Words, Beliefs, Action
I believe that faith and theology are obligated to result in making decisions that are rooted in justice.
The world is full of injustice. People exploit each other, those who work hard to produce the products the rich eat cannot put food on the table for their children at night, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The world continues to press forward; people make decisions in order to put themselves in a situation where they can advance in their business, social status, or fame.
I have spent a lot of time listening to people who are constantly experiencing injustice in their lives. Those who are abused, exploited, looked down on by the rest of the world, and those who are never given a chance to show who they are and what they can do. I have spent time hearing their struggles, their hopes, their dreams, and I have seen them work hard to make those hopes and dreams come true.
I recently went on a trip to Nicaragua with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). On this trip we met coffee farmers who are part of a fair trade cooperative, artisans who work in a pottery coop, and men and women who work in a sewing cooperative. All of the men and women I met in Nicaragua were part of what is known as fair trade, they work for wages that are “fair” and they produce goods that are better quality than what we receive when paying unfair prices. These men and women live in a third world country where many of their neighbors are working in sweatshops or begging on the street, most people in Nicaragua live on less than $1 a day.
Their poverty is a result of a faulty government and the exploitation of their people and resources over many years. As a person of faith, one who purchases many of the goods I witnessed being produced, I never knew just how unjust the situation is for these people. I as person of faith, one driven by the teachings of Jesus Christ have now seen the effects of both justice for people and injustice done to people. I know what justice can do and I am obligated to share the stories I have so that others may be informed.
Why is it that my faith drives me to believe I have this obligation? If I take seriously the teachings of Jesus I have to see that Jesus was one who exploited not people but injustice. He stood up for those who were cast out by society and helped those who were being oppressed by even their own government. If I am to be Christ like and faith driven, I too must be committed to just living. My actions reflect my words, my words reflect my beliefs.