A Peaceful Perspective... June 6, 2011

June 6, 2011, Volume 3, Number 17 Online at http://anisa.org.za/

Anabaptism is a biblical, Christian-faith movement that embraces the life, teachings, and witness of Jesus Christ and strives to embody these as normative in the everyday Christian walk.

Column: Don’t just do something, be

As a practical theologian, and teaching at an institution that values the practical actualization of the kingdom of God in feeding the hungry, tending to the sick and advocating for the widows and orphans, I have always eschewed ivory tower academia and pulpit sermonizing. However, I am becoming more and more aware of the danger of passionate calls to social action when they go something like, “don’t just talk about the problems, do something,” or, “don’t make the issue more complex than it has to be by over-analyzing it, just act!” Even more so when calls to action play on people’s guilt (especially middle-class guilt: “think of the starving children in Ethopia”) or are supported by insufficient or spurious facts and figures (lies, damned lies and statistics). This kind of thing happens on both the right and left of the religious and political spectrum. Calls to action from the right tend to be against personal sin (abortion, homosexuality, pornography; usually somehow related to sex) and from the left they tend to be against social sin (racism, sexism, economic injustice; usually somehow related to power and money).
In both cases they concern important issues (even if one may disagree with positions taken), but my discomfort is firstly, that exhortations are to act against particular people or institutions (whoever is to blame: the government, the corporation, the media) instead of empowering people to self-criticism and personal change, and secondly, that simplistic solutions are offered that one should act on now. more >>
Source: ANiSA News