Those who commit dehumanizing acts of violence—whether through physical harm, abusive exploitation, or benign neglect—themselves become debased and subhuman, even as they sit in positions of power. Indeed, Micah puts this in sharp relief … where he depicts the corrupt “leaders and rulers” as ravenous animals who cannibalize those who the Lord has placed in their care.
New issues from the twentieth year of our journal feature articles on Hobbes, poverty, Indonesia, and more, as well as a special issue on Christos Yannaras.
In our own world, the Bethesda story reminds us of the fact that social and economic systems meant to assist the needy often keep them in poverty. Our story suggests that the 40 million Americans who live in poverty will need to doubt and challenge the system, and to look for help outside of it. Further, our sermons will need to speak life into death as a reminder that there is life beyond the system.
. . . In other words, disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan confront us with the sobering reality that the deepest, deadliest and most intransigent problems we face today are social problems, not technical problems. We continue to deceive ourselves with the hope that if we can but increase our knowledge of the world, our technical know-how at problem-solving the riddles that nature poses for us, we can defeat death and disease.
In this post, Brethren minister Brian R. Gumm reflects on the political & eschatological vision of kingdom come in the movie version of Les Misérables, and suggests that violent revolution should not be conflated with righteousness and work for Christ’s peaceable kingdom.
For three weeks now, I have been listening to Mary’s Magnificat sung as a part of the mid-week evening prayer service in my congregation. Last week, I leaned over to my five-year-old and told her, “This is the story of Jesus’ Mommy when she was pregnant with him.” Rereading a paper that I wrote on this text in college, I critiqued an over spiritualization of these words that are “a vivid proclamation of God’s eternal justice and intention to uplift the weak and lowly in a ministry of love…a call to social action on behalf of humanity.” Now, as I sit with the text, I can only say that it is all of this and more…
Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have both focused on the middle class, but Christianity demands a preferential option for the poor. Christians of the Left and the Right should be able to find common ground on policies to help the poor. Here are five policies that could serve as the basis for such a common ground.