justice

Be like Jesus and break the rules

It has been noted that the Dali Lama said, "“Learn and obey the rules very well, so you will know how to break them properly.” 

It has been noted that Jesus did not begin his public ministry until he was 30 years old, which means that he had a long time to learn the rules of the times. The thing is that when he breaks the rules of his religion, say healing on the Sabbath, we look at that and say, "well yes, that obvious! It should not matter when a person is healed but we should rejoice that the healing happened." 


But this is the beauty of breaking the rules properly. When the rules are properly broken then to later generations it looks obvious as to why no others would break the same rules. Eat with sinners, throw out money changers, speak out to those who's personal holiness keeps them from social holiness, equal rights to people - breaking these rules seems so obvious today. 


Ethical hindsight is something that generally makes us feel superior in a number of ways to the people of the past. "I would never own slaves" or "I would have fought with those for women's rights" or "I would have grabbed a whip with Jesus and drove out the money changers also". Ethical hindsight also makes it difficult to see what the next rules are that need to be broken. 


It seems like many of us go down a list and check them off:
Slavery abolished - check
Women's rights - check 
Child labor laws - check 
Health care for all people - check 


Ethical hindsight gives us a false sense of "we have arrived" and that all the really big justice issues are resolved. But we know that is not the case. 


So if you are reading the Bible and saying to yourself, "Yea, I would have done the things that Jesus did in his day to advance social justice." I would ask you what are you doing today to advance the cause of justice?

Organizing the roaches

In the book "The Information Diet" there was a nice metaphor that struck me. The author was talking about while the idea of greater transparency in the world is good, it is not a solution to the problems in the world. Just because we can see where the money is being spent in our governments does not mean that governments will be good stewards of that money. Thus transparency is good but honesty and integrity are much better ideals.

Here is the metaphor he used: 

"If you turn the lights on in a roach-infested apartment, it doesn’t kill the roaches, it just makes them organize in the shadows. Sunlight only hides the infestation. To get rid of them, you should clean up the apartment and probably call an exterminator."

The church talks a lot about being a "city on a hill" a "reflection of the light of God" and whatnot. All good metaphors. But when we are content on being just a reflection of the Light do we really just allow the roaches in the world (aka: sin) just become better organized? 

Is the church intended to be that place where we help shine the light or is the Church that place that is called to help clean up the apartment?

What percentage are you?

In case you missed the whole Occupy Movement, in a nutshell it was raising up the economic disparity in America. The chasm is great between the have and the have nots. As such, here is a little tool to help you see perhaps where you might fall into the income percentage in your area of the United States.

I am not sure if you are supposed to do your before tax income (I think that is the intention of this tool), but you can do your post tax income if you would like.

According to this my household is in the top 40% in my area. It makes me wonder if my socio-economic level pushes me farther away from the needs of people in other income brackets? It makes me wonder if I am in fact richer than I think I am.