International Bible Givers

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From the Chairman

IBG Chairman Chuck Hayes

The Radical Center

In January, I waded into the turbulent water of the Social Justice topic, addressing Social Justice as an inadequate worldview. I did not enter these waters to simply stir the pot and generate controversy, rather, I see both enormous opportunity for the Church as well as enormous responsibility to minister amid much brokenness. It is often far easier to define what something should not be rather than what it should, so let us now enter deeper water.

The Bible has much to say about caring for the least among us, including widows, orphans, sojourners, prisoners, and those who lack standing in society. See Duet 10:28 & 27:19, Isaiah 10:1-2, Psalm 146:9 & 68:5, and Hebrews 13:3. There are literally hundreds of verses you could cite on this topic, so let me summarize: God cares deeply about the welfare of the least among us. Even for those whose plight is self-inflicted, as we all have been delivered from our self-inflicted plight. If God cares deeply for these people, and we are to be the hands and feet of Christ, should we not also care deeply?

This conversation usually gets polarized along the way into liberal versus conservative, Democrat versus Republican, or city dweller versus suburbanite. You may be even staking out your familiar turf as you read this. Hang on a moment. I want to have discussion and reflection on this topic. I want us to occupy what I will call the “radical center” of this conversation. I stole that term from Bono, the U2 rock-star who is on a beautiful journey with Jesus.

The radical center allows you to look at the topic of privilege. Both the view for some that it is something to be ashamed of and to repent from, as well as those who would acknowledge their privilege as gifts from God that are to be celebrated, and yet, shared – because we are blessed to BE A BLESSING (Gen 12: 2-3) .

The radical center allows you to view the topic within the social justice movement of systemic racism. You can listen to those who are promoting the Defund the Police movement and hear their sense of injustice due to unequal treatment, as well as those on the opposite position stating its not racism at all, but any one of many alternate root causes. The radical center allows me to admit, racism or not, there is a systemic problem in some of our inner city neighborhoods.

The radical center allows you to hear someone who is “Woke”, and perhaps expressing great anger and desire to tear down aspects of society and social structures, as well as those countering wokeness and arguing that tearing down those structures will do even more harm to those very communities. The radical center allows you to be fully AWAKE to people who are suffering, whether self-inflicted, or inflicted upon them.

The church should not be silent but should rather be engaging society here. We hold the only true answer to societal transformation. The foundation of this engagement is the Hope of the Gospel, followed by practical help. The next generation is oriented to care about social justice, and so we have an enormous opportunity to engage an entire generation in Biblical Social Justice. We explore that opportunity next month!

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