We were each given seven minutes to give a perspective (no problem!), and thus this is only a sketch of some ideas. There was then some Q&A. I was asked to bring a perspective from a) a Christian and, b) the context of TEAR Australia’s work with the global poor. As a rich, white, educated, Western male I did my best to speak on behalf of the bottom 3-or-so-billion…
Law is a mere tool, a political construction, used by humans to achieve a certain social ends. Like any tool, it is subject to the use and abuse of the one wielding it.
Much of the time law can be understood positively – law created by those elected representatives for the good of most, of not all, people. So long as law serves in this capacity it demands our respect. Such laws help society to construct more just, albeit impersonal, structures.
However law does not always work this way. Read the rest of this entry
Depending on your interpretation of different sections of the Bible you might say the different authors push for:
- Submission (the conclusion many people come to when reading Romans 13, for example, or perhaps Ezra-Nehemiah)
- Prophetic critique and nonviolent resistance (as found in much of the prophetic literature or Revelation)
- A middle option
- A blend
But what are we meant to do in our contemporary world as Christians? Should we simply do what we understand early Christians to have done in relation to ruling powers?
That is to say, how do we anticipate God’s transformative kingdom on earth, now, in the midst of a world of ruling powers that very often act contrary to God’s purposes? Read the rest of this entry
It can be used, from one point of view or another, to describe almost any conclusion regarding moral rightness. How the scales of justice are balanced often depends on the weights placed upon them, and this is in most ways a subjective affair. These weights may come in the form of such concepts as fairness, retribution, restoration and redistribution, or more cynically in realities such as greed and self-interest.
I cannot hope to outline a comprehensive or even convincing treatise of justice in this post, though sharing a few thoughts may be in order.
From a Christian perspective justice finds its definitive bearing in God. How to understand God is, however, not an easy task given both his transcendence and our interpretative horizons and limits.
Which commands of God are just? All of them? If so is a directive to genocide, such as those in the Old Testament, to be considered just? Does our ability as humans to obey such commands affect what is commanded of us by God? Read the rest of this entry
For years I have been involved in playing music to help lead Christians in worship.
Music leader, song leader, worship leader; call it whatever you want. Without wanting to sound in any way conceited (I assure you, about this I am not), I earned a fair amount of praise and encouragement from people who claimed my leading helped them in some way.
In my late teenage years (I have now just turned 26) so-called “worship” and music was central to my faith journey. My identity was largely derived from my music leading, and there was a lot of pressure to conform to the image of other well-known worship leaders. I truly believed that my calling, that my purpose, was to be found in leading people in worship by way of music.
I sang a lot of songs. A lot of words. But eventually something dawned on me – all that music, all that so-called “worship,” wasn’t necessarily changing me or anyone else I was leading. Read the rest of this entry
Micah Challenge is a global movement of Christian agencies, churches, groups and individuals which aim to deepen people’s engagement with the poor and to help reduce poverty as an integral part of our Christian faith.
The following is a post I wrote for The Greenhouse Effect, a church-planting blog run by Churches of Christ in NSW. It’s fairly general compared to my regular posts, but hopefully you get something meaningful out of it.
Many church planters begin with a desire to ‘grow’ a church. Such church’s community engagement becomes necessarily characterised by a need to convince people to attend a program. Not only do people in a community tend to see through such shallow motives and relationships, but also this is not how God calls the Church to engage culture. Keep Reading
Tomorrow I am heading to Canberra to take part in Voices For Justice, the Micah Challenge national gathering. They’ve asked that I blog about it as the days roll on, so over the next four days I’ll be posting some reflections about what I’ve experienced.
It should be a challenging time, not just for myself, but also for our politicians, many of whom members of Voices For Justice will be meeting with to discuss the Millennium Development Goals and Australia’s commitment to aid and development.
Make sure you check back here over the next few days to see what we are all up to! Also please pray for us (if that’s your thing) that we would be able to make a difference in the way our politicians see the millions of people all over the world who need their support.