Friday, June 8, 2007

Social Healing

So, I am thinking about what social justice is all about and what my role in that is as a Christ follower. I have heard a lot of different opinions and what I am currently considering is the following:

What does God's justice look like?
-healing... maybe?
-atonement for our sins required Jesus to die... this probably means that social healing and justice will be messy and require sacrifice...

I say this because if we are trying to live by grace maybe it is asking the question, what does the world need? Is it as simple as Jesus. or is the word Jesus loaded in more ways then we can comprhend??

I am not saying that I have the answer to these questions at all, but I think its more complicated than I would like it to be.
*what is the cutoff between the physical and the spiritual? is there one? how does transformation occur in the big picture of things?

-Do homeless people need homes? Wasn't Jesus homeless? how do cultural norms play into this?
-What does it look like to care for widows and orphans? Does this mean taking them in? Does this mean meeting their physical needs? Where does the healing come in?
-When do we start asking people what they want v. what we want to give them? What is our role in providing services for people that we can't completely identify with? Are we attempting to make people more like us or more like Jesus?
-How did Jesus meet needs?
-Jesus asked people to sell everything they had and give it to the poor. Wouldn't this create more poor people?

My list of questions goes on and on, but I think that justice and healing cannot be separated. The gospel must remain at the heart of social justice/healing or else I beleive we start trying to figure everything out instead of relying on faith.

Thats all for now.


Jeramie Mullis said...

hmm. great thoughts traci.

about the posting more than once a day thing... i'll have to check the blogger handbook to see if it's prohibited. probably not though

(i may have just broken a blog rule by commenting about a post on a completly different post. i know, i'm a rebel)

but the question that stuck out to me the most was, "How did Jesus meet needs?"

I think it might be worth doing some studying to dig seeper into how Jesus interacted with people in need. I mean, I think I have an idea of how he might have done it, but even if i did i'm not sure how much it impacts the way i interact with people.

Anonymous said...

i want to be in on that study!!

It is frustrating that we are not given a formula for helping. I mean, if people didn't have nice homes and food, Jesus wouldn't hvae had places to stay and he certainly didn't hesitate to accept people's hospitality!!

I also know that God is all about beauty!! Look at the world he created. he certainly didn't have to go in to so much detail or give us such an abundant variety. We could go our whole life explring just the beauty he provided for us to enjoy and care for and not have enough time for that!

I too, wonder, if we're helping people ( in America) towards American middle class values or helping them towrds Jesus...that;s why ministry in places like Africa seems so much more appealing.

The most, at peace,(Holy Spirit type of peace) I feel is when i am truly living one day at a time..fully in the present and available for those around me both giving and recieving, and that is only possible when I don't schedule myself too full!! Of course, because i allow myself this Spirit filled life style, my husband has to work really hard in the 'real world' so we have something to give!!!!!

It IS complicated. Jesus didn't seem to worry so much, and he never seemed to be in a hurry. Do you guys get that sense?

Tomorrow night I'm having three girls from the PCC spend the night. Pray that they see Jesus and not our 'stuff'.

Jesus is all about healing and forgiving and wrenchingly personal dramas! I like that. I like Jesus a lot more than i like Paul...I'm glad Jesus didn't have Paul's personality... but that's another post!!

love, the mom

jason said...

i love reading the thoughts.. a constant struggle... I just want to do what Jesus did/wants me to do/would do?!?!?!? does that mean I shouldn't own a home.. DANG IT!!!! I am sooo freakin' lost sometimes!!!!

multiposting is allowed as long as husband is happy and school work is up to date...

much love and peace,


traci said...

thanks guys! I do think I am going to look more closely in how Jesus interacted with people in need (but wasn't everyone he interacted with in some type of need)... oh gosh, this is getting complicated again!

But, I was looking at the story in Jacob's well with the Samaritan woman, this was more a spiritual need, but Jesus started the conversation asking her for some water.... he asked her to help him to get the convo going. I thought that was interesting.

As soon as I have more ideas on where I go from here, I will post on them.

Matt and I are off to run in the Race for the Cure

Anonymous said...

I know my relationship with Behtany (the girl I mentor for those not in 'the know') has blossomed only because i have 'called her in to service' with me. As she said. "No one's ever needed me to do anything before. i feel important when i'm with you and helping you." Bethany helps me with puppet shows etc. in Children's Cahpel. She's also had to strech herself HUGELY in courteousness to kids she finds annoying and in sharing 'me'. As I have come to know her and other PCC kids, they have made comments like...."I'm not doing that" (a quality tutoring program to help them improve their reading skills) "that's just more rich people trying to make themselves feel good." Basically..they don't want education. most of them) because it's never been vaued in their homes and their parents hated school and people in authority. They want color tv and good cars..which many of them can get through the system. It seems to me that we have to give them a 'taste' of joyful all it's facets..tap in to their gifts and walk with them as they learn to use them with confidence.
I think the question Jesus asked.. Do you want to be healed? comes in there somewhere... and what does that healing mean? how do we picture these people with transformed lives? That's a challenge to me. I think we make a mistake to point all kids to college...teaching them a trade would be good...those teaching along side them could be Christians. modeling a Christ filled life and earning the right to be heard(There's a girl at the center who can barely read. We took her to volunteer at an old folks home and she was terrific with them. I'd like to work with that but she's so frustrated in school I think she's going to get pregant so she doesn't have to go any more!!)(she's had her free v.d. 'shot' after all. She's in 7th grade) I think we have to accept that a lot of people don't want to be healed and that we should walk away in love...leaving an open door but walk toward people who do want healing.The thing about this kind of work (one on one type thing) is that it's big programs helping tons of people...and if we don't really like the person or person we are helping we are very likely to sink to self roghtous judgement. those attitudes aremy big warning sign that I need to do something differnt, hold someone accountable, or walk away, i only hvae room (emotionally) for ONE Bethany in my life and that can be overwhelming at times.(But what if everyone had 'one' Bethany and we all got together and prayed for one another and hung out with our 'mentor' kids and we all form a loving community and help the kids establish friendships within boundaries....

