Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Toward a Faithful Justice/Mercy-Oriented Transpropositionality

emergesque readers have no doubt noticed a recent trend toward posts that emphasize poverty issues. This trend has precipitated some comment here and elsewhere.

Mike Todd commented here,

First, there are those who are into the justice and mercy stuff but don't share our interest in faith issues. ... Sadly, there is a flip side to this coin. There are those who love to talk about faith issues who don't give a rip about justice and mercy.

Mac also commented here that he's noticed that when he speaks to justice/mercy issues in connection with his leadership of the one campaign in san francisco, that he "needed to create some distance because of the "baggage" so many have regarding Christian faith."

On waving and drowning, Mike posted more thoughts on this perceived dichotomy.

He concludes,

Balance is a word I have a lot of trouble with. Sometimes balance is called for. And other times balance is the excuse we offer for not doing the thing we should. In his kind and thoughtful response to my comment, Steve Knight speaks of moving the conversation forward. There are days when I want to do that, and then there are days when I feel like flipping over some tables. (When it came to issues that seemed to be at the heart of his vision for the Kingdom of God, Jesus apparently sucked at balance too, so I figure I'm in good company.)

So, back to the original point: I have two blogs. Here's the thing - blogs are all pull and no push. If I don't feel like reading one, I don't, and there's nothing the writer of that blog can do. If I talk about Justice & Mercy issues on this blog as much as I want to, I risk losing the very people I'm trying to reach. So, I have 3Click, because we must talk about the subject, and more importantly, do something about it. And periodically I write a post and put it on both. Right now I don't know what else to do.

Be sure to check out the many comments to Mike's post.

I'm a newbie to all of this - I'm currently in major learning mode - , but Mike's got the credentials to speak to this with some authority. Steve Knight had respectfully complained:

I'm really surprised (and saddened in a way) to read Mike's comments here. I see Mike -- the Executive Director of Linwood House Ministries (formerly Global Action Canada) -- as a major voice in Canada on issues of justice.

He may be really savvy to separate his thoughts on faith from his thoughts on justice (because, as he states, the audience remains somewhat split on the two topics), but I don't see how that helps move the conversation forward. We ought to all be working vigilantly to bring these two worlds together, as they should be.

This afternoon as Beth and I were driving home, I commented that it may be that the new focus ('cause it doesn't seem like it's just a new thing to Beth and me, but that a number of new folks are joining the conversation) may be reflective of a movement of God (!). I honestly don't know.
But one thing I do know: We do have to seque to a faithful transpropositionality on this issue.

I heard Brian McLaren once say that postmodernity isn't anti-modernity but assumes and builds on modernity. That may be a bit triumphal, but I think it's a worthy goal even if not an objective description. But let me speak with a similar idealogical hope: when the propositions of the term "transpropositional" are considered to be the propositions of Christian revelation, the most transpropositional approach to justice and mercy issues will exceed mere faithful talk and encompass faithful action. Biblical information will meet Christian conviction to bear the fruit of missional execution.

Some will go to Africa.
Some will pull out a checkbook, or click a PayPal box.
Some will befriend someone who lives on $.35 a day.
Some will write books.
Some will write their congressman.

The conversation must continue and improve in quality; but our activity must not stay at the level of conversation.


Anonymous said...

Amen, Stephen.

In other words:

Talk is cheap.

Actions speak louder than words.

Faith without works is dead.

Steve K.

Anonymous said...

BTW - I think a group of us may be coming up to D.C. in a couple of weeks for the Worship in the Spirit of Justice event. I'll hit you up on e-mail about connecting that weekend, if possible.

Steve K.

Mike Todd said...

Well said, Stephen.

Rick said...

Gosh Stephen,

It truly is wonderful to see that the idea of justice is taking place in the hearts of Christians, particularly those in the evangelcial church. I mean at some point we have to move beyond "cool" worship, reguritating leadership books, and naming our doctrine and actually step out in faith and serve the poor like Jesus.

I get a kick out of some of the rhetoric for some actually are treating justice as if it is a NEW trend in Christianity. I mean, it seems like social justice is nearly as big or may be even bigger than all the "pomo talk" or the WWJD braclets.

Just think, what was once labelled LIBERAL is now accepted as "Christian." Rick Warren has even jumped on the bandwagon, although he is not the guru he once was.

Welcome to the mainline church. :)

Nice post!