Saturday, November 29, 2014

Abby Foreman: Seek Justice, Encourage the Oppressed

Abby Jansen Foreman, one of Bread for the World's organizers during the early years of The ONE Campaign, is now Associate Professor of Social Work at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. She wrote this inspiring piece for In All Things, an online hub committed to the claim that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ has implications for the entire world.  Here are a few excerpts and the link to read the full piece online.

When I was growing up, the day after Thanksgiving was not spent scouting for sales but rather was a day when my cousins and I helped my grandma sort the food that had been collected during the Thanksgiving food drive...Many of us can easily be convicted to be compassionate in these ways; to give food, money, clothing and even our time. We know that we are doing what God calls us to. But is this all that God is calling us to in our response to the poor and vulnerable?

In the Old Testament God gives various commands about how to live in community with one another. These are not commands to be acted upon haphazardly when we are convicted or feel passion, but rather it outlines the plans for a just and merciful community where all may flourish. In the Israelite community, it was understood that care and protections be given towards those on the margins of their society. These Old Testament commands include insights into equality of opportunity (the year of Jubilee) and opportunities for the poor to provide for themselves (gleaning). Both justice and mercy (or charity in this case) are biblical concepts. As the prophet Micah proclaims: “He has shown all you people what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humble with your God.” (Micah 6:8). Part of our walk with the Lord is our dedication to “stop doing wrong and learn to do what is right,” which Isaiah says is to “Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).

Read the full piece 

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