Sunday, June 04, 2006

Social Justice...

"The first impulse toward a sense of justice may be pity for someone, but ultimately the feeling of justice is love for the truth. In life's difficult cases, however, a person who dispenses with pity may become so confused in the search for a formula to attain the good that he reaches the most ruthless and unjust conclusions. Such was socialism in practice...Whole lot of theory, little action and ruthless methods to keep power...Let us imagine a man not disposed to theorize about life, holding a loaf of bread at a train station, a hungry child comes to him and says: 'mister may i have some bread?' the man breaks a piece and gives to the child, soon after him another child comes, he does the same, then another and another, and soon the loaf is gone and he must tell the next one that you must go and find a loaf somewhere else. There is another possibility, another man sits with a loaf of bread and a child comes and asks him for some. The man gives him a piece, yet another child comes and soon the man realizes that there will be no bread left but seeing that the need is great the man stirred by the magnitude and nobility of the task, hides his loaf and begins to calculate and theorize about how to help all the children. He is advancing his mission of helping children, but his inner drive has changed direction. Now he no longer notices the children who approach him. He even pushes them away. And he feels neither pity nor shame because, after all he is making an effort for their own good. Now the real children only interfere with his assistance to the theoretical children...of the two men who acted more correctly? "- Fazil Iskander (Remaking Russia, voices within.) Is there another possibility, who is right? ( side note that hypothetical men could be women...this is not the issue) Is our social justice, rooted in pity and theory as we focus on the injustices and theorize and whine, but do nothing to help in immediate settings? Is the church operating this way or is it a blessing to the hungry children? Can social justice at its best even exist in capitalist pursuit of wealth, and prosperity? Doing some reading in the reforms of my motherland and the clash of culture and mentality is also having a clash with my own culture and mentality...so just thinking out loud...

2 comments:

Sarah Gingrich said...

Dear Pavel,
Can certainly identify with this. As a missionary, it's very easy to put energies into lofty, sweeping dreams of taking all of the needy under the wing of the church, bringing them to wholeness spiritually and physically, but certainly quite more difficult is to take in a man to sleep on your couch when you had planned a quiet evening reading on the aforementioned couch, and now you find yourself washing his clothes. Certainly victory lies in dreaming, planning, and broadstrokes of goodwill, yet even more I believe God is delighted with the small obediences, the trivial acts done with a cheerful heart. Such things change men, and such men change the world.

Paul Morgun said...

Thanks for these words Sarah, I believe these small obediences are really the BIG ones...