Tag Archives: justice

Hot takes and social media blurbs don’t lead to understanding.

I think my new approach to many of the issues of our day is going to be to reserve judgment until I know more, and I encourage you, reader, to do the same.

We can’t take our cues from hot takes and scare words on social media. We don’t gain understanding that way. That is the way of reactivity. And we should be cautious about taking one person’s word for it on any subject, especially if they are already in our “camp” and even more especially if they aren’t qualified to comment.

Instead, read widely and deeply about the things the world is talking about—not necessarily to get on board, but to try to understand different perspectives, to think more critically about them (which is not the same as criticizing or rejecting them), and to develop some empathy for those with a different point of view than yours. If, for example, you don’t know what “cultural Marxism” or “critical race theory” is or you wonder about “social justice”, then don’t use those words as if you do know what they mean. And if the only place you’ve learned something about those things is on social media, then you still don’t know what those things are well enough to have an informed opinion or to comment on them.

I include myself in the category of not knowing enough. So, for example, I have bought an introductory book about critical race theory. I bought it not because I’m on board with the idea, but because I want to have a deeper understanding of it so that I can make an accurate assessment of it—one based on knowledge rather than fear and/or sound bites and/or misinformation. I need to approach this subject and any other with an open mind (I might learn something), humility (I might be wrong), and with a critical eye (are there gaps or problems in this argument?). I may accept it or reject it or something in between, but I can’t do that until I’ve sought to understand it below the surface of what we see bandied about online.

And above all, I need to remember that while technically these things are abstract ideas, it is human beings who hold these views and human beings who are affected by acceptance or rejection of these views. So love and gentleness need to be the key ingredient in my thinking about and engaging these ideas.

I’d like that to be my approach for any number of words and ideas that are being thrown around social media and the news these days. But I only have so much time and energy, so I will do what I can, and for the rest I will say, “I reserve judgment until I know more about it.” That might mean I’ll never know enough about something to have an informed opinion about it. And that’s okay, too. We don’t need to have an opinion about everything and we certainly don’t need to share an opinion on social media about everything.

On justice and judgment

From Andre:

A further thought on justice – because it’s on my mind and is integral to understanding judgment:

Traditional Hell is not justice. It is merely torture to no end. The biblical idea of justice does not mean punishment to no end – it means making things right. It is restorative. The notion of restoration does not proceed from human thinking but has come to us through the expression of God’s character. Only God has to the power to truly make everything right, and he has promised that he will. Punishment that is not restorative is not a godly notion, but a human one. Anyone can do it. But in Christ, who neither condemned the woman caught in adultery, nor the schemers who dragged her before him, we have been shown a better way. Conviction and return to God are better than condemnation and destruction. (link)

Interestingly, I was reading Elizabeth Achtemeier’s Preaching the Hard Texts of the Old Testament tonight and she mentioned that the Hebrew word used for “judge” is also often used for “save”.  There may be some correlation there, though I realize in Greek (the language of the New Testament) it might be a different story.

Discuss.

(Incidentally, the quote above was tacked on the end of a good review of Gregory MacDonald’s The Evangelical Universalist, which I have yet to finish reading.  That’s what I get for all the browsing I do.)

(And one of these days I’ll post something original.)