I have just returned from Sunny California and I am trying to re-acclimatise myself to U.K. time and weather. I went to Los Angeles to attend the Justice Conference and returned fired-up and ready to go. I need to watch some of the videos again and gather my thoughts, but here are some of my initial thoughts.
I thought you might like to read what another blogger is saying about justice and the gospel. Here is what he has to say:
Originally posted on the Way?:
Last post (Justice and the gospel), we looked at how the ministry of Jesus included both evangelism and meeting physical needs. But in many western evangelical churches, the “gospel” has been narrowed down to mean little more than personal salvation.
If you are in a church like that, and you believe that justice and care for the poor and marginalised is part of the gospel, what can you do?
Well here I am in Los Angeles for the Justice Conference. In looking through my notes I found this – which I wrote 10 years ago. My dream has widened a little but in reading what I had written a thrill overcame me because I am still dreaming!
“I dream of a day when all the people of the earth will have a chance to flourish. When all, regardless
I am extremely excited to be going to the Justice Conference in Los Angeles, California, at the end of this week. (Feb 21-22 2014).
The are expecting up to 8000 people and I am sure it will be an amazing event. I am expecting to be inspired by what I hear and experience. So watch out, and expect exiting and relevant blog articles in the future.
Here is a short taster video. Please watch it and be inspired too.
As we look at our own country, and around the world, we see that bribery and corruption causes untold misery in the lives of ordinary people, the poor and the powerless. Do we stop giving because in some cases “aid” is diverted to Swiss bank accounts? What can we do to help stamp out this evil, which causes so much hardship, and paralyses a country’s development?
Bribery corrupts the giver of the bribe, the receiver of the bribe and the culture which allows it. But before we “cast the first stone”, we need to be sure that our own government, our international businesses and our international charities are faultless, in not only refusing to offer bribes, but in not accepting anything except transparent accountability. Read on to explore this further.
Jesus affirmed the Old Testament law: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Italics mine). The implication here is clear: how we love and treat other people, is linked very closely to how we love and treat ourselves. I must admit that I have often emphasised the first part – loving our neighbour – and ignored the second part – loving ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves we do not have much basis for loving other people. We may feel uncomfortable about the idea of loving ourself. Connotations include selfishness, and “looking after number one”. But there is a place for loving, and caring for, ourself so that we are free to love other people. In this article I want to explore this in more detail.
I will be 70 years old later on this year. I have always had a sense of purpose in my life though it took me some time to realise what it was. At the age of 45, I left the computer industry to set up a charity. I have now passed control of the work to young people who are doing an excellent job. But what does the future hold for me?
Putting it simply, I still want to change the world. In this article I aim to discuss the question of whether we can, or should, change things, and how can we go about it!
Grabbing land from the powerless has been going on for centuries. In the past it was done by conquest. The Romans stole the best land in conquered countries and enslaved the local people to work on their farms. Settlers stole land from the native Americans in America and Aborigines in Australia. European colonialists stole land from the indigenous population in Africa and elsewhere to set up their plantations. But land grabbing is still going on around the world today. This article exposes some examples and calls for justice.
Bonded labour is the most common method of enslaving people around the world. A person becomes a bonded labourer when their labour is demanded to repay a loan. The person is then trapped into working for very little or no pay, often for seven days a week. Interest makes it impossible to pay the loan off and often debts are passed on to next generation.
They are forced to work to repay debts their employer says they owe, and they are not allowed to work for anyone else. Various forms of force are used to make sure they stay. In many cases they are kept under surveillance, sometimes under lock and key. Poverty and the threats of violence force many bonded labourers to stay with their masters, since they would not otherwise be able to eat or have a place to sleep.
Today the International Labour Organisation estimates a minimum 11.7 million people are in forced labour in the Asia-Pacific region, the majority of these are in debt bondage.
Bonded labour has existed for hundreds of years. It was used to trap labourers into working on plantations in Africa and the Caribbean – after the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
In South Asia it is rooted in the caste system and predominately affects Dalits (the lowest caste called Untouchables) and still flourishes in agriculture, brick kilns, mills and factories. In the Punjab region of India hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are forced to work as bonded labourers in quarries and brick kilns where they receive little or no pay in return for a loan typically used for survival.
There can be no doubt that God loves justice. In the Bible justice is often linked with righteousness (right living) and mercy. I am not talking here about justice in the context of judgement of wrong-doers. I am talking about Justice in the way we treat our fellow-men who may be poor, disadvantaged or weak.
Justice and Righteousness
“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24)