Category Archives: righteousness

righteous indignation

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Sunday night I was angry. And truth be told I don’t get angry a lot. I think my wife may actually think there is something wrong with me…but Sunday night, oh man. You see, I had shared a video of a young black man and his white grandmother being pulled over because someone had “reportedly” told the cops that they thought this white woman was being robbed by this black man. And all I kept thinking about was, “This could be my son.” So I shared the video on social media and was astounded at the ensuing dialogue. Some of it was very supportive and resonated well with me, but some of it left me with a little holy anger, if you will. And it’s not even so much what they were arguing with me per se (I understand police procedure and I wasn’t faulting a police officer who could be correctly acting on misinformation), but just the fact that they were arguing for the fact that this is the way things are or how they are done now. You see, for a follower of Christ in this world, I don’t think this approach is acceptable.

Allow me to elaborate a bit. Time and time in scripture we are told about the in-breaking of God’s Kingdom. We hear about it with phrases like “The Day of the Lord” or “When the Son of Man returns” or “The Kingdom of God is at Hand”. And when the disciples ask Jesus how to pray He responds with, “Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done on Earth”. And the images of this in scripture are profound. “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” – Amos 5:25 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” – Isaiah 61:1 This is what the Kingdom coming looks like. Something new; something profound! Something that challenges “what is” for “what can be”. When we are content to accept the status quo or even pine for the way things used to be, we are submitting to the kingdoms of this world and refusing to see the world for what it can be. We are living out of fear instead of hope.

This isn’t a liberal or conservative issue, but it is a political issue. It’s a proclamation of the fact that we belong to a different kind of Kingdom. The apostle Paul puts it this way in Colossians 3, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things aboveHere there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” – Colossians 3:1,11 This different view of the world is the thing that Christians should always ascribe to and hope for. A world where bias and fear are left in the dust because after all, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” – 1 John 4:18

I remember when I held Jonas for the first time. I was worried about how he might be treated in the world. But I thought to myself, “It’s going to get better…it has to.” And yet today, I am angry. I am hurt. I am sad because the church continues to buy into the narrative of “it will all work out or this is just how things are.” Hear me O church. Christ Kingdom is at hand. We are called to live into this. And the day is now! I still believe it can get better. But church we must get to work alongside Christ building his kingdom here, now, today.

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hunger

So at this point, unless you have been living under a rock, we are all acquainted with the Hunger Games phenomena. I myself am even a fan of this trilogy. But I think it’s social commentary has more to say to us than one would gather at first glance (Spoiler alert: I might reveal sensitive details to the story line and or movie; depending on your mode of consumption). And that’s just the point. The series is about an oppressive capitol that wreaks havoc upon it’s subjugates by consumption of the goods produced by those subjects. And as if that isn’t enough they destroy any hope of collective unification among their subjects by pitting children from each of the districts against each other in a battle to the death in what is known as the Hunger Games. And now here comes the ironic part…Western Culture (I speak mainly of the 1st world i.e. the United States and parts of Western Europe) spent over $155 million dollars this weekend to be reminded through film about it’s consumptive tendencies. Do you know what $155 million could do in healing wrongs wrought in the world?

$155 million could supply 7.75 million people with clean water who previously did not have it (http://charitywater.org). $155 million could build over 7,000 schools in impoverished third world areas (http://worldvision.org). $155 million could fund over 8,000 lawyers annually for International Justice Mission in order for them to work to free slaves around the world (http://ijm.org). Or $155 million dollars could cement the fact that we have no idea of what righteousness looks like in our world today and perhaps the fact that we are no better than the evil “Capitol” in the Hunger Games trilogy.

In Matthew 5:6 Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” I love the fact that the words for seeking righteousness refer to basic human needs; hunger and thirst. And righteousness in this sense is not what you may think. You see righteousness, at least as it was understood by a 1st century Jew, meant right-relationship; justice for your fellow man. So Jesus is essentially saying, “Blessed are you when that which drives you, almost as much as your life sustaining drives, is the desire to see justice for your fellow man. And guess what? You will be so driven that you will be filled. You will see justice done, otherwise your hunger and thirst will never be abated.” Okay, maybe that was a little wordy for Jesus but you get the point.

That’s ultimately the problem in our broken world. Misplaced hunger. We hunger for entertainment and escape, rather than deliverance from oppression from those who make our clothes, grow our crops, build our toys and suffer our indifference. I am pretty sure at this point the $155 million speaks for itself. And although I loved the story…even the movie, I can’t help but be convicted by my appetite.


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