Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Social Justice Perspective (J. Philip Wogaman) #2: Social Justice and Creation, Social Science, History, and Issues

Wogaman argues against a Gnostic or docetic view of the world. That is, creation matters, but it is not ultimate. Creation is the arena in where we develop covenant with God. This is important because it means the material, physical world is important and, I presume, we need to seek justice within it, not just wait for eternal justice. Next, Wogaman discusses the social justice perspective’s willingness to use the most recent scientific discoveries to inform how social justice should be lived out. These findings are not ultimate, but they are taken into consideration. (Not sure why he made issue of this, to be honest.)

While there are always questions (apart from Catholics, I suppose) about who really speaks for the church, it is important for the church to speak. Sometimes it has disastrous effects (prohibition) and other times it is successful (antislavery movement). To avoid the disasters, it is probably better to influence hearts and minds rather than force something legally. Wogaman points to abortion as such a contemporary issue.

To conclude, Wogaman goes through a Methodist document and where they stand on current issues as an example of what churches should do. Whether politicians listen to them or not, it is good for churches to think through these issues.

This was a strange essay and wasn’t altogether helpful in some ways, but the prohibition/abortion issue really has me thinking. Of course I’d like to see Roe v. Wade overturned and abortion outlawed, but – whether that happens or not – maybe we need to re-think our tactics in such a way that we can change hearts and minds on the issue so it is lasting and not an ongoing tug-of-war. I’m not sure how to do that, but it seems more lasting and less divisive than the political gridlock we’re currently engaged in. Thoughts?

(PS – I’m done with political stuff for a while, which is a good thing since nobody wants to talk about it or read about it, I imagine.)

No comments: