By: Ron Rolheiser
While charity is good and virtuous, it doesn't necessarily change the social, economic and political structures that unfairly victimize some people and unduly privilege others. We must also have good and fair policies.
By: David Emmanuel Goatley
During its history, the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention has sent out many missionaries to foreign countries. Today, however, all of Lott Carey's missionary personnel are indigenous.
By: James Gordon
In a society fixated on individual self-interest, national economic advantage and tectonic shifts in wealth distribution, the poor rarely have life chances. The rich seemingly bathe their feet in the poor's tears.
By: Larry Eubanks
Many folks equate righteousness with sinlessness. But righteousness is tied more closely to innocence and aligns with our treatment of the poor, the powerless, the foreigner, even the sick.
By: Rupen Das
Caring for those who are not part of the mainstreams of society because of their poverty, brokenness and rejection is a prophetic act, says the author of "Compassion and the Mission of God."
By: Colin Harris
Our society is defined by dueling narratives, with each side fighting to control their message. The volume and intensity of this struggle are greater than ever, but the struggle has been around a long time.
By: Larry Eubanks
The title of "city of David" had always referred to Jerusalem until Luke's Gospel, when he bestowed that title on Bethlehem. It was Luke's way to highlight Jesus' opposition to the powers that be in Jerusalem.
By: Jerrod Hugenot
Zephaniah, a biblical prophet, spent much of his time railing against the excesses of the day. We live in no less fractured times. Zephaniah reminds people of faith to keep our eyes on the prize.
By: Colin Harris
Every Christmas season looks familiar: gift shopping, holiday entertaining, time off from work and school, special church services. But that's just wrapping. Let's look at the gift's contents.
By: Christopher B. Harbin
Jesus called us to righteousness, but we've since changed the definition. We've adapted it to following of a specific code that has more to do with cultural norms than what is truly right. Jesus calls for justice.
By: Vickey Casey
Knowledge is power in countries such as Mozambique and Uganda, but telling people they have rights is only half the battle. Making affordable legal services available is another challenge altogether.
By: Vickey Casey
Countless poor people all over the world need legal advice, advocacy and support but can't afford lawyers. Lawyers partnering with BMS World Mission are restoring balance to a system weighted against the poor.
By: Barry Howard
Our ancestors envisioned a nation in which liberty and justice would be for all people. Some folks, however, have reduced 'liberty' to a license for self-centeredness and 'justice' to mere retaliatory action.
By: James Gordon
The Bible has a lot to say about food, especially when the powerful, who are well fed, control food distribution and increase the number of poor who go hungry. We have a responsibility to each other.
By: Stephen Holmes
The ideas of justice differ enormously across the whole spread of human culture and history. The Bible doesn't offer a clear definition, but we know God expects justice to reach all people without fear or favor.
By: Molly T. Marshall
To reach the fullness of the unique human identity purposed for us, we must focus attention on God's self-revealing in Christ and the ways he continues to shine through faithful sisters and brothers.
By: Simon Jones
The Apostle Paul lived in a world where an elite few owned almost everything and called the shots. But Paul believed the principles of mutuality and equality were God's blueprint for human society everywhere.
By: Drew Smith
Jesus was a political figure, but not in the sense that he was involved in any political power system of his day. His message and his mission confronted the social structures of his day with the politics of God.
By: Brian Kaylor
Baptists from nearly 60 nations gathered in Turkey for the annual gathering of the Baptist World Alliance, electing new leaders for the global group and passing six resolutions.
By: Joe LaGuardia
The fair trade movement, focused on obtaining needed food while sufficiently and fairly supporting the farmers and manufacturers who make it, is breaking through in the Christian world.
By: Larry Greenfield
Before Jesus' baptism, John the Baptist spoke about bearing fruit. And what fruit should our baptism produce? The start of our pursuit for righteousness and justice.
By: Drew Smith
The Magi's visit reminds us that the rulers of this world are not the true authorities over God's cosmos, particularly if they seek to rule with illegitimate, unjust and oppressive power.
Coming roughly 12 days after Christmas, Epiphany Sunday reminds us that the darkness will not yield easily to the manifestation of a new order. Each of us must seek the light of God's justice.
