A current thread in several of my friends' posts center around Glenn Beck, Fox News commentator. I, personally, didn't even know who he was until today. Apparently, he said some things regarding "social justice" (it's an explosive phrase, I'm aware) and the church. One of the quotes I've come across in several places (not having heard him say it, I'm taking this quote as truth since I haven't come across anything that denies it) is this:
“I’m begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words ’social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”Many people have already responded to this quite well (including Eugene Cho and Bread for the World). I mainly heard about it through my friends who are more into "social justice" issues in the first place. So I posted a comment on my wall asking for those who may have seen Mr. Beck say these things to respond. Needless to say, the dialogue that followed between my more conservative friends and my more liberal friends was passionate.
The thing is, they all pretty much agree. They all agree that the Bible calls us to help the "orphan and the widow (James 1:27)" and "the least of these (Matthew 25:40)." It's pretty hard to refute that (though I know many try). While we tend to agree on what we believe, we don't agree on how to live it out.
The problem is that politics is linked too closely to this issue. Some hear "socialism" when they hear social justice. Others cringe at the phrase because one side isn't doing enough or the other is doing too much. Faith is very difficult to separate from politics. What we believe spiritually often influences (at least I believe it should) how we want to see things acted out politically.
What if we could throw off our labels for a while and just love as Jesus loved? What if we could get past see each other as conservatives or liberals and see each other as followers of Christ, made in the image of God? I'm wondering if such things are even possible with our sin-tainted brains and eyes. Yet, wondering if it's possible or not doesn't mean I shouldn't try.
And maybe "try" is the key word in all of this. We shouldn't just talk about social justice, but we should be trying to live out what we believe. Maybe in doing so we would make debates over comments by people like Glenn Beck a moot point.