Dualism 3: Ethics

One of the burning questions in the mainline Presbyterian church, of which I was a pastor for 20 years, was how we go about helping people. There are two general Protestant answers to the question. One, which tends to be associated with fundamentalism is that we need to convert them. The second, which tends to …

Continue reading Dualism 3: Ethics

Hayek on Social Justice

When I read this I had an aha moment. It summarizes very well one of my discomforts with social justice. Social Justice makes sense as a political ideal within a closed community of like-minded people but cannot coherently be pursued across an abstract order of people who interact with and relate to one another not …

Continue reading Hayek on Social Justice

A Brief Introduction to the Prayer of the Heart

When growing up I was taught that God wasn’t Santa Clause and prayer wasn’t just asking God for stuff. In order to avoid the pitfalls of just asking for stuff I was taught to pray the ACTS way: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. As my sense of prayer grew more sophisticated I realized that all prayer, …

Continue reading A Brief Introduction to the Prayer of the Heart

The Schism of the Systems: Culture in Crisis

In the final section of The Origins and History of Consciousness, Erich Neumann offers an explanation of one of the great concerns facing modern society: the breakdown of civil discourse and the apparent accompanying breakdown of culture itself. The original German version of the book was written in 1949, so the context of his ideas …

Continue reading The Schism of the Systems: Culture in Crisis

Utopia, Dystopia, the Social Gospel, and the Return of Christ

Just as our concept of mishpat and tzedakah is flawed (see the previous essay), so our concept of social justice has been twisted by historical trends, and as a result, our confidence in its efficacy is flawed. This twisting of perceptions can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution which not only led to change …

Continue reading Utopia, Dystopia, the Social Gospel, and the Return of Christ

Judgment and Mercy

I have talked about the problem of translating “justice” (Hebrew is mishpat) previously in essays such as My Sojourn with the Social Justice Warriors, The Really Hard Part, and Oppressed-a-non. I want to revisit this topic in more depth as a starting place for this series of essays because we tend to turn the meaning …

Continue reading Judgment and Mercy

Introduction to Prayer as Social Justice

In a previous essay I made the claim, in the context of Carl Jung’s Hero model of transforming the world, that liberal Protestantism is extroverted in sensibility while Orthodoxy is centroverted. In trying to sort out the implications of this, I keep circling back to the role of prayer in our efforts toward a just …

Continue reading Introduction to Prayer as Social Justice