With angels, shepherds and barnyard animals present, Mary and Joseph weren't likely to have a silent night. Amid the season's clutter, it's hard to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
We are told that David was a man after God’s own heart, but what exactly does that mean? It is when Samuel anoints David that the spirit of the Lord, as the Bible says, “came mightily upon David from that day forward.” Could it be that God made certain, on that momentous day, that his heart was entwined with the heart of this young shepherd boy? We can’t really say for sure. The only thing that is of certainty here is that David is God’s chosen... for whatever reason.
When a nation allows a few to have way too much while many have insufficient resources or barely enough, God's blessing and protection goes away and judgment follows. It's the biblical pattern.
I understand. Standing against the strong winds of injustice is hard, but there is nothing on this table today which calls us to play it safe when it comes to living out our faith. Everything here encourages us to be as bold as Jesus was in the pursuit of justice.
Many folks consider themselves righteous if they're upright, pure and above approach, but there's another meaning to the word that they miss. It involves a desire for justice.
Texas executed its 500th person since 1982, executing 40 percent of all people put to death in the U.S. since capital punishment was reinstated by the Supreme Court. Hardly a reason to brag.
Throughout Scripture, God pronounces judgment on Israel and her neighbor nations for oppressing the poor. Our government is just as accountable to God for our care of the poor.
A disproportionate number of people of color face both prison time and capital punishment, leading groups like Amnesty International to conclude that our judicial system is discriminatory.
Pope Benedict XVI has decried the abuse of animals in our food production. Consider these five moral challenges about how the food on our table gets there.
Luke's Christmas Story was revolutionary when it was written and still is today. We need to see past all the sentimentality and shallow theology that has come to surround it.
As much as it might mess with our traditional understanding of the widow’s mite and her sacrificial giving, we must not leave her on the pedestal of a stewardship lesson. When doing so, we miss the life application lesson of Jesus’ radical teaching moment.
Justice is the standard by which we are to measure every political and social system. Justice is the standard that defines whether a ruler is a success or failure.
People must go beyond charity and work to establish justice for the hard problems facing our society, Sister Simone Campbell tells EthicsDaily.com in the latest Skype interview.
What do we do about the injustice we see in our society, culture and churches? If we don't do anything about eliminating oppression and achieving justice, we are the problem.
We must decide whether to live for God as prophets or for the Enterprise Empire as pawns.
A connection between the vast mystery of the universe and the dimension of morality that makes human community possible seems woven into the biblical concept of creation and the prophetic call for justice.
When churches provide aid to the needy, are they unwittingly helping governments abdicate their duty to poor citizens? Perhaps more churches ought to be crying out for justice for the poor.
Since 1968, the Catholic Church has designated the first day of every year as "World Day of Peace," but not everyone likes the Church's message of seeking peace through justice.
A person of fierce faith, Mary believed the promises of God to her downtrodden people. Do you have the same profound expectation that God's strong arm will put to rights the world's injustice?
(RNS) More than one-third of Americans now oppose the death penalty—the highest level in nearly 40 years—according to a new Gallup Poll.
Despite witnesses' recanted testimony, Georgia has once again set an execution date – Sept. 21 – for Troy Davis. The state may execute an innocent man just because the law says we can.
Ten years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Osama bin Laden is dead. The Taliban regime that hosted him in Afghanistan has been overthrown by a military coalition led by the United States. But justice still seems far from us. Ten years later, are we not walking in gloom?
(RNS) In a last-minute bid to stop a Sept. 21 execution in Georgia, religious leaders have rallied in previously unseen numbers to call for clemency.
God is sending prophetic people to challenge the empires of wealth and power that oppress workers, immigrants, those who are poor, elderly, weak, and otherwise oppressed. God's gospel is always working on people, working in people, and working toward justice.
After the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, people across the nation felt robbed of justice. Funny thing about justice. We want it for others, but prefer mercy for ourselves.
Many seafaring laborers choose the job to escape poverty in their home countries. They face incredible isolation and even danger. One mission group says churches can help them.
When Christian leaders in powerful nations discuss truth only in matters of religious apologetics but not in issues of justice and accountability, is it any wonder that evangelical Christianity faces a crisis of credibility?
