Rethinking Christian Social Justice
Seek Social Justice: Rethinking Christian Social Justice
This was created is a partnership between Heritage Foundation and Trevecca, and the former naturally gives it a slight ideological/political bent (although its good to know that even Heritage isn’t backing up uber right winger Glen Beck–at best reframing a perspective on social justice).
You can see bonus materials at the Hertiage site for Seek Social Justice. Also, the video is broken into chapters for easier viewing. It seems they’ve also billed this as poverty or social justice curriculum (available for download here with registration). Its also worth checking out the Christian organization Hope International’s poverty curriculum as well.
Here are some of the featured people and organizations:
Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education (Star Parker
World Magazine (Dr. Marvin Olasky)
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Dr. Albert Mohler)
Center for Neighborhood Enterprise (Robert L. Woodson)
Money, Greed, and God (author Jay Richards)
Harambee Christian Family Center (Rudy Carassco)
Prison Fellowship and Breakpoint (Chuck Colson)
Acton Institute (Dr. Anthony Bradley, research fellow)
International Justice Mission (Sean Litton)
Center for Social Justice at Trevecca Nazarene University (Dr. Amy Sheman)
Center for Social Justice at Trevecca Nazarene University (Dr. Dan Boone)
Sun Farm (volunteer, Jason Adkins)
unnamed JP Napier Homes program (volunteer)
Here are some ideas about social justice the video attempts to convey:
The underlying poverty/justice is spiritual…its not economic, which means long term solutions require spiritual solutions.
Chuck Colson “From a biblical perspective..Justice is shalom.” A right relationship between human beings. “We’re human..we need people to love us.” Its all about human flourishing. Its the sum of millions of acts of relational justice.”
Working with vs. working for. “Getting to the root–you have value and you have worth”
A notion of theology of place. Social justice looks like the Kingdom of God arriving in someones lives.
“This is something you can do in your backyard.” And outlines responsibilities at all levels.
My Takeaways from Rethinking Social Justice:
It seems this video to focus on:
1) defining social justice (more spiritually and more relationally)
2) a dismissal of government solutions (what it decries as “social engineering”)
Unfortunately this attempt to re-frame social justice does however ignore those community and social justice problems where:
1) government funds nonprofits or business to solve social problems or where
2) the scale, resources, and distribution give government a comparative competitive advantage. For instance, in the areas of transportation and education–we currently need government to leverage its funds, resources, and scale to provide a “rising tide which aids all ships.”
3) Additionally, social services like mental health services **can** be one small way in which we can show love to those who are economically distraught and depressed.
4) Additionally, all of the above are ways to combat crime which ultimately helps the community and the family along with rights and business.
On a side note, its interesting how they use leftist criticisms of “development” (which started in Anthropology, philosophy, and sociology) to take a stand against government solutions. Overall, an interesting and inspiring video–I think it adds clarity to this ongoing conversation.
Feel free to check out my other posts on Christian social justice for instance the biblical support for social justice. Thoughts about this as a perspective on Biblical social justice?