The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

A Great Awakening?

with 3 comments

Justice in the BurbsHere’s some good news that dares my heart to hope. Listen to Will and Lisa Samson, authors of Justice in the Burbs: Being the hands of Jesus wherever you live

We both grew up in good Christian homes. … We figure, between the two of us, that we’ve heard about 4,000 sermons. … We went to Christian schools, Christian college, Christian camps. We were involved in Scripture memory programs.  And when did we memorize a verse about God’s concern for the poor? […]

And so one day we began to read Scripture with an open lens. One day we began to read Scripture for what was [really] there

Oooh-hooo, that causes trouble. Watch them tell it:

Justice in the Burbs

Ah, the mercy of God! Day after day, I see American Christians awakening from a long sleep, suddenly aware that their Bibles tell of a Jesus whose incredible passion for justice shouts from every page, and they have not known it.

Many of us—I speak of myself—have not well followed this Jesus. We’ve followed instead the less troublesome, personal-salvation-obsessed, who’s-our-enemy-now religion deduced from evangelical dogma and 20th-century eschatological novelties—and so startlingly absent from the Gospels. And now we scarcely know what to do when we look afresh at the breathtaking things Jesus says and does.

But something’s up. There’s a change in the air, I think. And I don’t know that I’ve sensed anything quite like it before. These things are subjective; I certainly could be wrong.

But dare we wonder if it might be so, or what it means?

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Written by Monte

September 20, 2007 at 2:38 pm

3 Responses

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  1. The monk Thomas Berry wrote an amazing book about Christ’s message and environmental, or inter-species, justice that’s been formative for me. I used to hope that people might see the personhood of a tree, but now I realize that it’d be enough for now just to get them to see the personhood of whatever human Other they’ve been taught to dehumanize.

    Having lived as an Other to most for nine years now, I can say it’s pretty tiresome, and it certainly seems like, despite the number of apparently Christian (and I mean they are IN to it) people around here, compassion, charity, empathy, patience, are all in short supply. I dare bring in a human bit of litter from the underbelly of the city they’re trying to ignore to a neighborhood that wants to hide reality from its children for as long as possible (one has a girl who thinks “shut up” is a bad word, and another has a menstruating young lady in middle school who still believes in Santa), and they’re unable to turn their heads rather than obsess about the blemish on their pretty little street.


    Sorry to vent. I think I need lunch.

    It’s good to be back. I’ve missed you, too.

    Monte Says: Yep. How frightfully ironic is it that these people (I mean the people who are IN to it) are thickly scattered through the gospels and they’re the bad guys! And Jesus is Other. Like you!


    September 23, 2007 at 3:53 pm

  2. Well, Monte, as someone working for justice in this suburb, I’ve gotta say there are a whole lotta fish on the SUVs, but I don’t see many Christians.

    Monte Says: Well hi, HP – so glad to see you again! I completely agree. I think what I see is a nascent rebellion; it will be mainly invisible for a time, and it’s anybody’s guess how the church crowd will shake out on it. I certainly don’t understand church culture in the American South, either, and have no idea what the nature of it will be there. As you know, many black southerners preceded most of the nation in understanding elements of justice as they relate to the message of Jesus. One of my heroes is a fellow named John Perkins (not the currently-famous economics writer, but another one), from Jackson, MS, whose bio Let Justice Roll Down still moves me, thirty years after I first read it.


    September 21, 2007 at 8:17 pm

  3. I am starting to wake up too.



    September 20, 2007 at 3:09 pm

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