Perkins on the importance of informed solutions

Posted: June 16, 2009 by Scott Kistler in Social Issues

Dr. John Perkins photo by John KeatleyAfter John Perkins essentially fought the Mississippi court system to a draw twice, dropping his charges against the local authorities when they promised to drop theirs against him, he believed that the most important part of his experience was informing people about the injustices of police misconduct and brutality:

One of the things for Christian observers is that there are times when the biggest need is for information rather than exhortation.  We need to know more about what really goes on before we solidify our theoretical ideas about what a Christian “ought” or “ought not” to do.

Whether we admit it or not, our reading of biblical ethics is colored by our perception of the world around us.  If we think that there are only a few “bad guys” such as burglars or murderers, and that all the given political, legal and economic structures around us are basically okay, then we are bound to read our Bibles in a certain way.  We will assume that it tells us to “lay low,” whether we are a part of the law or only under the law; that the person who speaks out is a rebellious agitator.

But that assumption can be badly shaken up by a good look at what happens to many people who are simply crushed by, rather than helped by, these social structures and institutions that we take for granted.  If sin can exist at every level of government, and in every human institution, then also the call to biblical justice in every corner of society must be sounded by those who claim a God of Justice as their Lord. (Let Justice Roll Down, Ch. 21, pg. 195, 1976 edition)

This is a great reminder that we need to see if justice goes beyond rhetoric and good ideas and is actually carried out.

After John Perkins essentially fought the Mississippi court system to a draw twice, dropping his charges against the local authorities when they promised to drop theirs against him, he believed that the most important part of his experience was informing people about the injustices of police misconduct and brutality:

One of the things for Christian observers is that there are times when the biggest need is for information rather than exhortation.  We need to know more about what really goes on before we solidify our theoretical ideas about what a Christian “ought” or “ought not” to do.

Whether we admit it or not, our reading of biblical ethics is colored by our perception of the world around us.  If we think that there are only a few “bad guys” such as burglars or murderers, and that all the given political, legal and economic structures around us are basically okay, then we are bound to read our Bibles in a certain way.  We will assume that it tells us to “lay low,” whether we are a part of the law or only under the law; that the person who speaks out is a rebellious agitator.

But that assumption can be badly shaken up by a good look at what happens to many people who are simply crushed by, rather than helped by, these social structures and institutions that we take for granted.  If sin can exist at every level of government, and in every human institution, then also the call to biblical justice in every corner of society must be sounded by those who claim a God of Justice as their Lord. (Let Justice Roll Down, Ch. 21, pg. 195, 1976 edition)

This is a great reminder that we need to see if justice goes beyond rhetoric and good ideas and is actually carried out.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s