Toward an Adventist Theology of Social Justice

(William Noel) #84

Good point because, while support for “social justice” in America is most energetically supported by one party, supporters of it can be found among people of all political stripes. It is all based on the same philosophy where the biggest difference I have seen is the degree of claims and falsehoods that get used to support it.

(William Noel) #85

I completely agree. God held the members of the Children of Israel accountable for treating others fairly in all ways and blessed those who obeyed and He does the same with us. As for the prophetic dimension, I just don’t see it. Part of that may be that I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with the traditional focus in the church on prophecy and the dearth of community involvement that encourages us to do the good works Jesus told us to do so people will be drawn to Him. For all of my life it has been a mutually exclusive situation where we have overdosed on prophecy while we are becoming spiritually starved for lack of the blessings that come when we are doing good works. We talk a lot about taking the Gospel to the world while ignoring what it takes to take the Gospel to our neighbors.

(George Tichy) #86

I will leave this conversation as it is. You are making no effort to understand what I am saying, and will probably end up even distorting what I say, and defending “vulture capitalism” anyway. If you are very rich, you have a reason to do that; if you are not rich and are doing this, well… it’s actually shooting your own foot - and enjoying it!

Image result for shooting yourself in the foot

By the way, the two terms do NOT mean the same thing. When I say “vulture capitalism,” I am obviously referring to an unregulated system of governance in which the top 1% wealthy people possess all the wealth, always trying to eliminate the middle class, and exploiting the laborers with salaries as low as possible. Those people are usually even against a minimum wage, because they want to pay always less.

Vulture, a bird of prey that attacks other creatures aiming to kill and to eat them.

An example is giving a $1.3 tri in tax cuts to the rich, then blaming SS and Medicare for the consequences. Then calling for the end of SS and Medicare.

And,… “What about the people?” The people??? They better get a 2nd and 3rd job…

Now, please have the last word on this issue, and we will be done. I refuse to spend time conversing with people who support exploitation of the “lower classes.” I am a Christian.

(George Tichy) #87

Thank you. Appreciated.

(William Noel) #88

I’m having a really hard time swallowing the prophetic basis that you described. Through almost my entire life we’ve had an overwhelming emphasis on prophecy to the exclusion of actually doing any of the good works Jesus told us to be doing that will make people want to know Him better. So I feel like we’re wasting our time trying to find or prove a prophetic basis for anything related to social welfare/charity. It seems like everyone I have met who is into prophecy is utterly inactive in doing anything that touches their neighbors with God’s love. My involvement in community ministry has relieved me of the misconception that knowing prophecy is the highest spiritual priority. What I find Jesus telling us is to do good works so that others will praise God.

(Patrick Travis) #89

In the OT, a date known to all allowed debts to be remitted every 7 yrs. And the land returned to family every 50 yrs. There is no record either was followed. One reason for captivity. Distribution of earned wealth is not mentioned or required.

(William Noel) #90

George, I have an MBA and have worked for companies that were financed with multi-million dollar investments from venture capitalists so I know from experience that the two terms are used to describe the same thing: high-cost loans that are offered to business innovators who have a high potential for both failure and extreme success. I’ve heard the business owners receiving the investment calling it “vulture capitalism” because of the high interest rates and corporate equity the loan was costing them and I’ve heard the investors joking about them being “vulture capitalists” because of the high profits they enjoyed when their investments paid-off.

(William Noel) #91

But God gave extensive instructions for how He wanted His people to practice charity and promised to bless all who followed His instructions. Participation was voluntary. Those who obeyed were blessed and those who did not were not. I can attest from years of community ministry that God blesses those who follow the principles of His ancient instructions today.

(William Noel) #92

No. I have an MBA and have worked for companies that were financed by venture capitalists so I know from firsthand experience that both terms refer to the same thing: high-cost investor loans to high-risk innovators whose efforts have the potential for handsome payoff. The difference is point of view. The recipients of venture capital investment complain about it being “vulture capitalism” because of the high interest rates and the portion of corporate equity that they must give-up to get the loans. I’ve also heard the investors joking about it being “vulture capitalism” because of the profits they receive when an investment pays off.

(JA ORourke) #93

I know William, and I’m sorry. We have tremendously dropped the ball between the spiritually intellectual and and the spiritually practical. And yet the prophet herself was very active, from the temperance movement, to her admonision to vote or not vote, to her support of Oakwood college. Her prophetic gift didn’t stifle her practical actions, it catalyze them. Hence why i am on a journey “toward…”

(William Noel) #94

No on both questions. First, because the principles of Christian charity and ministry are so divergent from the foundational concepts on which popular “social justice” is based. Second, the church is doing a very poor job of social ministry because our dominant focus on prophecy has become almost totally exclusive of social ministry. There is a lot of talk about doing what God wants us doing but scant evidence of anyone in the church doing any of the good works that Jesus said would cause people to praise our heavenly Father. For a dozen years I’ve been doing a community ministry that has strengthened the faith of the weak and led unbelievers to become believers. Along the way we’ve heard a lot of praise to God for the good works we have done. So I wish more Adventist would get their heads out of the prophetic clouds and come back down to earth where our faith is supposed to be meeting the road and making a difference in our world.

(Kim Green) #95

Ok…now in the theological context…you believe the same?

(William Noel) #96

I have a suggestion: Get practical. Stop trying to find a prophetic basis for anything because that complicates something that should be ridiculously simple. Just get involved in doing the good works Jesus wants us doing so that people will praise our Heavenly Father. What could be simpler than just following the instructions Jesus gave us? I’ve had times when God spoke to me to remind me to stay focused on doing what I already knew I was supposed to do and when i did what happened left me praising God for the amazing way we saw Him working.

(Kim Green) #97

In practical terms they can both be “made” to be the same…but they do not “mean” the same.

(William Noel) #98

Theologians have an amazing ability to complicate the simple instructions of Jesus. He told us to go and do good works so people would praise our Heavenly Father. We don’t need a prophetic foundation for everything. All we need is willingness to actually go and do what Jesus told us to do.

(William Noel) #99

One is the legal description where the other is the euphemistic description of it. That’s the only difference.

(JA ORourke) #100

You make the same mistake as another here, in assuming and insinuating that my journey and writing lack praxis. That is your baggage brought to this convo, not mine.
As you know even as we are different, so we have lived and experienced life different, so God speaks and works through us different. Just because you may feel our actual differences does not mean you can identify or define mine. You can only express yours…and what a blessed journey yours has been. I praise God for your journey, even as i celebrate my own, and they are very different, even as our skill sets are different. However these differences does not make one more moral, ethical or spiritual than the next.
The hand (praxis) cannot said to the head (intellectual) nor the heart (contemplation) “you should do as i do” all three are needed.

(Kim Green) #101

To you, perhaps, but there is another “world” of thought and being that is entirely relevant.

(Kim Green) #102

If you say so…but technically this isn’t true.

(Kim Green) #103

If only it were this simple…in theory, yes…in practical terms- it never has been so in the entire history of the world. Human being are far more complex and need structure and order…hence, churches and denominations.