>World Vision: What is Social Justice?

I appreciated this WV article — What does “social justice” really mean? Two excerpts:

The Bible makes social justice a mandate of faith and a fundamental expression of Christian discipleship. Social justice has its biblical roots in a triune God who time and time again shows His love and compassion for the weak, the vulnerable, the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the disinherited — you get my point. “For Christians, the pursuit of social justice for the poor and oppressed is the decisive mark of being people who submit to the will and way of God,” writes Tim Dearborn in “Reflections on Advocacy and Justice.”

Social justice is about creating kingdom space in the here and now, giving witness to the ultimate just society yet to come. So every time we use our voice and influence to get in the way of injustice — whether it’s human trafficking, economic exploitation, human rights abuses, or infants dying needlessly from disease and malnutrition — we provide a foretaste of God’s kingdom to come.

[COMPLETE ARTICLE]

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>Intl Development

Compare 88 Bikes with these examples — 7 Worst Intl Aid Ideas.

>The End of Poverty (Jeffrey Sachs)

>I cannot encourage you enough to read The End of Poverty. Just do it. Promise yourself that you’ll find a way.

The first few chapters relate Sachs’s own evolution as a development economist and advocate—a process that leads him from Harvard University to countries around the world and eventually to Columbia University where he helped found The Earth Institute. We follow him along the journey of gaining insights into the roles that geography, population growth, and disease play in the poverty trap.

The subsequent chapters describe the needs of the poor, the misconceptions most of us have regarding what is being done and what the real problems are, and finally the way forward.

Sachs quantifies, maps, deconstructs, and personalizes the problems. Thankfully, he does not end there. He also quantifies the needed response, demonstrates the possibilities we have over the next couple of decades, and offers policy advice on increasing capacity and accountability.

For less technical, but more spiritual analyses of the same topics, see Walking with the Poor (Bryant Myers), Red Letters (Tom Davis) and Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger (Ron Sider).

>La Sierra SIFE

>In 2007 La Sierra’s Student in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team won the National Championship and the World Cup. These Adventist students demonstrate how management and leadership skills can be used to make the world a better place.

Read more about their projects–Kalaala Scrubs, Build-a-Village and Harambee–here:

>Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger

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Voted by Christianity Today as one of the Top 100 Religious Books of the Century (the last century that is; now in its 5th edition), Rich Christian’s in an Age of Hunger not only describes the problem—30,000 children dying every day from starvation and preventable diseases and a billion of our neighbors in extreme poverty—but also plots a path of action. The author, Ron Sider, is currently the president of Evangelicals for Social Action.

Action. Peter said to “prepare your minds for action,” (1 Peter 1:13). Reading this book does just that. Read it. Then act. Then give it to someone else to read.

Part 1 describes the state of the world.
Part 2 covers the biblical teachings on the poor and possessions.
Part 3 analyzes the causes of poverty, both personal and structural.
Part 4 discusses how to make the world a better place. Actions are lumped into three progressively larger categories—personal (e.g., lifestyles of simplicity & generosity), church (e.g., community development & building programs), and global (e.g., the environment & foreign policy relating to trade and aid).

I appreciated that Ron was sensitive to environmental issues while addressing the social, spiritual and economic needs of our world. I also appreciated his balanced analysis and radical call to action. Seriously, read this book. Just don’t get bogged down in chapter 8 and miss chapter 9.

>World Refugee Day

>ADRA Observes World Refugee Day (Reuters, 20 June 07)

“Committed to assisting those in need worldwide, ADRA’s humanitarian initiatives reach hundreds of thousands of refugees and IDPs, both by improving their living conditions in camps and then by helping them reintegrate into their communities and reestablish their lives once they have returned home.

“According to the UNHCR, in 2006 there were more than 14 million refugees, including those Palestinian refugees registered and assisted by the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency (UNRWA). The Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reports that, in addition, there were more than 24 million displaced persons worldwide in 2006 due to conflict.”