Rick Warren and Social Justice

There has been a real growth in the focus of Rick Warren’s ministry in the past 12 months or so.
He has publicly expressed regret at his inaction over the situation in Africa and other places, particularly in regard to Aids devastation.
This article is great, and merely reinforces my belief that Rick Warren is on the right track. He does not apologise for his conservative beliefs, but does put his faith and love into action. I love what he says here, “The New Testament says the church is the body of Christ, but for the last 100 years, the hands and feet have been amputated, and the church has just been a mouth. And mostly, it’s been known for what it’s against. … I’m so tired of Christians being known for what they’re against.”

Aint that the truth.
It reminds me of this line from U2, which I suspect is directed at churches,
“You speak of signs and wonders, But I need something otherI would believe if I was able,
But I’m waiting on the crumbs from your table”

Here is the bible reference. Matthew 15:21-27: Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

As a church grows and becomes strong, it can and should do more in this area. This is what secular people applaud when they see a church doing, and what Jesus called us to do when He said, “as you have done for the least of these, you have done for me”

Rick Warren Interview

5 thoughts on “Rick Warren and Social Justice”

  1. Hey Mark, it has been great to see Rick taking leadership in this area, and certainly something that’s been growing in my consciousness.

    As you say, ‘as a church grows and becomes strong’. The question is always when that is. Trying to juggle global missions, local missions and compassion as a small church that hasn’t done any very well is tricky. Probably should only tackle one at a time, but there you go.

    Just wondering if Beddy is doing anything at the moment and how it works. Just asking because you’re a church that’s not too much bigger, albeit a bit more established, than us! Picking your brains 🙂

  2. Lets cut through the fat to the heart of the matter – in the western world and particularly the USA the Christian Church is actively and positively engaged against social justice.

    As just one example – not content with having denied homosexuals the word marriage (and I have no problem with that – but I think the history of marriage doesn’t support the position adopted by the Church)it is and has been actively involved in trying to deny basic human rights to homosexuals.

    There is a lot of work to be done before Church and Social justice can sit in the same sentence without strong irony.

    Publicly leading the charge against social justice undoes very effectively all the fantastic work done to address and deal with social issues such as poverty and disadvantage.

  3. I think the issue here is making a generalised statement about the “Western Church”
    Rick and Kaye Wareen have come out and said they are sorry for the inaction of their own Church in the past. They are doing a lot of very good work for those suffering from HIV and do not discriminate in any way against those suffering from this disease because of sexual choices.

    There are many churches which are judgmental and pharisaical in their attitudes, but I dont think you can level this claim at Saddleback. They are certainly not “trying to deny basic human rights to homosexuals”, even if they do not agree with their lifestyle choices.

  4. It seems Christians are happy that non-Christians can have civil unions (and even call them Marriage!!!!!!!!!!) provided they are hetrosexual.

    But homosexual couples can’t call a civil union marriage, and really shouldn’t get the same legal rights as marriage either. Is this because Christians consider homosexuals less than human beings?

    Mark suggests Saddleback is all for human rights – so do they unequivocally advocate the recognition of same sex civil unions, and boldy be consistent by allowing them to be called marriage?

    That is should the absence of God from a marriage be more significant than the genetics of the participants?

    Does any Christian Group in Australia either advocate for same sex civil unions (with all the legal rights afforded to marriage) or actively oppose civil unions for partners of opposite sexes?

  5. Not surprising this thread is to be lost in blog history but an update:

    Andrew Lynch from the Gilbert & Tobin Centre for Public Law at the University of NSW observed in The Age:

    Gay marriage is a topic that is not going away any time soon. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission is holding an inquiry to chart the extent to which same-sex couples are disadvantaged under Australian law. There is no doubt that such couples get a raw deal compared with their heterosexual friends who are married or in de facto relationships…

    Just some of the areas include the taxation system, social security benefits and worker’s compensation…

    It is not really clear how much of this discrimination is the result of a definite policy or just a failure to update legislation in line with growing community acceptance of same-sex relationships. While it is rare these days to find laws that talk about “husbands” and “wives”, many statutes still use gender-specific language when discussing couples, be they married or de facto. The effect, however, is to exclude people whose partner is of the same sex…

    We might think then that the solution to whatever the HREOC inquiry turns up is a simple one. Instances of discrimination against same-sex couples could be eliminated by statutory amendment on a case-by-case basis. But even taking this step would not amount to true equality in the recognition of same-sex relationships. It might, at best, put those couples on the same footing as other de facto relationships.

    While these days the position of heterosexual de facto couples approximates that of married couples, the two are not simply equivalent under the law…

    But while heterosexuals can avoid these disabilities by affirming their relationship for legal purposes through marriage, this is not an option for same-sex couples. Even wide-ranging statutory change that puts same-sex relationships on a par with de facto relationships fails to guarantee true and complete equality.

    I’m failing to spot the overwhelming religious issue in that newspaper summary, perhaps it is just Christians clinging the best they can to a ‘stone them and don’t spare the women and children’ mentality.

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