A Case for Social Justice

I keep wondering if women are included in this, thought. I also wonder if men will enter the Kingdom first, and then, only then, women will follow . It will also be interesting to see how certain men (aka the discriminators) will handle the nefarious situation of having women around certainly being treated properly buy the Divine Guests. This will be hard! :thinking:

Is this what you mean?.. LOL
Image result for images head in the sand

Based on some comments about social justice, it seems that it may still take a long time for true social justice to be materialized in Adventism… :roll_eyes:


This is an interesting point, we are all waiting for the day in which Jesus will institute perfect justice and repay us all according to our deeds. But there is another difference between the Jewish and Adventist “chosen people” psyche. The Jewish thought then and still do today that God chose them on the basis of their genetics and that it made them superior to everyone else. We believe that God calls everyone but the few that respond in faith (just like Abram did) become His people;; this is not preferential but rather equal opportunity.

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What I wish to convey is the claim of entitlement remains the same, whether it is based on genetics or on faith just as much as a child of the parents is a child, whether he be adopted or be their biological child. Agree?

Thanks for proving my point, that the way our church views social justice is deferred in the future instead of here and now.


I had agreed with your second point, I think it is a valid perpective, about the sense of entitlement however I hope it is an exception, not the mainstream SDA belief, and certainly not what you get when one reads EGW.

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Interesting topic. I’ve also wondered why Adventists were not more engaged in social justice, which in my opinion is part of the work Jesus left us to do. Jesus made an effort to show us that he did not view marginalized people as unworthy of his attention and care through stories like the good Samaritan, the woman at the well, Zaccheus, healing the leper, the woman caught in adultery, casting out demons and the prodigal son (a story which counters much of what Adventism stands for).

My understanding of how the early SDA church viewed social movements of all kinds is that EGW was largely opposed to the church attaching itself too much to anything that might take time or energy away from the primary goal of spreading the three angels’ messages. I wonder if this has contributed to a continuing focus on the evangelism of our peculiar beliefs rather than more practical actions to help others. After all, though the history of the SDA church seems long in some ways (many generations have passed) it is very short and we are still living in the shadow of the founders.

As a child in my SDA school and at church I was taught that we should help and care for those who were in need, but was rarely given much opportunity to act on this teaching. As a woman I was taught to serve and I served and served. But all of that service was for fellow Adventists (mostly child Adventists :wink:). I can list the times during my school years when I was taken to do anything for anyone outside the SDA church on the fingers of one hand. Easily. Those experiences are very memorable and incredibly meaningful. They were just so rare.

In the last ten years I’ve been exposed to a another denomination which is highly oriented toward what would likely be termed social justice. My children have attended their schools. In middle school my son went weekly to a city homeless shelter or a county home for the disabled. During high school both children have had countless opportunities to be involved in community service, beyond the typical requirements. (One opportunity is spending their school breaks living and working with disadvantaged children at a church-run school in a large eastern city. The school’s focus is on providing an environment where very poor inner city children learn and then can gain admission to college.) Sermons are generally expositions on a verse in the Bible and often turn toward the practicalities of emulating Jesus in our everyday lives. From the pulpit announcements are made about the ways that the church is involved in aid to the community during the week—and this aid is focused particularly on those most in need. The difference between this church’s view of helping others and the SDA view is noticeable. The goal of Adventist outreach is usually to try to gain believers.

At the end of the day Adventists are overly focused on themselves. There is an overemphasis on correct personal behavior. Sermons warn parishioners that they are modern day Laodiceans, leading to more self examination. Being the Remnant is made so important. Go figure then that the denomination struggles to see a role for itself in working on the behalf of others.


Do you think that Academic commentary on these issues is without merit?

Looking at it through my eyes won’t teach you anything, Alan. Sometimes you have to actually open your own in order to learn.


Yeah, I know…

Americans have thankfully given more to charity because they can see with their own eyes the fact that people don’t get access to the level of welfare in most other Western democracies.

The truth is always nuanced and somewhere in between the typical left and right view but the fact is that the US is riddled with inequities, particularly in health and education that are much more pronounced than elsewhere.

For many people, depending on their zip code, would have much better chances of getting ahead in many other Western countries.
For instance, the difference in the quality of schooling from one county to the next is appalling.

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No but it has developed such a highly stratified
grievance Olympics or intersectionality points system that is blind to reality.

The white poor of Appalachia are automatically more privileged than urban black professionals.

