Goodbye Christ. I’ve Got Justice Duty.

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Justice without Jesus is just us—and it’s not the answer.

I know a white pastor who came to understand the depth of racial inequity and white dominance in our society. He also came to see how the Church at large has so often been either complicit or directly supportive of such dominance.

He no longer accepted living in such a way. He changed his faith to be more focused on justice. Disturbed that he had not been taught this in seminary, he came to question how we have interpreted the Bible. He came to question whether personal morality really mattered. As he moved more toward a focus on justice, I saw other changes—his language got saltier, laced with what the Bible calls unwholesome words. He felt it necessary language to confront injustice. His countenance changed. He became increasingly angry and outwardly bitter. The world was so broken, too many people did not see it, and it all combined to deepen his frustration.

His sermons changed, focusing less on Biblical exegesis and more on the principle and imperative of justice, at first linked to the Bible. But the Bible began feeling like it did not go far enough, so he drew on alternative sources. Justice must be achieved, even if it cost him his faith, which in the end, it did.

I know a young white professor, raised in a Christian home, committed to her faith in a very serious way. But through her education she increasingly came to see the gross inequities of our world.

Out of her Christian conviction she sought to study, learn, and produce new knowledge that would bring about racial justice. She grew increasingly frustrated with the church as she knew it. It seemed uninterested in racial justice. She questioned whether the Bible really can be interpreted as truth. If it could, why were the folks who say the Bible matters uninterested …

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