Catholic bishops recently took Speaker of the House John Boehner to task, claiming his congressional actions didn't uphold Catholic teachings. At what point do religious concerns become issues of the common good for society?
If we're true to our faith, we must value human life without a "but" or an "if." Once we think people are too far from saving or restoration, this is when we renounce our faith.
When an enemy's defeated, the glee born of sweet revenge often gives way to deeper wisdom. It's a reminder to build our ethics on the rock of careful theological reflection and not the sand of impulse.
Reflecting on Osama bin Laden's death, Islamic, Christian and Jewish faith leaders reflected on the need for justice, cautioned against celebrating his death and discussed how to move forward toward peace.
Osama bin Laden killed thousands of Americans. American forces have killed him. Justice has been done. The formula seems so simple. So why is it difficult to feel good about it?
The United States celebrated the death of Osama bin Laden as a triumph of justice. Revelers waved flags and shouted chants of victory. What is the appropriate response to the death of an enemy?
We need more than charity if we want to make a meaningful difference to address poverty. When we work for justice, we can address the larger issues of taxation and education that keep poverty alive.
Since Great Britain turned its back on the death penalty, the mother of a man executed in the United States wants the United Kingdom to ban British companies from exporting drugs for executions.
With the presence of almighty God in the tent of our soul, I am persuaded, with the Apostle Paul, that neither death, nor life, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall separate (or shake) us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
Religion does not exist to make people more religious. God's light calls us to focus on living with justice, compassion, and humility.
At its core, racism and segregation were theological problems then and now in that we don’t recognize the sacredness of all humans but treat others as “less than.” The social system that affirmed the separation between the “haves and the have-nots” meant that those in the latter category were given very few opportunities to grow, to learn, to earn, and ultimately to have dignity. The system rewarded one class while suppressing another and Dr. King was moved to change the way things were.
Is the gospel purely personal, having only to do with individual salvation and life after death? Or is there a social component to the gospel? Does Jesus' message say anything about economics and politics?
When the Constitution is read at the beginning of the new session of the House of Representatives, may it be more than a ritualistic gesture and serve as a reminder of the responsibilities of our public officials.
Nothing's wrong with a festive attitude toward Christmas, but our festive Christmas observances seem disconnected from God's prophetic work in Christ. We need to celebrate being prophetic followers of Jesus.
Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet, spoke out against economic injustice and religious idolatry that favored the few at the expense of the many. Should he be the patron prophet for our times?
Fight the good fight with courage trusting God's justice and mercy for strength. Finish the long race trusting God's justice and mercy as you run.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican called for former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz to be spared the death penalty.
Questions of taxation would seem to be political issues upon which the faith community has little to say. However, the three Abrahamic traditions speak of the need for funds to be gathered for the common good.
To "seek the welfare of the city" in our day takes the form of generosity of heart when paying taxes. We all benefit by a tax system that protects the most vulnerable and requires those with greater resources to live justly.
A British watchdog group issued a report examining how fair Great Britain is. While equality is impossible in many areas, Christians are called to work for a fairer society.
The entire theory of capital punishment is based on retribution. However, Jesus teaches that retribution is not right in the love that we are to have toward our neighbor.
Like the adulterous woman brought before Jesus, Teresa Lewis, scheduled for execution on Sept. 23, has been cast off as a disposable person. But Teresa's fate will say more about us than it does about her.
Teresa Lewis, the first woman scheduled for execution in Virginia in nearly 100 years, is set to die Sept. 23. The two men who pulled the trigger were spared the death penalty. Her former prison chaplain says she should be, too.
But Christians in America are called to reserve their first loyalty not to the government in Washington but to the Kingdom of God. Our Commander in Chief is ultimately Jesus, not the President.
That Baptists in the United States are among the more enthusiastic supporters of the death penalty is a shame upon the wider Baptist world. It is time for the death penalty to be abolished everywhere.
People who love God know that evil is real and that people can choose to behave in wicked ways. People who know God know the difference between misfortune and wickedness, both personal and social.
Today's politicians have much to learn from the centurion who knew the limits of his authority before Jesus. They are more concerned with their own survival and refuse to submit to the authority of serving the common good.
