This is the third week of this month's book discussion on Will and Lisa Samson's book Justice in the Burbs: Being the Hands of Jesus Wherever You Live. The discussion the last couple of weeks has focused on feelings elicited by the idea of working for justice on a personal, national or global level and the importance of the participation of disciples of Jesus in the work of justice. I would like to challenge us this week to think about these issues in terms of our everyday lives so I have some thoughts and questions for reflection.
1. The byline of this book is "Being the Hands of Jesus Wherever You Live" and the Samson's talk about the potential disruption to relationships when you begin to focus on justice. What supports your efforts to be aware of and address injustice and need where you live? What works against those efforts? What is the level of awareness or interest in your current community, faith community, or close personal relationships regarding issues of justice? Who are the important people in your life that would feel uncomfortable with your increased interest in working for justice?
2. In the meditation at the end of chapter one, Brian McLaren makes the point that the word dikaios,
in the New Testament is often translated as 'righteousness" instead of justice and thus leads people to focus on God's desire for personal and private piety rather than on the need for corporate righteousness. He suggests that we read the NT and insert the word justice for righteousness. Click here
for a list of the NT verses containing 'righteousness.' Read a few of these verses substituting 'justice' for 'righteousness.' Do you come away from the text with any new understanding or insight?
3. If our lives have not tended to be focused on working for justice, the change to placing more emphasis on those issues can feel scary and threatening. In her meditation on pp. 154-155, Christine Pohl articulates the anxiety that can be provoked by trying to live justly in a suburban context. For myself, as a parent living a firmly middle class life in a small city in the midwest, focusing on issues of justice represents quite a change and means a re-ordering of priorities and changes to my lifestyle. What would more focus on working for justice mean for your life? What status quo might be threatened? What might the change look like for you? If you have already made that shift, tell us what that has been like.
Labels: Book Discussions, Justice in the Burbs, Social Justice