Tag Archives: Evangelical Christian

Preach Good News to the Poor

Following Jesus compels us to participate in Jesus’ ministry. Central to that ministry are the life giving actions that bring hope and material relief to those who are hurting, suffering, or oppressed. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus states his creed and roots it in the prophetic tradition quoting Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.”

Often times, Christians and others question why following Jesus leads me to be a community organizer, to be engaged in politics and economics, and to work for justice? For me, the answer is obvious given Jesus’ life, ministry, teaching, life, death, and resurrection. Jesus was engaged in the politics and economics of his day; he worked for justice.

He preached good news to the poor! He died on a cross – the death of a political insurrectionist.

Preaching good news – being an evangelical – is rooted in being in relationship with the poor and working with them for justice. Further, Jesus proclaims the “acceptable year of the Lord” – the year of Jubilee – when material inequities are minimized, debts are forgiven, and people are given a new economic start!

In the US, many of our neighbors are facing increasing economic insecurity, real wages for the middle-class have been stagnant for 30 years, and economic inequity is at an unsustainable imbalance.{{1}}  For those neighbors who are unemployed, underemployed, or working for meager wages, there are consequences beyond financial vulnerability. There is grief, a loss of dignity, stigma, and devastating strain on marriages and families.{{2}}

In these economic times, to follow Jesus, to love our neighbor we are called to place ourselves in the small gap between our neighbors and the powers and principalities of the economic/political system that is bearing down with a crushing weight. We are called to advocate for a foundational family value: sufficient wages so that parents have the ability to provide food, shelter,  and clothing; and have enough time and energy to be fully present to and emotional available for their children.

To spiritually divorce ourselves from these realities, to claim our faith to be apolitical is to detour from the path Jesus leads us to follow.

In an upcoming blog, I will outline specific ways followers of Jesus can love their neighbors in the ordinary, gritty decisions we make as consumers and investors; and in strategic actions we take for justice in the political/economic system of our society.

 

[[1]]The Limping Middle Class – Robert Reich – New York Times[[1]]

[[2]]How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America – Don Peck – The Atlantic[[2]]