Pastor Geoffery Lentz, a Duke grad, wrote a blog post in response to Glenn Beck and his rantings about social justice in churches where Beck asserted that if you see the words “social justice’ on your church’s website, “run as fast as you can.”
Well, Pastor Geoff agrees! Here is part of his response that I thought was awesome:
The radical social justice theme of Christianity is troubling. The Old Testament is filled with troubling ideas like the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25) not to mention the prophets. What would happen if we “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an everlasting stream” (Amos)? It wouldn’t work out very well for me. I wish this “social justice” theme was limited to the Old Testament, so we could explain it away with dietary laws, but Jesus has to bring it all up again. The Sermon on the Mount (Sermon on the Plain in Luke) is terrifying—blessed are the poor? Not to mention Jesus’ ministry theme in Luke 4. If only Mary could have sang a different song (Luke 1). This year as my church is focusing on the Gospel of Luke (from the lectionary), it has surprised me to find such a focus on the social implications of the gospel.
He then writes:
Wouldn’t it be nice if Christianity was only about spiritual matters? Loving God would be much easier if we didn’t have to love our neighbors. Unfortunately “social justice” is not peripheral to the gospel it is central. Maybe Beck misspoke, or maybe he said what we’ve all been thinking—following Jesus is hard work—too hard. Reading the story of the rich young ruler (Luke 18), can keep you up at night. One really can’t blame Beck or anyone else for wanting to go a different direction, the real challenge is for those that want to follow him.