Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

No justice no charity

Justice is the body of love and love is the soul of justice. Separate them and you do not get both – you get neither; you get a moral corpse…Justice without love may end in brutality, but love without justice must end in banality.

                               John Dominic Crossan 

                               How to Read the Bible and Still be a Christian, p245



I believe in Jesus, in him being Love incarnate.

I believe that in Jesus “love came down.”


I also believe Jesus.

I believe what he said about our need to love God with all our heart , soul, mind and strength.

I believe what he said about loving our neighbor, even as we respect and love ourselves.


What is sad to me is how often we stop at believing in Jesus.

We make the proclamation, “Jesus is Lord”, or “Jesus is the Way,”

the end of the story.


We claim Jesus the Christ, and totally ignore most of what Jesus said.


This is not just a right-wing problem, or a left-wing problem.

It is almost universal.


I can predict, with absolute certainty, that if I talk about “common good” and about how God’s love is given freely for all, someone will say “Yes, but…”

and start talking about rules and principles, and throw out the phrase “but the Bible says…”


I can predict that if someone starts to talk about something that is wrong.  A social ill.  A behavior that is harmful.  A lie.  And dares to challenge harmful words, attitudes, or behaviors, someone will pontification, “Yes, but…”  we are supposed to be loving.


The problem is not with the call to love.

Nor is the problem with the call for justice.


The problem is that we tend to separate the two.

Not wanting to become the monsters we oppose, we become people who do not insist on justice.  Or being people who are passionate for what is “right,” we discard love.


But the fact is Jesus is where love and justice come together.

Yes, we must love (and be loved by) God

Yes, we must respect ourselves.

Yes, we must love others.


But that love is not blind.

It can include an awareness of what is wrong, not just in the other, but in society at large.  And in love in can include a desire to help right what is wrong.


But love and justice must stay together.

In love we must seek justice.  It is not enough to help the poor and vulnerable.  We must challenge and change the systems that made them poor and vulnerable.


But our challenges and our attempts to change, cannot make us brutal and cruel.

(as has happened with the pro-life movement in many cases)


I do not claim to have this figured out!

It is a razor’s edge.

I know that sometimes I close my eyes to ills because I want to be welcoming and loving.

I know that at other times I pounce, and attack others in a way that is not loving.


Wretched person that I am, who will rescue me from this dilemma!? (Rm 7)

Jesus.  In whom I believe, and whose way I seek to follow

Jesus.  The one in whom charity and justice both can be found.



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