So in our gospel story for this week. jesus sees a woman crying because her son died. His HEART goes out to her and he raises her son from the dead. I've got the HEART part down but the riaisng from the dead thing I'm having a little trouble with.

love, mom

Anonymous said...

Hi again.. i promise I won't keep taking so much space on your blog, Traci.. but i realized my negativity wasn't very encouraging, so i'd like to give a shout to the Lord for what He has done (!!!) in my relationship(s) at the PCC and with Bethany.I had no control over any of these things!!

I went from being another 'rich white lady' to 'one of them' when I was out walking with a group of kids and my 'drug using' (at that time) brother drove by in his Taxi cab and honked. ( i hadn't seen him in 6 months) "Your brother's a taxi driver. That's SO cool." That's all it took. i was in.

I had to take a break from Bethany and her family for several months because I was grieving and freaked out about a murder/ suicide incident in our extended family. Kelly (Bethany's mom) was one of the few people i told of this becuase i needed her to know why I wasn't calling etc. for awhile.

I got back on track and kept up my visits with the girls.Kelly trusts no one and had been very hesitant about me at first. Then the murder/suicide took place in their lives and guess who they trusted?David did the legal work for them so they could didn't get ripped off from the dad's estate. matt and Traci drove to South Carolina and met us with a big moving truck and helped them move stuff out of the dad's house.

I really wanted Bethany to be in a grief group that met at our church last summer..but her mom wouldn't sign the consent form. (doesn't trust counselors)I was so bummed. Then she started at a new school..turns out her counselor at school taught Corey and traci Sunday School and he took a special interest in Bethany and got her in a grief group without having to have her mom's signature. the group REALLY helped Bethany. Also turns out all of Bethany's sixth grade teachers are Christians who meet regularily to pray for the kids and they lift up Bethany and her family all the time.

Corey's old football coach is the new principal at the school and he made it easy for Bethany's older sister to get back in school and get her G.E.D.

I take Bethany to church with me. (30 minutes from her home)Turns out her grief group counselor and the secretary from her old school, go to our church..recognize and reach out to her and tell me they have been praying for Bethany for years.

Another girl her agae befriends Bethany at church. Both of her parents are doctors who do work at the free clinic downtown. They take a special interest in Bethany and help me out with rides to church and youth group etc.

Bethany is still at the precipice of accepting Jesus as her lord and Savior. She does devotions with me and prays and says she "feels closer to God" but she's afraid to trust completely cause she "might scream!!" So keep praying out there. there's lots more God is doin but i guess i wrote enough!!! He just doesn't seem to be in a hurry and i'm learning as much as Bethany!!! okay- i promise that's it!!

love, the mishna

traci said...

Wow! Mom those are wondeful insights.

The next story in John right after the woman at the well is when Jesus asks the crippled man if he wants to be healed. This interaction is kind of bazar though because after that the crippled man gives an excuse about how he can't get into the healing water and then Jesus says, "pick up your mat and walk", but its the sabbath and righteous people get mad... but the man picks up his mat and walks, and then later Jesus sees him in the temple and tells him to stop sinning or worse things may happen to him... I'm not sure what that means either.

Maybe when Jesus heals us he is not content to just leave us healed in the same place we were, but calls to change and move forward as followers of him so that we can be agents of healing as well.

For me, to keep myself from becoming judgemental and self righteous is means constantly going back to what Jesus has done for me and recognizing who I am in chirst and who I would be without christ.

Pretty interesting stuff.

traci said...

if we ever think that God is done with us, thats when we are in trouble.

Anonymous said...

Amen sister!! I mean- daughter!! love, mom

Corey Paxton said...

healing justice, i like that phrase

the first thing is justice is a relational term in the Old Testament and flows out of God's heart because the Trinity relates to Himself with perfect power relationships

the way God created the universe reflects His being in right relationship, harmony in creation, and pinnacled in male and female in his image

since the fall, God has pursuing the world to put it backs to rights and this will finally come one day fully because it comes out of God's very being and heart

Jesus ushered in the just reign of God that would be reflected in communities that live by His way of justice, seeking it in our own lives and for the cities he places us in

justice and righteousness are synomous through the Scriptures; it is about expressing God's character of the right exercise of power in our decisions, lives, and communities

shalom is to seek the way of justice, healing, well-being for the community and city we are placed within

shema (dt 6:4-6, Mt 22:34-39)- core of the law- greatest command- justice starts with listening and loving

your questions are a good place to start, i just think you have to give up saying- what is the right way to care for this....? and listen and respond to God by asking these kinds of questions with others, and to begin listening more attentively in the community and places God puts us; as we listen, then we can really respond

who has God put me around- who are the marginalized, the disempowered, the lost, the forgotten about in our lives, in our city, in our world and how can we be a sign of God's reign to them?

people like to think of justice as JUST going to help the poor, but justice is about the servant power of Jesus being expressed in all of our relationships- what does healing justice look like in your work place? marriage?

also, i think you are right to go back to Jesus' life, because His life is our model, our imitatio, may he lead us to be signs of His reign