Monday, June 14, 2010

Theory on Perversion of Social Justice

I have been thinking a lot about the Social Justice movement going on in our culture. First, I must say that I LOVE it when Christians get their eyes off of themselves and onto serving others. It is not only healthy for them, but it is a matter of obedience and service to the Lord. (Matthew 25:31-46).

Over the past several years there has been a growing trend in the area of social justice in our culture. The up and coming generation is devoted and excited about the idea of impacting this world for good. Not since the wave of social consciousness of the 60's has there been this type of excitement and involvement. I think our young people are not only more aware of the needs in the world, but also see that there is a lack of fulfillment and a general frustration with living a life only for one's self. All of that is great, truly. However, the idea of justice itself is rooted in a Holy God and Creator of all things. The very notion of Justice flows from the idea of righteousness and judgment. The expression of that idea must therefore be rooted in God's definition and vision for its implementation. In other words, 'what does God say is right or wrong?'

You don't venture too far in this area before you start tripping over post-modernist relativity. the stuff of "your truth is fine for you," etc. ad nauseam. But there is some merit there. Those who just want to "help someone" might wind up hurting them. For example, in the West we tend to look at the problems in developing countries as a "lack of stuff" problem. Certainly that is part of the equation, but not even close to the real answer.

The diversion (and perversion) that I am concerned about is the idea of Justice apart from the Just One's direction. I often use the Cross as an example of a correct emphasis from the believer outward from themselves. The majority of the focus in a Believer's life should be vertical toward God in worship, prayer, adoration, study, fellowship, etc. As a result (not an addition to) there is an overflowing outward in service to the people, community and culture around you. Without the filling and refreshing that comes from "abiding in the Vine," the fruit and effectiveness that one desires from their acts of service soon dry up or become distorted. Perhaps part of the issue is that people feel so disconnected from God and are trying to prove that they are "good" and don't need God for that as the current atheist agenda is asserting. Jesus said that apart from Him we can do nothing.

Recently in our area there is a local center that has been helping people for decades with food, shelter, job counseling and other services. It was started by a group of local churches to pool their resources and be more effective together. It is called the Lakewood Christian Service Center. We have supported it faithfully since I arrived as pastor at West Shore Church. Now because of funding issues with the government they are renaming themselves and taking the word "Christian" out of it. No doubt from some misguided and perverted cultural sense of not wanting to offend anyone.

On the surface it sounds noble and sympathetic. It is in fact a travesty. To neglect (and even cut off!) the greatest need of humanity, namely salvation through the redeeming death of Jesus Christ for the whole world, is incredibly short-sighted and a betrayal of the One who formed the idea of Justice for all.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:1–5


Thursday, June 10, 2010

In the Words of My Great Grandpa

In the Words of My Great Grandpa, Everett (Pa) Hunley. While organizing I ran across some papers that my great-grandpa had written. It was him recording the story of his life. He lived in the hills of Kentucky. He was born in 1902 and went to be with the Lord in 1998. He was married for over 75 years to the love of his life my Great-Grandma, Martha (Ma) Hunley.

In this story he goes on to tell about how there were no modern conveniences; water was retrieved from a spring; he awoke each morning to go chop wood for the day. "People did not look ahead like they do now."

Some tidbits: (retained some of the spelling and grammar errors to preserve effect)

Marriage and finances:
"Half the marriages today ends up in divorce. When I was young they married for love. They didn't marry for sex or money. You never heard of divorce. No body in debt ever body enjoyed their selves. I don't own any body anything and have got my home, but I worry about grand-kids and great grand-kids. It hurts me to see them worry. I had to work hard all my life, now I don't haft to work, but I have pains and troubles, but I still enjoy life."

"I like the old fashion preacher better. They preached by the spirit. When they had a revival, then it would go on for two or three weeks when the Spirit got in two it. You would hear shouting and crying all over the church house. Now you go to church it is more like some kind of a play. Your kids wont agree with me but I like the old time religion that the Power above gets involved in. Homemade religion don't work. Going to church don't work. Paying the preacher don't work. All that works is the spirit of Jesus Christ and if the Spirit don't lead you, it is all fake. It tells you in the Bible if the Spirit quits dealing with you, you are doomed to Hell. When they prayed, ever body would get on there knees. Now they stand up, fraid they will get dirt on their knees. The Bible says ever knee shall bow so that is enough about religion."

Good stuff.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Master of Everything

My son wrote a worship song this morning. As I was getting ready to take my son, Josiah, to school this morning, he was playing with his army guys. However, after being quiet for a few minutes he walked up to me with a paper in his hands and said, "I wrote a song, Dad." My son just turned 8 years old last weekend. Here's what was on the paper:

"The Master of Everything

Jesus, You're the master of everything
the master of everything
You are the only God
Oh, yeah! Oh, yes You are!
Ah ha! Oh, Yeah!

You are the master of everything, yeah!
Ohhhh, yeah!
Ohhhh, yeah!
You're the master of everything
Master of everything

written by: Josiah Hans Schall"

Love it! :)