Making Peace with Proximate Justice... Revisited

Nearly two years ago I posted about a speech that Steve Garber gave at Geneva called Making Peace with Proximate Justice.  (Long title, I know, but kind of catchy at the same time.)

It was a good lecture.

And like so many of Garber's words, it's been percolating in my mind since then.  (Sidenote:  this does not apply to the speech that he gave at my graduation, which I remember practically nothing of.  Now that's what I call ironic!)  He asked a lot of good questions about culture and justice and our roles during that evening speech; here are two that struck me as core to think about.

Can you know the world and still love the world?

Does Christianity provide the answer to the complexity of these problems?

I believe that Christianity is, in fact, the only way that an answer is provided to these complex problems.  I believe that you can know the world and love it -- when that love is grounded in knowing and loving God first.

But I still find myself wrestling with the concept of making peace with proximate justice.  I don't want a proximately good world, I want a perfect world.  I want to be working in the perfect role in bringing a perfect world.

My roommate and I were talking today about problems with the prison system in America, dreaming of potential alternatives.  At the end of the conversation, I'm thinking, what good is my dreaming about these things if I'm not willing to give up other dreams to pursue solutions to these problems that I can see?

But I also think, Why am I not back in China teaching?

And, Shouldn't I stick around close to home?  What are my responsibilities as a daughter, a sister?

And, What about grad school?

And, How do I faithfully use and grow the gifts that God has given me?

And then I think -- 哎呀,我不知道,怎么办? Oh, I don't know, what should I do?

It was easy to listen to Garber talk about making peace with proximate justice.  More difficult to figure out what that looks like in my own life.  How can I be content with something that isn't totally right?  What does that really mean -- to be content in God and fully trust Him, yet to remain conscious of how broken the world is and to strive towards something better?

(Stained glass is beautiful even when it's marred...)

So, I don't really have any new thoughts about how to really do this.  I expect that how it plays out in everyone's life is going to look different, that the guidelines in Micah 6:8 are about as specific as it can get.  Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.  

I'm guessing that hammering out what that looks like in my own life is part of growing up.


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