Sunday, June 22, 2008

Economic Justice at a Personal Level: Part 1 of Reflections on Lazarus at the Gate

Jo Hunter Adams

If you’re like me, you are trying to work out how to live your ideals in the context of the constraints on your time and money. For me, a rift developed soon after I finished United World College. As a Christian, there didn’t seem to be a way to combine my faith with all that I had learned at United World College.

What did I learn at UWC? It’s hard to summarize, but it was a kind of awakening—I discovered Christians weren’t the only ones working for justice, in fact, historically there seemed to be evidence of the opposite—Christians as perpetrators of injustice. I was young enough for this to result in fairly deep confusion, and I held the two ideas in tension without really resolving them. In Wales (and beyond) I had the opportunity to serve in different ways—usually with people who had genuinely different beliefs. Looking back, this began an inconsistency. Apart from with a few close friends, in justice settings I kept my faith fairly a little removed, and in faith settings I kept my feelings about injustice—and what I felt was the correct response—private.

There’s nothing wrong with this, except that I believe God is justice. Justice (and mercy) are God’s agenda, not only the domain of a bunch of people. And so justice and faith should interact. That doesn’t mean that people who have a heart for justice need me preaching to them. Nor does it mean that I take this agenda to all faith interactions. I think it means that there’s no contradiction within myself, and the rest will work itself in time.

Over the next few days and weeks, I'll be thinking about a course I recently took part in, and the types of things it's made me think about. Up to now a lot of my thoughts on economic justice have been at a structural level (how do we change the system) whereas recently my thoughts have been more focused on starting small-- economic justice as acted out as an individual. Please join me on this journey!

P.S. And I hope to keep updates on the plants going, as well as a few other things...