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Grace….in economic justice

November 10, 2011

Due to the end of the trimester grading and some teacher training, my kids were out of school Thursday, allowing us to go to a mid-week church meeting on Wednesday evening where the pastor was talking through some of the more common sticking points that non believers have with Christianity in general and traditional reform Protestanism in particular.

One primary sticking point?  Why would God only choose SOME to be saved and not give EVERYONE a chance…if He is a LOVING God….well, you know the rest. It’s the classic position of universalism and those who can’t manage to work out the proof for E=MC2 but say things such as “If God doesn’t explain everything to my satisfaction so I understand why the world works a certain way – then I’m not budging and not believing“, with no sense of irony whatsoever…

What does theology have to do with economic justice? This statement by Megan McArdle in the Atlantic is similar to the nature of the theological concept of grace….

The German people feel that it is not fair that they should be asked to pay for the bloated public sectors of nations where tax avoidance is an Olympic event.  The Greeks feel that they should not be asked to take a 40% paycut so that a bunch of rich Germans don’t have to bail out their banks.  …. 

I am very much afraid that the euro zone is about to plunge us into phase two of the global financial crisis–and that as with the Great Depression, phase two may be even worse than the dismal years we’ve just endured.    In search of fairness, we may all get a lot more justice than any of us really wants.

 Grace: you do NOT get the justice you have fairly earned, because the penalty YOU earned was willingly taken by someone who did NOT deserve your punishment.  

In the case of economic justice, the penalties and solutions that so many are calling for would cause those individuals AND many others incredible damage…”yeah kids! Our ancestors protested for economic justice so we can all have 12th century disease, no running water and live in shantytowns policed by gangs and thugs!” And historians wondered how the Europeans “forgot” running water centuries after the Romans managed to built aquaducts….

 As Ellen pointed out in her comment to my last post – this life isn’t fair, very often to our disadvantage. I would add – the next life isn’t fair either – hopefully that time to our advantage.  Echoing Megan’s stagement: In search of fairness, we may all get a lot more justice than any of us really wants. (Ref: Matthew 18:21-35)

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