The recent author of a book about her escape from the Westboro Baptist sect is lauded for her courage (particularly as a strong woman) but people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali are rejected for escaping even worse evils because, as white Westerners, we are barred from criticising aspects of another culture or religion. So perversely a black Somali woman’s story of courage is rejected by the SJW movement on the left and to the right, she needs constant security to protect her from conservative Islam.

As I said, Alan. If you really want to learn you have to see things for yourself. It appears that your pursuit in that regard to date has some major areas lacking. I urge you to go outside the box narrative you’ve created and allow yourself to be challenged by concepts and ideas that heretofore you’ve been afraid to engage. You might learn something other than the party line.

You might also learn not to engage in the type of unloving conduct that only us fools are supposedly engaged in… :wink:

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Do you think that’s the case with the majority of Academia, or do you think it’s mainly the loudest voices amplified by the media as a click bate?

Again, these extreme positions are not the mainstream academic though, which tends to be much more moderate than that.

There are extreme minority of left that wouldn’t align with her on the basis of their view that the “Islamophobic West” is running imperialist campaigns that targets that religion.

In fact, she is a darling of the New Atheist movement, including Dawkins, Harris, and the late Hitchens… and the broader range of atheists who are leaning left.

At large though, majority of the criticism of her comes from Islamic institutions in the US and worldwide, which position themselves in the left largely because the right side is occupied by Christian evangelicals.

Again, you seem to take a view that simply because criticism exists from the left… then it means that left are all X or Y. Much of the US Muslims try to avoid conflating moderate Muslims in the west with extremism in countries where it’s a dominant religion that structures legal scope of what Muslims believe and do.

Wouldn’t that be the very identity politics black-and-white mentality that you are campaigning against?

This comment confused me.

I had posted about Capitalism being the most successful system at bringing people out of poverty, and you said I better not look to closely, lest I see something that might upset my apple cart.

No evidence that some other system is better etc.

Now you say there are some major things lacking in my thinking on this matter, and I should entertain concepts that I have been afraid to engage so far. Is that it?

Your comments do seem a bit condescending to me, but yes, I do on occasion use a bit of snark, unloving as you say. But you guys come across as fairly sure of yourselves without engaging in a conversation. Note George’s picture of the guy with head in the sand.

Capitalism is the best system. it is not perfect. But it has brought billions out of poverty, and has done what no other system has been able to do.

Here is a section from an article: Extreme Poverty Rates Plummet Under Capitalism

Capitalism and Exploitation

“Fair enough, there may have been some low-hanging fruit when regular households didn’t have the things we now take for granted. But in more recent history, the forces of unrestrained liberalism are actually hurting the most vulnerable. Maybe not in the United States and other advanced countries, but certainly in poorer countries that are often exploited in international affairs.”

On the contrary, this too gets the facts backwards. As the World Bank reports, the global rate of “extreme poverty” (defined as people living on less than $1.90 per day) was cut in half from 1990 to 2010. Back in 1990, 1.85 billion people lived in extreme poverty, but by 2013, the figure had dropped to 767 million—meaning the number of those living on less than $1.90 per day had fallen by more than a billion people. (end note)

These people were in India and China S. America and Africa. Capitalism has been hugely successful.

It was not socialism that brought them out, or Communism (the Chinese have adopted a Capitalistic system with a communist govt system), but capitalism.

But I am willing to have my apple cart upset. You might read the whole article before you show me how unenlightened I am…

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I could not find the exact reasons why Americans give. They are the most, or nearly the most generous in the world, and by far give an amount that is the most. Here is an account of a migrant:

Years ago, an MBA student of mine had immigrated from Albania after growing up under Communism. She shared with her classmates what she observed to be the most unexpected mindset difference between Americans and Albanians.

She got emotional as she explained how in Albania, charity was rare—caring for anyone other than yourself and your family was uncommon. In contrast, she experienced Americans as generous and caring.

My student described how exasperated she felt hearing the claim that capitalism leads to a survival of the fittest mentality. In her experience, it was the opposite; under communism, the mindset was to not care for others.

Here is what Americas give to:

Furthermore, Americans’ generosity is directed to an extraordinarily broad spectrum of causes. Eight of the nine types of charitable subsectors tracked by the Giving USA Foundation saw substantial increases in 2017: religious charities (up 2.9 percent), education (up 6.2 percent), human services (up 5.1 percent), health organizations (up 7.3 percent), public-society benefit organizations (up 7.8 percent), organizations that promote the arts, humanities and culture (up 8.7 percent), environmental and animal welfare organizations (up 7.2 percent) and foundations (up 15.5 percent).

