Saturday, April 12, 2008

Anybody Out There

A couple of weeks ago while driving to New Hamsphire to teach at FPU I was listening to one of my favorite CDs from the 1990s, Anybody Out There by Burlap to Cashmere. I became quite emotional since it dawned on me how the title track is so relevant today with the levels of global poverty and injustice in the world today. The problem is that it seems very little with the exception of the might dollar compel us to act. What make matters worse the Christian Church, the entity which should be striving to address the social justice problems is so wrapped up with their doctrines, rules and pettiness.

The message of Jesus was quite simple, love your God as yourself and love your enemy. Moreover, one accomplishes such as task by being relational with others and respecting the spirit of the law. What has happened is like the song says we have become deaf and dumb to those who are suffering. Yes there are examples of servitude World Vision and Compassion International, however they are the exception. True we have are jobs, bills, kids, and other daily worries, but we are connected to every man, woman and child as children of God and what impacts one impacts another.

We think to ourselves its sad that women in the Sudan are being raped, the thousands that were slaughtered in Rwanda in the mid 90s or the hungry children on the streets of Calcutta. Why is that my concern? Its our concern because in the eyes of every man, woman and child is our savior Jesus. As Christians we are compelled to act whether its giving money, going on a mission trip, serving at a soup kitchen or signing a petition. If we don't the following could happen again:

When the Nazis came for the communists,

I remained silent;

I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,

I remained silent;

I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,

I did not speak out;

I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,

I remained silent;

I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,

there was no one left to speak out.

The following are links to the syncroblog on Social Activism and Christianity
Prof Carlos Z. with Ramblings from a Sociologist
Phil Wyman at Square No More - Salem: No Place for Hating Witches
Mike Bursell at Mike's Musings
Bryan Riley at at Charis Shalom
Steve Hayes writes about Khanya: Christianity and social justice
Reba Baskett at In Reba's World
Cobus van Wyngaard at My Contemplations: David Bosch, Public Theology, Social Justic
Cindy Harvey at Tracking the Edge
Alan Knox at The Assembling of the Church
Matthew Stone at Matt Stone Journeys in Between
John Smulo at
Sonja Andrews at Calacirian
Lainie Petersen at Headspace
KW Leslie: Shine: not let it shine
Stephanie Moulton at Faith and the Environment Collide
Julie Clawson at One Hand Clapping
Steve Hollinghurst at On Earth as in Heaven
Sam Norton at Elizaphanian: Tesco is a Big Red Herring


Kieran Conroy said...

Thanks for posting, Carlos (and hope you feel better :( ). I'm officially jumping in on this Synch-blog thing, if you get around to adding me.

Great thoughts... I suppose the feeling, I get from so many of my friends is where to start? Many of us have started, but wonder if we're doing enough, or what we're doing is effective.

What is the place of a Christian today, living in this richest country in the world? It seems simply turning on the lights links me to the systems of injustice and privilege. Is it better to flee those systems, and live with those in need? Or funnel as much of one's resources, time and passions into using the advantages, however unfair one has?

Its something I'm continuing to wrestle with. I think the important part, however overwhelming is not to stop wrestling with what one is called to do.

A-Typical Sociologist said...

I agree with you.

mikeofearthsea said...

Having done less, as much, or more than some to empower the disenfranchised (which includes the poor and infirm in this country and abroad), I was still musing today that, though the majority of world citizens cannot exist/compete/participate in the current economic system, that, if folks knew the simple law of economics which, like the law of force, dictates not only does input equals output, but, regardless of inflation or depression, activity equals goods or services or both which, when exchanged, if it exceeds inflation, and even if it doesn't if the good &/or service is exchanged later above the rate of inflation, that wealth is accumulated.

But what would I do if I lived in Zimbabwe (sp) or the U.S. during the great depression. In Zimbabwe, people fear for their lives constantly and die for voting. During the great depression in the u.s., it took public works projects initiated by the government to jump start activity that began the production and exchange of goods and services... (tbd...)