cold and angry, focused on structures, I am now warmer and focused on people. I read and write less about politics, but I am more involved in groups working for change. I used to be very critical of political groups, and was therefore somewhat of a loner. Now, I forgive the faults as best I can and I just show up. I care less about facts or about proving the current government has lied or manipulated than I do about working with people, for people. My belief in the need for social justice has not changed, but now I come from a place of love rather than a place of justice. And what is justice without love?

- “Salvation in Ill-Fitting Blue Pants” Jeremy John. Geez, Winter 2006.


Zac said...

That's an awesome quote. I think it rightly captures the tension between the desire to change things through the method of the critique of "parties" or "activism of new parties" versus changing things through simply loving people.

It strikes me as powerful as this quote that you have provided us with shows how they are not mutually exlusive, but that instead one is primary over the other; that is love. And what is love?:

1 John 3:16-18

We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us-- and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.

It seems to me that "truth and action" are important word here. Truth and action must work together in harmony; gospel preaching and social justice must be part of the same participation in what God is doing; restoration of our hearts must be something that happens through knowledge of the truth and through the action that the truth calls us to. Great thoughts.


~ L ~ said...

This is great, thanks for sharing Bre. I've shyed away from social action because of wanting to avoid politics, but what does it matter whose agenda I'm helping if I'm able to help people first and foremost.