Saturday, June 30, 2007

attacked from all sides

I just got my quarterly Journal of Student Ministries and it just so happens that the entire issue is centered on this issue of justice. I'm sure it will give me even more to think about when I get the chance to sit down and read it. I've been busy today with house work and getting ready for a presentation I'm doing tomorrow. So hopefully tomorrow or Monday I'll get back to here and be able to respond to the some of the thoughts left below and add some more resources and another post on some other items I've been pondering.

Friday, June 29, 2007

A Buffett Blast...

Warren Buffett, the third richest man in the world, chided the US government's tax system recently at a political fundraiser. Apparently, though he's worth about $52 billion, he only had to pay 17.7% on the $42 million he made last year, as opposed to his secretary, who cashed in $60,000 last year (see full article here). Politics aside (and that perhaps he ought to pay his secretary more), Buffett had these wise word to say:

" If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.”

Wow. That's pretty rich. Take a minute and click here to find out where you rank in the echelons of prosperity. What are you doing today to think about the rest of the world?


Thursday, June 28, 2007

ultra urbanization

The UN reported on Wednesday that by next year, over half of the world's population will live in urban areas, representing some 3.3 billion people. (you can check out the UN's report on this by clicking here). This site has a plethora of resources for understanding the extent and impact of urbanization.

So why does urbanization matter? There's a lot of positive and negative to it. on the good side, urbanization allows for a concentration and centralization of resources. Because more people live close together, the resources of those people can be pooled together in a more apt way, allowing for a greater variety of goods, services, and aid. For example, hospitals, fire departments, and post offices can serve more people when those people are in closer proximity. Good and services that would not be sustainable in rural areas can be dreamed and consequently created in urban areas.

However, urbanization also usually leads to the disintegration of the family unit and/or fabric of community found in rural areas. This is a bit of a generalization, in the sense that it's not true in every case. It does merit consideration, though. Rural areas tend to be more supportive of the family unity: you might have several generations of a family living together, pursuing life together. In cities, families tend to split generationally, if not in other ways as well. Urbanization seems to too often lead to individualization. This doesn't have to be the case, though. How can we make a greater effort to engage in community-driven activities within an environment that would split us? How can we pursue people of personal prosperity? Though city-life may lead us to more easily create a personalized existence, the call of justice ought to challenge us to engage in creative thought that considers our proximity to others and our impact upon their lives.

justice is...

What exactly?

A hot topic? A passing fad? A glimmer of hope? A radical calling?

Recently i've been drawn to justice. In my early years, growing up, justice was one of those attributes of God that seemed more painful than exciting. Like the green vegetables at the dinner table of God...i don't really want it, but if it means i get some heaven at the end, i'll put up with it. i think this was mostly because when i thought of justice i thought of God judging. and, in the massive wisdom of a human being, i didn't see why he got to judge folks and i didn't.

What i didn't grasp then was that when i judge, it's usually degrading to others. But when God judges it's freeing. His justice seeks to set the world to rights, to return it to the natural state in which he created it. And this is the definition of justice i've settled upon: returning the world to what it should be. Christ, thus, was a pretty big deal in all of this, because it somehow allows us to see the world aright again. It's like we've been standing tilt-headed for years and he comes along and sets things straight (and gets rid of that massive krick in the neck that had given us such a sour look on the world).

But as i've explored justice, i've been surprised by a number of my lack of knowledge about it (and, for that matter, why it took me so long to stumble upon a more compelling understanding of this astonishingly good attribute), by the church's often lack of care (we're too busy "loving" and "preaching the Gospel" it seems to be overly concerned with justice), and by it's burgeoning popularity, particularly in my generation.

So, as most twenty-somethings, i decided the best way to tackle the problem was to start a blog. Ok...perhaps not the best idea, but one of several ways i plan on pursuing this character trait. i have a blog already, but it's too scattered to handle this important idea. So here we are. i don't just want to know of justice. i want to be justice.