For the past year, I’ve thought a lot about social justice in terms of education because of the classes I have taken. But more importantly, this has spurred me on to think deeply about what my response and responsibility, as a Christ follower, is to the injustices that I see all around me. There are a lot of people with a lot of ideas on how things should be done and who should be responsible and who should be in charge of making everything more “fair” or “equitable” or “equal” or “just.” I’ve seen the ways that political views weigh on many peoples’ perspective of social justice. But, what has troubled me is how the truth of Jesus Christ should be at the forefront of my passion and movement toward social justice – not my political views – and I’m not quite sure how to navigate all of these issues and perspectives and people and opinions and oh my goodness. It’s a lot.
I have zero answers and minimal insight, except to say that I am trying and that I am seeking. My heart stirs when we speak of social justice from societal and educational viewpoints. I know that there is something inside of me that desires to see justice in this world because of the ways that the Spirit lives in me and thus this is a characteristic of God that is now reflected in my heart.
I know that justice can be brought forward through my decisions on where/who/what to teach, but more importantly in how I teach – this is what I learn about in school. This is justice that can be brought forward when the “small,” “powerless,” “non-dominant,” “marginalized,” and “oppressed” people in society are given a chance to have their voices heard and opportunity to succeed in a society that so often seems to be scaled against them. (From my observations, this often seems to bring forth conversations that are largely political – how do we do this? Who is in charge? Who is responsible – the government? the people? Who is to blame? On and on those questions go. However, I’m not convinced that those questions are the most important.)
I know that there is something more than this – something more than politicalizing social justice and making it into a buzz word that people latch onto because it sounds good. There is something far deeper than just how the government should function and what citizens ought to do about all of these problems. The fact of the matter is that injustices exist because this world is broken. Everything else is simply (or complicatedly) a symptom of this brokenness. It’s a deep rooted issue that delves into the human condition and the state of this world.
I cannot fix the world’s brokenness. Nor can the government, or any privately owned organization, or any well meaning group of people. We. Cannot. Fix. This. Brokenness. We reach and grasp and long for a solution to injustice based off of human ability and power, when this is not even the question to be asked or the outcome needed.
I know in faith that Jesus is the One who has already come to fix our brokenness. He has provided the solution. He has paid the cost and He has already offered to heal and redeem the darkest parts of this world, this country, this culture, and these people. I know that the answer lies within Jesus. But, with this knowledge, what do I do?
Clearly, I am still at the start of my process and journey of understanding how social justice in terms of society and culture at this point in history fits into the ever constant and never changing person of Jesus Christ. I want to begin writing about these thoughts and issues even though my vocabulary or communication skills on these topics feel so limited and small compared to the vastness of problem. This is a way for me to practice voicing my thoughts and understandings – however undeveloped or small they may be – in responsible, respectful, and truthful ways.
Note: I have placed certain words in quotes – not as a way of trivializing them – but as a way to recognize the weight and diversity in the usage/understanding/definition of each of them.)