After leaving the White House, President Jimmy Carter decided to put his faith and his political visibility to work in the cause of justice, promoting democracy in places no one dreamed democracy was even possible.
Two great systems of thought are colliding. There are those who complain they are taxed to death, and others who proclaim the moral imperative of charity and justice growing out of the Abrahamic religions.
Separating church from state does not mean our public life should be void of faith. Since the days of the biblical prophets, the voice of faith has called for justice and peace in our common existence.
Five African-American Baptist conventions have started a historic and ambitious collaborative effort to raise $50 million to help rebuild Haiti after January’s devastating earthquake.
Christians can learn something from the tea partiers. We ought to be in serious discussions about a whole range of issues that must include the roles of government.
The death penalty should be abolished because it is unjust and a waste of taxpayer of money. But there's an even greater reason to oppose it. Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful."
The God-called prophets always see things the rest of us don’t see.
Faithful Oregonians ran with perseverance the race for justice, passing ballot measures that will avert a shortfall in the state's two-year budget that would have resulted in cuts to services affecting the poor and middle class.
Whistle-blowers take great personal risks to bring to light wrongdoing. They often face reprisal from the very organizations they've exposed. In Bradley Birkenfeld's case, it meant going to prison.
What does it mean to do justice? Ask a nonprofit group like Alabama Arise. Its annual list of issues affecting the state's poor, coupled with strategies to address them, is a reflection on how to do justice.
Poverty won't yield to charity alone. There aren't enough soup kitchens and shelters in the whole country to begin to make a dent in America's poverty. To make a difference, we need a commitment to justice.
Does 90 percent of America have hearing loss? They do if you count people who willfully ignore what is happening in the world. Many tune out the lack of health care, rampant Wall Street greed and other injustices.
As the 9/11 trials approach, it is an appropriate time to examine the Christian perspective of justice. In biblical terms, justice is closely related to forgiveness, not to revenge.
An estimated 100 prisoners are serving life sentences for crimes they committed as minors. Are teenagers mentally capable of making decisions with adult-size consequences?
Politicians tell us torture has provided crucial security information, but one study says that doesn't hold water. Why have so many of us been willing to accept this rationale? One word says it all.
Some ministers are quick to see God's judgment in calamity, but they work from an incomplete picture of God. As a result, they teach too many people to live under God's scorn rather than his grace.
Among the 125 notable vehicles of the 20th century in the Henry Ford Museum, including a string of presidential limos, you can actually board only one and sit where its most famous passenger sat.
Let us today, as children of God, have an understanding of justice. There are two different means, the justice in the world and the criminal justice system, that is one. But let us also understand what God wants for justice. As much as we would ever commit ourselves to personal morality and trying to live the right way, let us commit ourselves to justice for all people, that the people of God in this world would be known for treating all people, through all systems, the way the children of God are supposed to treat people. “Let justice roll down like the river and righteousness like a never-failing stream.”
We, too, are living in the power of that resurrection, but we are often less than cooperative and generous. With cheap energy we have chosen endless sprawl. We rattle around in enormous houses and enormous suburbs, distant from one another in every way. I put signs in our yard supporting a school board candidate in the recent election and then I went up the street and got permission to plant signs in yards of the neighbors I know – a grand total of four across the street and two on our side. The signs were signs of the limits of our neighborliness.
States with tax policies that oppress the poorest and most vulnerable citizens were also likely to have large Baptist populations, new research says.
So you think today's young people are hopeless? Maybe you should spend a week with nearly 500 of them at the annual Lott Carey Youth Seminar. You'll find visionaries who believe God will do more than we can ever imagine.
What do the state of New Mexico, Mike Huckabee and Planned Parenthood have in common? When you support the full spectrum of the sanctity of life, it can bring you into contact with a diverse range of unlikely allies.
You don't have to look hard to find examples of social injustice in the world. Too often, however, many of us choose to overlook injustice because it's not convenient to act. Next time, let's each do our part to do the right thing.
Troy Davis was sentenced to death in 1991 for the murder of an off-duty police officer. No weapon was found, and no evidence linked him to the crime. As a matter of justice, will Christians call for the reopening of the case?
