We have just finished our summer Adult Ed class – we studied Tim Keller’s book Generous Justice. There have been a number of challenging books recently released. By challenging, I mean exposing the often lethargy and indifference the church and many christians have to their society and the world – Crazy Love by Francis Chan; Radical by David Platt are just two. Well, this book is to be ranked amongst such books. This is an ‘uncomfortable’ read to say the least. Not because it is badly written or it has bad theology; on the contrary it is very well written and is theologically strong. It is uncomfortable because it will cause you to consider what exactly YOU are doing with this issue. Keller redefines the parameters of justice. Justice is not just to help the poor. It is to provide relief, development and social reform for the poor. And he unpacks this biblically with some skill. Here is a powerful excerpt which I believe demonstrates the power of the book and the immense challenge it is for us as believers:
One of the more notorious practices of local banks is to ‘redline’ poor and nonwhite neighborhoods. That is they refuse mortgage and small business loans to applicants who live there. Their argument is that they simply look at the statistics and conclude that residents of those neighborhoods are more likely not to make good on the loan. God, however, says we are not to live that way in our relationships to the poor. He says, in effect, in Proverbs 19:7 “Don’t you dare ‘redline’ people. Don’t look at someone and say “If I get involved with that person I might be taken advantage of!” I see a gift to the poor as a gift to me. I will in some way, make the loan good. I will give you value, trust me.