Later this year, I will be spending a few days with a group of Conservative Christians. It’s meant to be a social event, and the organisers have asked me not to be provocative. This is a group of people who largely think that “social justice Christian” is an insult, so it is going to be tough. I think there is a plan to do daily devotions, and I am starting to prepare something in case I am asked to lead one. But I am struggling to find something to share from the Bible which doesn’t get me in trouble for talking about politics and the state of the world.
Here’s a summary of the Bible you might not hear in your church, but you should:
Genesis: God gets mad over and over at humanity for being cruel to foreigners, for being uncaring to the poor, for war and for being nationalistic.
Exodus: God frees captives and guides refugees to new lands.
Leviticus: Jubilee is explained: redistribute all wealth every 49 years.
Numbers/Deuteronomy: Take care of widows and orphans, and don’t oppress foreigners.
Judges: Don’t get trapped in cycles of abuse and neglect.
Ruth: We discover that Jesus is descended from a poor immigrant who worked in the fields (and did sexual favours with Boaz to get his attention).
Samuel/Kings/Chronicles: Rulers who love their armies and their trade wars more than they love the poor will doom us all. We can all see who the good leaders are, and who the bad ones are. The bad ones mess up the country quite quickly (they are not really tools that God uses to bring good).
Job: People who claim to talk for God might be speaking complete nonsense.
Esther: Use whatever guile you can to stop genocidal plots.
The Prophets: Stop being horrible to poor people or God will destroy you.
The Gospels: A refugee community organizer and teacher gets wrongfully killed by the state and starts a whole movement to bring down power structures and redistribute wealth for everyone forever.
The Apostles letters: Two strong groups, Jews and Gentiles, with different ethnic and cultural histories, are to come together to form a new community based on breaking down walls of diversity and finding their common humanity in Christ.
The Revelation: Every nation, tribe and tongue stand together in diverse unity.
I think I’ll have to skip the devotions if they want me to present something that doesn’t talk about the world we live in. 😉