Friday, March 13, 2009

Justice in the Burbs: Busy, Busy Busy!

I’ve got to get busy writing – busy, busy, busy!
~ Professor Hinkle, Frosty the Snowman

Will and Lisa Samson are not living under the delusion that our lives are simple and easy, and that living justly should be a breeze.

(p.101) Whenever we talk to folks about living justly, the first questions people ask relate to the time that will be required. So, before we move any farther, we want you to hear this: we know how busy your schedule can be. We feel your pain. The last thing in the world we want to do is take you away from those things that are important to you. But let’s talk about what we are busy doing.
As the fictional characters in Justice in the Burbs begin to scale back on both their commitments and their lifestyles to make room for justice, they are concerned about their friends’ reactions:

Christine knew the call was coming. Jenna and Randy invited them to dinner. The Marshalls had finally had to cut back on their hours at church. Going down to the mission twice a month, not to mention Matt’s involvement with Habitat and Christine’s with Britney, was taking its toll on their family. After a month of prayer and laying it all out Matt-style on a spreadsheet, they’d come to the decision their justice works needed them more than the church did. They’d still teach Laurel’s Sunday school class. That was nonnegotiable. But that left youth group, the men’s prayer breakfast, the women’s Bible study group, and the grounds crew without their help. Leadership meetings every other week were a killer too.

“We were overinvolved anyway,” Christine said as she loaded the kids in the car to head over to Randy and Jenna’s. “Surely they can see that, Matt.”

“I don’t know. It’s so fast-paced these days, I think everybody really believes if you’re not doing something major with every waking minute, you’re a bad steward of your time. We did.”

I suppose this post is kind-of just a reiteration of the “Breathing Room” post. But I honestly feel that our time and our priorities is one the most difficult road blocks we will face in pursuing justice. Most of us believe pursuing justice is a good and honorable and necessary pursuit, but actually making the steps toward a just life is where the hard work and tough choices come into play.

(p. 104) Jesus understood something about human nature and the way we live. Humans have a tendency to let things pass and hope they will get better on their own. Perhaps the reason so many farming illustrations are utilized in the Bible is because they help us understand what happens when we don’t think carefully about our choices. They help us think properly about our culture. When we ignore the issues surrounding our choices and the kinds of culture created by them, weeds tend to spring up – weeds of indifference, and sometimes antagonism, toward the Christian faith… So, back to the original question: “Can’t I just answer ‘too busy’?” Sure, as long as you realize “too busy” is an answer with deep consequences… The church has failed in large ways to tend the cultural soil we have been given charge over, and unhealthy “plants” have grown there. You can blame the thorns, or you can ask why the thorns were able to grow in the first place. We suggest the second method.

Justice in the Burbs: Introduction
Justice in the Burbs: Breathing Room
Justice in the Burbs: Working Together
Justice in the Burbs: It's Personal

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