I have longed for thy salvation, O L-RD; and thy Torah is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments. Psalm 119:174-176

14 January 2013

The Girl Effect - Part 33 - Social Justice

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The term and modern concept of "social justice" was coined by the Jesuit Luigi Taparelli in 1840 based on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and given further exposure in 1848 by Antonio Rosmini-Serbati. The phrase has taken on a very controverted and variable meaning, depending on who is using it. The idea was elaborated by the moral theologian John A. Ryan, who initiated the concept of a living wage. Father Coughlin also used the term in his publications in the 1930s and the 1940s. It is a part of Catholic social teaching, the Protestants' Social Gospel, and is one of the Four Pillars of the Green Party upheld by green parties worldwide. Social justice as a secular concept, distinct from religious teachings, emerged mainly in the late twentieth century, influenced primarily by philosopher John Rawls. Some tenets of social justice have been adopted by those on the left of the political spectrum.

 "...Social justice is justice applied not just in individual relationships but across social systems. Social justice envisions a society in which every person is given an equal opportunity for a dignified human life. It’s about insisting on basic human rights and rectifying inequalities in society. From a religious point of view social justice is rooted in the notion that we are all created equal. According to some religions our equality in creation is based on being created in the image of God. It is this notion of a common human family that transcends barriers of nationality, race, gender and religion that binds us all together in pursuit of what is in the common good..."Faith for Justice

"Tikkun olam" (literally, "world repair") has come to connote social action and the pursuit of social justice. The phrase has origins in classical rabbinic literature and in Lurianic kabbalah, a major strand of Jewish mysticism originating with the work of the 16th-century kabbalist Isaac Luria.
The term "mipnei tikkun ha-olam" (perhaps best translated in this context as "in the interest of public policy") is used in the Mishnah (the body of classical rabbinic teachings codified circa 200 C.E.). There, it refers to social policy legislation providing extra protection to those potentially at a disadvantage--governing, for example, just conditions for the writing of divorce decrees and for the freeing of slaves.
-My Jewish Learning
 Tikkun olam (Hebrew: תיקון עולם) is a Hebrew phrase that means "repairing the world" (or "healing and restoring the world") which suggests humanity's shared responsibility "to heal, repair and transform the world."
...Tikun Olam starts with God's creation of the universe. It entered the cosmos on the sixth day of creation and has persisted to this day, and is hinted at in contemporary religious practice. Every Shabbat evening we proclaim at kiddush: "God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on it God ceased from all creative labor that He created to do (la'asot)." (Gen. 2:3) The final word "la'asot" appears both superfluous and irregular in this context. Creation is complete—or so it seems from the simple past tense of all other verbs in this verse. Yet 'la'asot' is the infinitive form, implying ongoing activity. 'La'asot' indicates that there is still some creating that is continuing or at least requires continuation. Based on this textual clue, kabbalah teaches that God did not finish creating the world at the end of six days. He left a little corner of the world unfinished. He left disease. He left poverty. He left drought and starvation. The cosmos is unfinished, and who will complete creation? We will. Perfecting God's universe is the task for humanity in general and for the Jewish people in specific.
-Learning to Give: The MItzvah of Tikun Olam

I've been thinking a lot these last few weeks. In the last couple of weeks, there has been a lot of changes in my life, and two concepts keep whirling around in my mind. "Tikkun Olam."  and "Social Justice".  Having just finished reading "Dating Jesus", my interest has been piqued to go back and complete some of my History education that is apparently sorely lacking in certain subjects.  I've made it my goal this year to fill in blanks I have in UK history and American history. I will be filling in information about many subjects, one of which happens to be the older "Social Justice" movement that began during the Industrial Revolution. In so doing, I have been learning many things.

Today, I'd like to share why Tikkun Olam / Social Justice is a big issue to me.

"...The mission of Jesus Christ was to love you and me while we were most decidedly not Christians. We were poor in spirit, enemies of Christ and his kingdom, and he offered His body for us anyway. Is it even Christian, then, to say we will only care for those who are like us? For some reason it doesn't occur to us to question foreign missionaries who give of themselves, even to the point of death, for the lost and the pagan overseas. But in our own country we give the unsaved scraps from the table..."
Eight Reasons Why Social Justice is Necessary

"...Here are some truths that we Americans need to know about: The United States has but 5% of the world’s population and yet we consume over one third of the world’s natural resources and we generate 19% of the world’s waste.  –E Magazine Jan/Feb 99
A USA Today snapshot feature this past week stated that the U.S. gives the highest amount of aid for development assistance around the world.  (Fri. June 18, ’04, 1A)
But what that article didn’t mention is that the U.S. is # 20 among nations in the percentage of our national income (GNP) that we give to other nations. We’re currently giving less than 1/10th of 1% of our national income (GNP) to humanitarian aid."
“Band-Aids Aren’t Enough!” – Progressive Christian Social Justice
"...Social justice is at the heart of the Christian faith. The religious leaders and people of faith we spoke to in the making of this PSA couldn't fathom a form of Christianity that doesn't speak to systemic brokenness. They couldn't imagine a Christian message of redemption and healing that only applied to people's personal lives and not to their social lives..."
Huffington Post: I'm A Social Justice Christian

I pray you indulge me for a moment, but this lady's song really speaks to me today.  In many ways, especially in the society where Y'shua lived and moved in, he was a "liberal" (in the true, non-political meaning of the word, way) - and it resonates in me the reaction she had to Glenn Beck's remarks back in 2008 about how Christians are "unconcerned" with social justice issues unless it infringes on our rights and pet projects.
I do not listen to Fox any more. It is not news. It is not relevant. It is fear-mongering. It's divisive. It's very opinionated and I don't have time for that. So, if that kind of view bothers you, don't listen. It probably won't speak to you as it did to me today, when my heart really needed it.. 

I don't know how to fix it all. I don't even know how to pray for it all. But I know this year, I'm being moved to change. To do something tangible. To help, rather than hurt. 

1 comment:

  1. Amen, sister. I don't know what the answers are either, or what the best way for me to do something about it is, but I just can't sit back anymore and pretend like it doesn't matter.