Thursday, August 11, 2011

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Why do you think there is so much of an emphasis on justice for the vulnerable: widows, orphans, the poor, and alien, in OT Israel, and what might this teach us today?


reneamac said...

It probably had a high emphasis in the OT for the same reason James tells the church that such behavior is the religion acceptable to God:

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." (1:27)

Greg said...

Thanks. Good point. Here's a couple of theological principles to pin this on.

I had been thinking along these lines. The vulnerable are always more susceptible to injustice than those in power or of reputable social status. Yhwh loves the presence of justice and therefore liberated lowly Israel from slavery. Israel should now, in remembrance of this master event, do the same for the disadvantaged in her midst. DT 24 may be illuminating. But also, as Yhwh is just, so too, Israel is to be just.

reneamac said...

Yes. I see that in the fabric of the whole biblical narrative. In a parable, Jesus scorns the man who was shown mercy only to refuse mercy to others. And James again says to the church that if we only treat the well off well and shun the disadvantaged, then we say nothing to the world of our difference as people of the Christ.

carter said...

During the recent debt debacle in the USA, I called my congressman and read a few verses from Isaiah 1to his administrative assistant. I know he thought I was crazy. I am certain that there is a connection between Phil. 2 and the idea that the most vulnerable seem to be most often the victims of injustice. They have no stroke. No political power. No financial security. None to plead their cause or stand up for them. And yes, there is a strong tie to slavery in Egypt. In Exodus 22 and 23, the Lord reminds the people that they are to treat the foreigners fairly because they, too, were foreigners in Egypt.

Greg said...

Right on.

Greg said...

Thanks. I'm glad someone is calling the folks in congress and reading out the Scripture. Good going! Getting back to the text might well be the premise for starting to live in the real world - God's - and bringing sustainable change that embraces justice.

Ben A said...

Reading Leviticus recently I felt many of the laws were to be carried out with a communal mindset -quite different than the culture of individualism in which I've been raised. Many commands were to be followed so as not to dishonor a family member. Even punishment, in the form of stoning, was to be carried out by the community rather than a lone executioner. It seems that Israel was to operate as a people with the whole community in mind. Surely this type of thinking would give special attention to the vulnerable in the community. A parallel mindset seems appropriate for the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:21-26)

Greg said...

Thanks. I really appreciate your words and their theological - cultural pertinence.