We are a much more diverse nation than most others western nations. That explains much.

A very interesting article in the NYT, “Money Race and Success: How Your School District Compares” April 29, 2016. This was an excellent study. Educational inequality is not a simple matter to fix.

No matter what, the white students did better than black and Hispanic, even when socio-economic factors were the same.

I think single parent families have a terrible disadvantage no matter what.

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"At the end of the day Adventists are overly focused on themselves."

Yes…it is the push and pull of simultaneously achieving “perfection” and then continuously and anxiously navel-gazing for “sin”.


Allen, I expect that the US will remain Capitalistic with increasing Socialistic tendencies…just like Canada. I think that in our increasingly politically polarized society that the notion that a country could operate with both elements isn’t conceived of. However, the fact of the matter remains that both Capitalism and Socialism can, and does, exist in countries. It doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition.


It’s not so difficult, Alan. Just go to scripture for an explanation:

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

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I think what he may be referring to is your generic tendency to parrot triumphant statements that don’t provide any viable rational defense for claims that you make.

In short, you seem to confuse Capitalism and market economy. A lot of people who argue for Capitalism as “the best we’ve got” tend to confuse and conflate the two. These are not the same thing.

Capitalism is an ownership preset as it relates to distribution of profit from certain activity. It’s not the driving force behind production or distribution. Hence, you can’t attribute that preset to broader alleviation of poverty worldwide, which is largely a consequence of the global market specialization, and rapid development of tech and political systems that both facilitate and make market systems more efficient in generating abundance via specialization.

None of that can be solely attributed to Capitalism, largely because Capitalism isn’t ubiquitous around the world, and the largest producer of goods today isn’t what you would call a Capitalist country. And if you are going to argue that China is a capitalist country, then all you need to see is that top 10 largest companies in China are all government owned.

But, at the level of financialization of labor, you can’t call it “the best we’ve got”, when it merely removed the conceptual poverty via markers of what we consider to be poor. So, people who lived off chickens in rural China could have been poor, but they are not much better by shifting to $2/day wages which lock them into a rather dark lifestyle… to the point that there are “suicide nets” on the sides of the buildings. I wouldn’t call that to be a positive alleviation of poverty, but that’s generally what’s meant by “raising billions of poverty” that you end up parroting here.

Only it didn’t. What brought billions out of poverty is the specialization of the global market system that allowed to generate more abundance, especially as it was driven by science and tech development due to better educational structures that allowed for more “brain utilization” in more densely populated areas. And those brains propelled tech and scientific development, and that became the new gold rush.

Again, that’s because financializing poverty into dollar amount is a way of claiming some victory over something that wasn’t financialized prior. If you’ve made $0 and lived off land in some agrarian setting, and then all of a sudden you immigrated to a city, and now live in slums and work for $2/day … that’s not the story we are looking for. While the are more people injected into the financial system, arguably they are not less poor if you consider how they lived prior in most cases.

And of course World Bank would report it as such, because World Bank needs to justify the insane financialization system that it perpetuates.

Actually, you need to look back on how countries like China, Japan, and South Korea got back on their feet after the wars and regime changes. There are periods where people had to collectively work to build infrastructure in exchange for food stipends in order to bring the country to a functional state. In fact, even when you look to the New Deal in the US, it’s not what you would or should label “Capitalism”. All of these measures serve as necessity for functional market economies, which Capitalism feeds on.


It may be a “bit of a stretch” if the “living wage” were based on the same intent that Cain had when he offered his sacrifice to the Lord, but certainly not if the “living wage” were based on the same intent of the widow when she offered all she had to live on. Living wage can be enough for those you employ to survive on instead of taking advantage of your workers and living wage can be an outward showing of your relationship with God. Cain does not appear to value his relationship with God (there is anger at God for not accepting his sacrifice, not humbly asking what he could have done to make his sacrifice acceptable) but the Widow giving her all does appear to value her relationship with God.

Accepting God on your death-bed and having a life-long living relationship with God are both an outward showing of a relationship but one is new and one is long term.

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George, because inequities and confirmation bias and unjust discrimination exist in “the Church” doesn’t mean we should give up. These realities present a call for more biblical social justice efforts. I don’t believe black-and-white thinking–all or nothing–ultimately helps anybody, and I suspect you feel the same.

There can be social justice in our churches and in “the Church.” In addition, we should not expect justice to emerge without a struggle or to take place universally in every aspect.

Thank you, Stacie, for your trenchant and hopeful views published here. “We can learn better. We can do better.”