Monday, August 22, 2005

Sojourners

Summary: So far, I think what I’ve seen from Sojourners and would encourage you to visit their website and sign up for their newsletter (http://www.sojo.net).  You may not agree with them on everything, but they’re doing good work on really important issues like domestic violence prevention and poverty.

Main Article:
Over the years I’ve been discouraged by anything claiming to work for Social Justice, because most of the time the title “social justice” was merely a cover for a socialist left-wing agenda supporting things for political, not theological reasons.  Case in point, the disgusting theologically-decrepit work of the Washington Office of the PCUSA.  Too often “peacemaking” and “social justice” really get turned into preserving full abortion rights no matter what and demanding ordination as a right regardless of a personal moral practice.  

However, recently I’ve been introduces to a group call Sojourners.  While most, including myself would say that Sojourners tend to favor a liberal political stance their founder Jim Wallis, identifies himself as an Evangelical.  His book, God’s Politics: Why the Right gets it Wrong and the Left doesn’t get it is on my iPod and I’ve listened to about half of it already am I am impressed.  While much of what Wallis argues for I can’t comment on because my knowledge of the situation just isn’t enough, Wallis builds a case for a fourth option in politics, reclaiming the role of the Old Testament Prophet.  As Wallis rightly points out, the prophets weren’t really concerned with telling people the future.  The point of telling people what was going to happen was to get them to change their behavior.  Look at the case of Amos or Jonah.  He says there are currently three options available in the United States

What Wallis seems to favor is a Conservative personal issues stance with a liberal stance on economic issues.  While I imagine if pushed he (and myself) would not agree that outlawing abortion is a good idea since it’s unlikely to stop abortions from occuring, it’s a troublesome moral issue and all effort should be taken to reduce the number of abortions drastically.  I also firmly believe that we cannot make abortion a specially protected procedure that is the only thing a doctor can do without getting parental consent for those under 18.  But that’s neither here nor there…

Wallis also makes the point that this stance does not need to be anti-gay, and I think many younger evangelicals (myself included) would agree.  In my mind, believing that homosexual practice is sinful doesn’t not make me anti-gay.  I also believe that pre-marital sex is sinful, but I think most of my friends would agree that I am not anti-people-who-have-sex-before-they’re-married.  After all, all have fallen short of the glory of God and I stand with the rest of the world in this respect.  While I firmly believe that within the church refusal to repent of any sin should bar one from ordination, this doesn’t mean that in society I think practicing homosexuals are the scum of society.

More important than these two issues though are some of the other issues that Sojourners focuses on.   So far I’ve been contacted by Sojourners to sign two different petitions.  One is in support of a bill in Congress that has a chance to reduce domestic violence in this country, an issue that is very near and dear to my heart.  The second is a campaign to reduce poverty in the world and our own country.  Any Christian who is not troubled by the current poverty levels in this country and the world would be well advised to re-read the Gospels to discover who Jesus was really concerned most about.  

What I most like through all of this, abortion, homosexuality, domestic violence, poverty, etc. is that Wallis argues his case in a theologically sound way.  He argues that the cure for bad theology (that being a Christian means being pro-rich, pro-america, and pro-war) is not secularism (after all, secularism has nothing to stand on) but good theology.  I agree.  Case in point, the Barmen Declaration of 1936 in Germany.  After the rise of Hitler a number of German Evangelicals grew increasing concerned that Hitler and nationalism had supplanted Jesus Christ as head of the church and they responded with a sound theological rebuttal.  

I’ll write more later, as I think Wallis has some sound theological critiques of the current administration’s love of terms like “Empire” and “Evil” but for now I need to do something productive.  

The website again: http://www.sojo.net

1 Comments:

At 4:02 AM, Anonymous jer said...

While I do not feel comfortable agreeing or disagreeing with you specific issues stances in this post, I definitely think you are correct that both the left and the right have captured the debate on social justice. These are complex issues, issues that must be dealt with, and yet the only people who seem to have a voice are those who wish to bind us extremism, and the corresponding irresponsible solutions.

 

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