1. Being ready to do justice
The Washington Institute interviewed Bethany Hoang (@bethanyhoang) of IJM’s Institute for Biblical Justice. I appreciated her thoughts on the connection between spiritual disciplines and pursuing justice:
The Scriptures teach us that even the darkest injustice isn’t meant to be a crushing load. It’s a load that Jesus carries, not us. And so, for us to move into the crushing reality of injustice with hope, with joy, and with strength—that only comes when we enter it with Jesus. We can only enter with Jesus when we have opened ourselves to his presence and to what he has to give us, and that “opening” of ourselves is what spiritual disciplines enable us to do.
2. Innovation and extreme poverty
Charles Kenny (@charlesjkenny) and Justin Sandefur (@JustinSandefur), fellows at the Center for Global Development, write in Foreign Policy that for all the wonderful contributions tech entrepreneurs continue to make in the global fight against extreme poverty, a bit of caution is in order:
Entrepreneurial spirit and even the fanciest of gadgets will only get you so far. All the technological transformation of the last 200 years hasn’t come close to wiping out global poverty. More than half the planet still lives on less than $4 a day, and 2.4 billion people live on less than $2 a day. And that’s after a decade that saw the biggest drop in extreme poverty ever. What’s more, millions and millions of people still die annually from easily and cheaply preventable or treatable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. None of this is for a lack of science; often it isn’t even for lack of money. It is because parents don’t follow simple health practices like washing their hands, government bureaucrats can’t or won’t provide basic water and sanitation programs, and arbitrary immigration restrictions prevent the poor from moving to places with better opportunities. Sorry, but no iPhone, even one loaded with the coolest apps, is going to change all that.
There’s no definition for what’s a hymn and not a praise song. But Keith Getty says it should be singable without a band and easy for anyone sitting in the pews to pick up. And it should say something bold. “I think it’s to the church’s poverty that the average worship song now has so few words, so little truth,” he says. “[It] is so focused on several commercial aspects of God, like the fact that he loves our praises.”
A lost balloon is a simple thing, but it’s a real loss to a child. Then we grow up, and we feel these same kinds of losses every day. A lost relationship. A lost job. A foreclosure on a home. Lost innocence. The loss of addiction. Bankruptcy. A lost reputation. We can try to explain the chemical makeup of the lost balloon to make it appear less meaningful. We can make up a sensible reason for that balloon to have been better off released into the sky. We can try to diminish what the balloon meant to us in the first place. But we cannot cheat sorrow. Loss shapes us. As do the friends that are there with us on the lawn when the balloon string slips out of our hands.