Questions for a Monday morning:
As I was driving to my Monday morning office, I was pondering this question: What is justice? Apart from its meaning as just retribution for wrong, what is its meaning for the Christian wanting to act in a way true to his God in a world filled with inequality, oppression, and want? What is justice?
When I got to my ‘office’, I had a long and fruitful conversation with a colleague which raised a number of related questions, the crux of which was this:
As Christians in 2011, what are our blind spots? Pundits around us expect us to be exercised about abortion, homosexuality, and economic and political freedom. But what are our blind spots? What should concern us that we are not seeing?
The white church in the antebellum south was blind to the horrors of human bondage. The white evangelical church of the mid-twentieth century did not take the lead in the further fight for the civil rights of all people. They were blind to the oppression around them. From an historical vantage point, we can see THEIR blind spots.
What then are ours?
That is a real, and not a rhetorical, question. Comments are open for charitable contributions!
4 thoughts on “Seeing Blindness”
I’ll start. It is my earnest belief that the Church has pet sins, a few of which you’ve brought up. I have begun to feel like they, ironically, are our blind spots. We spend so much time making sure that no one thinks we’re too “accepting” of a lifestyle or a choice that is made that we forget that there are actual, real, skin and bones PEOPLE involved here. The women that are being yelled at and having photos of fetuses shoved in their faces at abortion clinics are our daughters and sisters, and they are all-too-often traumatized, hurting, abused, and desperate women who need to see the love of Christ in a gentle, relational hand. The men and women who love other men and women are PEOPLE, seeking acceptance, understanding, love, and relationships. None of these sinners are any more sinners than me, with my selfish, judgmental, over-indulgent, unbelieving ways. They are no more monsters that me, and the Church lets me teach their children, pass out their bulletins, and serve their food. All the while they would seek to shield their children’s eyes from women with unplanned pregnancies and homosexuals.
And on a shorter soapbox, I’m not convinced that the Church of the south can clearly see it’s past blind spots.
What about our eager participation in excessive American consumerism? Not that having things is necessarily the problem, but often we are undiscerning about the types of products we buy, from whom, and how those products (gadgets, food, toys, clothes, etc) came to be. As Christians we could probably do a better job at thinking about how our financial decisions are affecting bigger-picture injustices. For example, shopping at giant retail stores that drive out local businesses, don’t take care of their employees, use sweatshops overseas, etc.
I would say that there are a few areas that seem to be hidden from most Christians as a community: personal sins such as gluttony, vanity, and anger are often seen as less serious or important than sexual sins; human trafficking is on par with slavery of the past and happens in every community but is hardly ever mentioned in churches; the general conflation of conservative politics and unbridled capitalism with Biblical Christianity (I happen to be both conservative and a capitalist, but it is a system created by and operated by broken men just like any other and needs the church to stand firm as a check on immoral and unjust behavior); and I would agree with @keithasnow that consumerism and environmental carelessness both are rampant in especially middle-class Christianity.
But that is just my two cents 🙂
Like Rebecca, one of the first things that came to mind for me was sexual trafficking. But I also wonder about our adoption of “celebrity culture”, where we idolize certain preachers, singers, teachers, etc. This may be the hidden idolatry of the church.
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