What causes poverty?
The Bible gives us a matrix of causes. One factor is oppression, which includes a judicial system weighted in favor of the powerful (Lev 19:15)The three causes of poverty, according to the Bible, are oppression, calamity, and personal moral failureMark Gornik, founder of New Song Church and ministries in Baltimore, makes a compelling case that systematic exclusion creates many poor inner-city neighborhoodsA complex range of structural factors led to the exclusion of the neighborhoods residents from the resources they needed to thriveAny large-scale improvement in a societys level of poverty will come through a comprehensive array of public and private, spiritual, personal, and corporate measures. quotes from pages 33-38.
Beauty and Justice
Elaine Scarry of Harvard has written a fascinating little boo called On Beauty and Being Just. Her thesis is that the experience of beauty makes us less self-centered and more open to justice. I have observed over the decades that when people see the beauty of Gods grace in Christ, it leads them powerfully toward justice. p.xx
And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. [Literally this verse translated from
the Hebrew means] to walk with God, then, we must do justice, out of merciful love p1-3
Social Justice the combination of 2 Hebrew words.
These two [Hebrew] words [tzadeqah and mishpat] roughly correspond to what some have called primary and rectifying justice. Rectifying justice is mishpat. It means punishing wrongdoers and caring for the victims of unjust treatment. Primary justice, or tzadeqah, is behavior that, if it was prevalent in the world, would render rectifying justice unnecessary, because everyone would be living in right relationship to everyone else. P10-11 Jeremiah 9:23 uses both these Hebrew words and when translated social justice gives an interesting read: This is what the Lord says: Let not the wise man boast of his wisdombut let him who boasts, boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness and social justice on earth, for in these I delight, declares the Lord.
Zech 7:10-11 the Quartet of the Vulnerable
Widows, orphans, immigrants, and the poor; today this quartet would be expanded to include the refugee, the migrant worker, the homeless, and many single parents and elderly people. Who and where are they in Fremont? How can they be empowered? P4