, Research Paper
Christians Concerns for Social Justice
Since the beginning of time people have been concerned with social justice issues. Social justice is helping people using God’s love as a tool to do it. St. Catherine of Siena, and the prophet Isaiah, were two people who knew what social justice really meant and they were concerned with it. Also the Lutheran church is very concerned with different types of social justice issues. Through these three sources we are able to see the different types of social justice issues that arose in their times and through exploring them we will find out that they are not unlike the ones that exist today. Also we will find out that even though not all three of the sources are Christian they all act like the Christian church teaches us to in order to tackle social justice issues
Catherine of Siena grew up in Italy during the fourteenth century. Many things were happening at this time in the world, people had a lot of the same concerns about the future as we do today. The fourteenth century was a time of many wars, of famine, and of many sicknesses including the bubonic plague. Also church at this time was full of people who were losing faith, and it was spiting into two parts. They also had many of the same problems as we have today such as poverty, problems between ethnic groups, hunger, oppression, and homelessness. There was also corruption among the powerful just like today. This is why study Catherine of Siena because many of her concerns for the state of society and social justice issues are not unlike ours today.
One concern that Catherine has for society is she feels that self-centered love may destroy us and we must rid ourselves of it “You understand, therefore, dearest brothers and lords, how self-centered love destroys the city of soul, and also destroys and overturns our earthly cities”(Catherine 40). Catherine feels that there is a lot of selfishness in the world today and we must stop it before it destroys us. She also feels that selfishness will destroy our souls. It is like the devil working with in us. She also says that if something is not done soon about the selfishness in the world it will not only destroy our souls but also our cities. For instance, a selfish king will try to rule the world, and by trying to rule the world this king will probably destroy many people and cities along the way. Also a king that is selfish will never grow and if he never grows he won’t be able to help his people. Selfishness is just one concern that Catherine has for the state of society. If you think about we also have this concern. We would like people to be less selfish and help out others in order to have harmony in this world and to live out God’s will.
Another concern for society that Catherine has is she seems to think that people have trouble coping with there problems. We find this out by a letter that she wrote to her brother who was having some troubles in Italy. She tells us that all we have to do in order to get through hard times is be patient “I beg you, therefore, to hold the weapon of patience firmly so that you may receive benefit from all your troubles”(Catherine 21). As you can see Catherine sees patience as a weapon that can help you get through many things especially hard times. She knows that this is a difficult task so she gives three suggestions how this may be done. The most important and interesting one is ”Firstly, I want you to think about the shortness of live, for you are not certain even of tomorrow” (Catherine 21). This is a very good suggestion not only for the time of Catherine but also for us today. We all have hard times and if we are patient we will get through them. A good way to do this is to do what Catherine says, think about how short life really is and you will begin to see that your problem maybe isn’t so big. Catherine knew a lot about social justice issue and how to try to solve. Another person that was just a concerned with social justice issues and for the state of society was the phrophet Isiah.
Through God Isaiah was able to see some problems that God’s people were having. Isaiah the prophet lived in and around 500 B.C. during a time when Jerusalem was in turmoil. The book is broken up into the basic parts. The first Isaiah talks about a divided monarchy and the fall of the Israelites in the northern kingdom. The second Isaiah deals with exile. While the third Isaiah tells about the Israelites returning to Jerusalem form Babylon, rebuilding of the temple, and the reestablishment of the Torah. All three books show concern of social justice issues and the state of society.
One concern for society that Isaiah has is that God’s people are sacrificing things especially animals for an easy way out of their sins. He fears that the people are loosing their faith, and are just sinning and sacrificing because they can “What care for the number of sacrifices? Says the lord…Trample my courts no more! Bring no more offerings…”(Isaiah 1:11-13). Also Isaiah would like to see God’s people wash themselves clean of sin. Instead of sinning all the time they should do good in the world and by doing good in the world they will reap the benefits of the land “If you are willing, and obey, you shall eat the good things of the land”(Isaiah 1:19). Isaiah concern is a valid one because the people seem to being doing wrong and they will not fulfill god’s will and get into heaven if they don’t listen to him. Today we also have his concern. Maybe not in people losing faith but in people’s faith changing. For instance, I feel that we sometimes go from having lots of faith in god to having faith in some other person, or thing.
Another concern that Isaiah has is he feels that God’s people are worshiping false idols “Their land is full of idols; they worship the works of their hands, that which their fingers have made”(Isaiah 2:8). Worshipping false idols goes against one of the 10 commandments, which Moses brought to us. That commandment is that you are not supposed to worship anything but the one and only God. So Isaiah concern is valid because God’s people are worshiping material things, which is not what we are supposed to do. This happens a lot in today’s society, there are many people that worship their fancy cars, toys, houses or any other thing that you can think of. Both St. Catherine and Isaiah had concerns for the state of society and social justice issues in there own time. In today’s society the Luthern church has great concern for social justice issues along with concern for the state of society.
The Lutheran church seems to have a lot of concerns for society today. One concern that they have is the concern for the poor in Guatemala espically and also through out the world. When visiting the church I say a flyer on a mission trip going to Guatemala. On this mission trip the people that go on the trip would have to go and help build houses with the people that are going to live in them along with Habitat for Humanity. They are going to help out the poor so that seems to be one concern that the Lutheran church has. I feel that most people in today’s society have some concern for the poor and we show this by giving to charity’s and through volunteering to help out the needy.
Another concern for society that I found that the church has, I found out listening to the sermon. The Minster talked about violence and children. He talked about how we must start with our kids with the violence issue. We must teach are children to love on another as they love them selves. He also said that we should not let our children be subject to violence in the media and in film. Then he prophesied what would happen if we let our children to continue to learn violent ways. He said that this world would turn upside down and we would wonder how we got here. Then he went on talking about children. He talked about how important it is to show our children love. That if we show our children love and teach them good values they will turn out to be productive people in today’s society. Also that if we teach our children good values now the future generations of children will also be taught good values, and the world will become a place where we all can live in harmony together the way god wanted us to. Just like the minister said I feel that we must start with are children to solve a lot of the problems in this world. If you teach your children good values they will in turn teach their children good values and it will make the world a better place to live.
All three sources are concerned with social justice issues and have concerns for what is happing to their society. All three of them take slightly different approaches to this. For instance, Catherine of Siena is very active in what she does. She uses her love for god in order to gain acceptance in the church. She also tries to bring peace between the divided church of her time. The Lutheran church also takes an active role. Through giving mass and in the mass they teach the people that visit the church how to love one another. They also show through mission trips and volunteering how much the want to fix some of the social justice issues they feel that must be fixed. While Isaiah takes a silently different approach to social justice issues. He leads God’s people teaching them of their faults and telling them of God’s plan for them if they don’t fix their nasty ways. Both God and Isaiah feel that their people are not complying with God’s will. All three are leaders of there time and had great faith in God. Through being a leader and their faith in God they were able to identify many social justice issues and at least attempted to solve them. The Christian church is very involved in many social justice issues and the three sources St. Catherine of Siena, Isaiah and the Lutheran church are good examples of how the Christian church teaches us how social justice can be accomplished in the world.