Goatley used the analogy of children coloring pictures to explain his hopes and goals for Baptists. He noted that young children don’t always color within the lines, adding that he is excited by such actions even though teachers may tell children otherwise.
The faith community’s commitment not to stand idly by in the face of genocide and mass atrocities calls for us to be a voice for Darfur again. (Photo: Save Darfur Coalition)
Who needs your help right now? Who needs you to be courageous and compassionate? Whose heart is as troubled as Jesus’ was in this text and needs you to walk with them along their journey? What could you do that might change the way they live the rest of their life?
The Gospel of Mark narrates John’s arrest and death in a way that implies something deeply theological about the vulnerability of those who would dare to be prophets of God.
So long as we persist in holding on to the idea that government is some sort of alien power, is in fact our adversary, we will live as a nation divided against itself.
My intelligence is challenged by students (as well as by some faculty and administrators) when I allow the spirituality of marginalized communities to inform and impact my scholarship.
Religious groups are more than eager to love their neighbors when it comes to regulating personal behavior. But when it comes time to take on the big issues of social and economic injustice, conservative Christians begin to sound more like a certain character in one of Jesus' parables.
Raimundo César Barreto Jr. of Brazil is being recommended as the BWA’s first director of its Division of Freedom and Justice.
The narrative inspiring Mark Osler’s book, Jesus on Death Row: The Trial of Jesus and American Capital Punishment, is compelling. In 2001, while teaching at a conservative Christian law school, this former prosecutor re-conducted Christ’s trial under Texas law in his Baptist church in Waco.
But if we’re to be the compassionate community molded by the way of our Leader, we must look over the wall of the community to see who’s outside the gates, banished there by the people of God, unable to get in other than to get on their knees to beg. There’s a risk in loving the outsiders to be sure. But if we’re the people of faith we claim to be, that’s the kind of love we must share.
If Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, what would he say to the growing missional church movement?
Too many American Christians have myopia about the malnourished and their moral obligations.
President Barack Obama has reset the nation’s moral compass. Granted much of what he did was rhetorical. Nonetheless, he struck a new moral direction away from the nation’s failures, save one exception.
At an academic conference I was challenged publicly for "airing dirty laundry" about "our" people when I critiqued intra-Hispanic oppressive structures. In other words, it was OK for me to criticize the dominant culture, but I must never turn that critical gaze inward, lest I betray my own people and expose our shortcomings.
Maybe it was the timing of New Year’s with all the resolutions and stuff, but I too am intrigued by Chopra’s simple yet bold request to our President-elect to reframe our national direction from warring to peace with nine basic steps.
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Sen. Barack Obama's former minister, continues to be a factor in the ongoing presidential campaign. His recent media blitz has put his theology and social views on the front burner. I find it interesting to hear his views characterized as representative of Black Liberation Theology.
Baptists should condemn the idea that incarceration cures crime, advocate just alternatives to prison and work to reclaim and restore persons leaving the penal system, says an appellate judge and ordained Baptist minister.
A fragmented United States Supreme Court ruled 7-2 Wednesday that a three-drug protocol most commonly used for lethal injections does not violate the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
A British Bible society is launching the first-ever study Bible highlighting more than 2,000 verses that emphasize God's concern about injustice and the poor.
The past seven years in Washington have seen an "epidemic of indifference" and a "collective turning of the government's back" on people in need, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told a joint meeting of four major African-American Baptist groups Wednesday in Atlanta.
The holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas is the most intensely charitable time of the whole year. Church and civic groups gather clothes, food, and toys for needy families. Volunteers make their way to homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Busy shoppers dutifully drop their change into Salvation Army buckets.
The good news is, if you're awake, you're alive. The bad news is, you have to get out of that comfy bed, find something to wear, and at least try to be someone who is pleasant to be around.
Immigration continues to dominate much of the discussion among Republican presidential candidates. The issue sparked a fierce back-and-forth exchange between candidates Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney during the recent CNN/YouTube debate.
The American Bar Association has called for a nationwide moratorium on executions, citing a three-year study of state death-penalty systems that found unfairness and other flaws.
April 16, 1963 My Dear Fellow Clergymen: While confined here in the Birmingham City Jail, I came across your recent statement calling our present activities "unwise and untimely."