For six weeks, we’ll be exploring postures of discipleship. Postures arrange our bodies to respond to various circumstances and allow us to engage with purpose. Over time, the practice of a posture reshapes our muscles and even bones such that the posture becomes a natural part of who we are. Today we are talking about the posture of being oriented towards the margins.
The concept of social justice has become a major theme in contemporary society. People are more sensitive to the different levels of marginalization, injustice, and stigmatization that affect our societies. Yet, how we address and fix these issues is not something we often agree on. Even more, we are often at a loss to understand how our faith is a unique tool for addressing injustice. What would a Christ-like response to the injustices of our world look like?
If you had one superpower, what would it be? Why that one?
Ecclesiastes 4:1-3; Amos 5:1-17; Luke 4:14-21
Read Ecclesiastes 4:1-3
- Ecclesiastes is full of observations about life. Do you find this observation accurate? Why/why not?
- This observation is part of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Why is it important that this sort observation is included in our Scriptures?
- Have you ever had an experience where you felt like the author of this passage? What made you feel that way?
- Why is it important to take time to lament over the plight of others?
Read Amos 5:1-17
- How is God’s relationship to the poor depicted in this passage? How does that relate to the observation of the author in Ecclesiastes?
- How do seeking the Lord and seeking justice relate in this passage?
- Amos is directing this message to the people of Israel. What is he calling them to do?
- How might the call of Amos be translated to our own times? What is this calling the Church to do?
Read Luke 4:14-21
- This moment is Jesus’ first public address in the book of Luke. How does this passage portray Jesus?
- What connections do you see between the themes of this passage and the other passages we just read?
- In this passage, Jesus reads from Isaiah 61. Considering what you know about Jesus’ life and ministry, how do you see him as a fulfillment of this passage?
- Is Jesus’ “good news” and “freedom” just a spiritual message? Why/why not?
- What are some concrete issues in your surrounding community where “good news” and “freedom” need to be proclaimed? What would that mean? What would that look like?
Diving Deeper: The Discomfort of Justice
While “social justice” is a popular idea, the practice of social justice can be quite uncomfortable, calling us into experiences and relationships that are uncomfortable. This section spends some time discussing this idea.
- Read the following passage from The Next Evangelicalism by Soong-Chan Rah: “The presence of poor bodies is a threat to the status quo and to our communal comfort. The presence of poor bodies reminds us of our own vulnerabilities and insecurities and that all is not well–that there are deep, gaping wounds in our society…but often instead of working to heal those wounds, we quickly cover them up so the disease is out of sight, out of mind.”
- Most people say they desire diverse communities. Yet, most people often tend to avoid them, too. Why is there a disconnect between the language of just and reconciled communities and the practice of these communities?
- Does a struggle for justice and an orientation towards the margins of society always result in uncomfortable situations? Why/why not?
- How is Jesus a guide in leading us into the practice of justice in our interpersonal relationships?
- How has your desire for justice led you into uncomfortable situations?