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Monday, July 6, 2009

Christian Social Action

Not too long ago I "tweeted" that christian Social Action requires standing against injustice, dignity driven compassion, and the willingness to use wealth for the benefit of community.

To do so is to live out a rather inconvenient faith. Each of these issues carries with it a significant costs. Costs that can be difficult to overcome and "investments" which may not show a "benefit" in the course of our lifetimes.

Injustice is something we tend to overlook or ignore in our American culture. There are still many who believe that our bigotry and prejudices no longer exist and if people would just "try harder" they would succeed. These same people think that everyone is on an even footing, that we all have the same opportunities and that the "rules of the game" are equally applied to all participants. Unfortunately, injustice can be found quite easily if we just would take a serious look at our surrounding communities. If one looks, with the intent to find, slum lords will be found, unequal access to quality education will be discovered, farm workers living in conditions worse than inner city slums, and much more. It is the responsibility of those who claim to follow Jesus to not only be the voice, but to take the necessary actions to irradicate these issues not only in our own society, but in other areas of the world as well.

Dignity driven compassion goes far beyond charity and service opportunties. Dignity driven compassion requires substantial efforts in developing relationships with those in need. Dignity drvien compassion addresses tomorrow, as well as today. It requires the one who can provide for needs to become involved in the day to day living of the one who has needs. It requires involvement with the person to be more important than the service itself. While the service required cannot be neglected, it is simply the means to the more important requirement on a believers life, is to use the service as the means to build relationships and let the person in need know they belong to a community that cares. Dignity driven compassion insures that the person understands that they are not a "project" to be completed, but the invaluable tool of God to teach people with means to see beyond themselves.

A willingness to use wealth for the benefit of the community is a fundamental reason for God allowing a person to have wealth in the first place. Our hard work doesn't mean we deserve wealth. Millions, if not billions, of people work extraordinarily hard and never have the "hope" of being wealthy. Wealth is something God grants, even to those who don't believe in His provisions. For the believer, wealth should not be equated as a "reward" from God for some kind of good behavior. Wealth should be considered in line with our talents and abilities. It is simply a resource meant to be used to show others the Loving God. Bigger houses, expensive cars, expensive clothing etc. are not how the wealth of believers is to be spent. Instead, better housing for the poor, better access to transportation, creating opportunities for those who might not afford clothing being able to earn clothes, or food, or quality used items is how God expects the wealth He grants to be used. Wealth is supposed to benefit the whole community of the individual, not just the individual. Whether the wealth has been given to an individual person, a family, or even a church body, it is meant to be used to leverage good in the community. Anything less than this is unacceptable to the Lord.

While you may have not responded to Christ because you haven't seen the above take place, please understand many believers, throughout the world, do live under these principles, and they do so gladly. Please also understand that should you make the decision to follow Christ that this requirement will also be on your life. It is a truly great way to live.

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