What does justice look like today? I think it would be best termed as access. That we should skirt the idea of social justice altogether and just worry about access, which is related to but not as triggering to conservatives as the current word that is all the rage: equity.
The most access-oriented theologian was John Wesley. John Wesley was pretty incredible for several reasons and his theology is highly adaptable because it was so eclectic.
He studied Eastern Christianity, Patristics, the church fathers, and of course the Bible, and he preached tens of thousands of sermons over the course of his long life (1703-1791). He himself was Anglican, which was a split-off from the Catholic church, but which preserved many of its aspects.
Notable about Wesley was that he was profoundly engrossed with the needs of the poor, women, the uneducated (he also arranged for schooling for children and others), and he also cared for overly-emotional/distressed individuals.
This wasn’t a liberal left wing idea. It was a Christian idea. Being the hands and feet of Christ.
If we could get conservatives, many of whom are Christian, to see that access is a part of Christian practice (and a part of all world religions for that matter), then maybe social justice could actually be done. But, I don’t think this will happen, because the left, who dominate education, are so worried about religion in schools.
Wesley believed in entire sanctification, and social justice is, in my estimation, a crucial aspect of entire sanctification, because it is holy to will the flourishing of all, especially the underserved. And that is who our public schools are for.
Furthermore, it is holy to give and to share. I feel like this fact is missing in a lot of conservative thought. Though progressives can be guilty of talking about sharing and giving without doing so, and some conservatives are loving and extremely devoted to charity, the Republican ethos of capitalism paired with Christianity is currently damaging Christian witness as well as the lives of the poor. They focus on the wealthy leftist elites, who are also a problem, but don’t consider their own role.
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