I want to post a few quotes from this great book. I read it this past week in preparation for this message.
He starts talking about how we tend to make moral judgments, and specifically relates it to pedophilia. He says that this seems to be one of the few universally accepted moral evils, but
we should be aware of the unthinking moralism which is so eager to condemn it simply because we hate the thought of it rather than on properly thought-out grounds.
I think his suggesting “restorative justice” as a way forward is something which is both very hard to accept (especially when it comes to those things we judge as “worse” evils), and very encouraging. I’ve spent at least a few hours this past week reading story after story about how this way of dealing with people and communities is making great strides toward reconciliation, as opposed to simply us vs. them. What would our families, our communities, our neighborhoods, our cities, and beyond, look like if they embraced restorative justice rather than distributive?
I also think he makes a great point, which I may tend to overemphasize (?), here:
The problem of the individual… is presented in the Bible as a subset of the larger problem of Israel, of humankind and of creation itself.
I know it’s hard for most people to think this way. We’ve been programmed to think that each person’s individual problems are primarily their own problems, and they have no relation to anyone else. My problems are my fault and responsibility, alone, and that person’s problems are their fault and their responsibility, alone. But, what would it look like if we each took responsibility for each other, holistically? Rather than using the modern language of “rights,” which is the selfish way of insisting this or that for myself, how can we shift back to the concept of responsibility toward others?
This is one of the statements that largely shaped my teaching Sunday night, about how Christ’s life, ministry, death, and resurrection was to rid the world of injustice, but
this was not intended simply as a distant goal for which one was compelled to wait in passive expectation. God’s future had already broken into the present in Jesus, and the church’s task consisted not least of implementing that achievement and thus anticipating that future.
I had Laura Thomasson (Jared’s wife) read a passage from the first section of the book of Acts. In that section, Jesus gives the great commission, and then the angels ask the disciples, “Why are you standing there, looking up at the sky?” They had been told what to do, but they weren’t doing anything.
I’m sure I will post some more from this highly recommended book.