Tag Archives: Elie Wiesel

James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) James 5:7-20

privilege

These few highlights are from our concluding podcast message on the epistle of James. If you’ve followed these 8 or 9 teachings, you’ve already heard me say that James, the half-brother of Jesus, had a very specific theme in mind when he wrote, a class-less Christianity. In his last chapter, he pulled out all the stops and confronted those from a higher socioeconomic status who oppressed those with little to no status with impunity. Read at your own risk!


Here are a few select sound bytes of mine from the podcast

Jesus, the justice-maker is coming… The Leveler is coming and he will even things out…

The oppressor will be judged and the oppressed will be vindicated…

When the Lord returns, he’ll fix all inequities. You’ll get justice, if not now, certainly when he comes back. And he is “near.” Continue reading

Providence, Prayer, and Protest

protestI said in a previous post that “’Liberty and justice for some’” isn’t a world we can tolerate, especially when we’re not included in “the some.’”

So, what can we do about it? What do our biblically informed consciences tell us? They say a few things, that God is sovereign and worthy to be trusted, they remind us to intercede in prayer, and they tell us to interfere with injustice with our mouths, feet, and hands.

I’ve heard a lot of social media talk during this election cycle about the first two; God’s sovereignty and how prayer is our primary responsibility to influence elections and social policy. I’m quite interested in those truths, believe in them (in a manner of speaking), and have a few things to say about them if you’re willing to listen.

Providence…

First of all, yes, God is in control, but that’s a far cry from him being controlling. I hear people say that at the end of the day God will have his way! No doubt about it, but only insofar as they’re referring to the “end of days,” not necessarily at the end of each day.

Yes, God will get his way in the very end of time, but to claim that he always gets his way in the meantime is to insinuate that it was his way for Hitler to murder six million Jews, for 800 million people in the world today to be starving, for nearly half a million people to die in the Syrian conflict so far, for radical Islamists to bomb, behead, and traffic millions of innocents, for millions of babies to be born with horrific maladies! None of that has anything to do with God’s way or will.

It’s an absurd claim that God will work it all out, at least by the end of this 24-hour cycle or even by the end of our lifetime. Sometimes, even oftentimes, he does. Thank you, Jesus! But it’s only in the hereafter where our tears and sorrows completely disappear and God’s will is done with perfection.

Prayer…

Pray, they say, and God will give us the President we should have. Yes, pray––pray a lot and pray with faith! But to expect him to finagle the Electoral College because he loves America so much or because enough people prayed is just being naïve. It’s simply not how he routinely manages his omnipotence.

I would concede that prayer is our first responsibility to hinder the work of hell and to cooperate with the release of heaven (Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…). It is not our last resort in hell hindering, but it is the first.

I wonder if prayer comes first so we can give the Creator a chance to inject his perspective of world events and at the same time identify our worldly attitudes about those events. In other words, when we pray for the world we don’t come with our agendas, infused with our politics and preferences. We come asking him to ask us to ask him for what he wants! We begin with saying, How should we pray for this mess, Lord? Give us your perspective on your tangled up world. “For we don’t know how to pray as we should…” (Romans 8)

I wonder how we’re doing in the “Thy will be done” department. Do we want what he wants or do we want what we think we need? Do we pray, not so much with a blank slate, but with a Scripture-filled slate, trusting him to do what we can’t do about the mess we find ourselves in?

And then I wonder if we’re engaging with the powers that influence the atrocities, greed, and inhumanity to man or are we too busy interceding for Aunt Sophie’s foot surgery and Uncle Orville’s toothache? Just wondering.

The best prayers are those that begin in the heart of God. He shows us how to pray about a certain matter, we do so, and when he answers we praise him! Prayer then is a partnership, a collaborative conquest over hell and for the release of heaven. So, yes, let’s pray.

Lastly, prayer is where we begin, but not where we end––not by a long shot!

Protest…

God is in control! Amen! So, we must pray for him to intervene. Amen and amen! But then what? He does often intervene, but in addition to prayer we have the responsibility to interfere with the black hole of inhumanity to man. Someone said, “If I pray for God to move a mountain, I must be prepared to wake up next to a shovel!”

Those who know me are aware that I’ve never been nearly so vocal about politics and politicians as I have been for the last year. I admit that a certain candidate, who will remain anonymous, if not infamous, suckered me into this. I simply couldn’t, in good conscience, stay out the fray, especially since so many of my brothers and sisters have ridden the T. Train through the campaign season.

Okay, so whether or not you agree with my assessment of this particular individual’s suitability for public service, please hear me out about our responsibility to do more than pray and sit back and wait for God to do his sovereign thing. Prayer doesn’t let us off the hook. It usually sets the hook (God’s hook) firmly in our mouths.

I’m glad that Lincoln and Wilberforce did more than pray about the abolition of slavery. I’m glad that Martin Luther King did more than pray about civil rights for Black Americans. I’m glad that Billy Graham did more than pray for people to come to Jesus!

We have to do more than pray that God will intervene. Empowered by the truth and by his presence we have to interfere with the world’s destructive direction. We who possess heavenly “firepower” must interfere––at the polls, with our pens (well, computing devices), and with our petitions. In addition to our prayer petitions sent to the Lawgiver we must utilize our right to petition our lawmakers, if not through letters and peaceful protest, at the very least, through the vote.

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.” Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel

PS If you haven’t already, please consider getting my book, The Other End of the Dark. The profits go to Freedom House, a safe haven and therapeutic environment for women and girls who have survived commercial sexual exploitation. Supporting their work is one simple way to protest against the horrific injustice of human trafficking.

A Comic, a Candidate, and a Few Bad Cops

What Do They Have in Common?

oppression“Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.” Wendell Berry

The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. Proverbs 29:7

I offer these brief thoughts as sort of an addendum to my previous posts called,What Should We Do?” wherein I talked about the kingdom way of using wealth, leverage, and power. Here I’d like to use the actions of a comic, a candidate, and a few bad cops who have used these for bad instead of good.

The comedian to whom I refer is Bill Cosby, the cops are those who shoot first and ask questions later, and you might guess the identity of the candidate. I’m aware that Cosby hasn’t been conclusively proven guilty of numerous aggravated sexual assaults in a court of law. I know that many of the cases in which cops have been implicated of police brutality and murder are still pending. Let’s assume for argument’s sake that there is some truth to the accusations of guilt in at least some of these cases. Continue reading