Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. ~Isaiah 58:6-8
In our society, we want to believe that participating in "social justice" is a job for certain, special individuals. Caring for the poor and fighting for the oppressed takes so much time. It demands that we share our money; it asks that we involve our emotions and allow our desensitized eyes to see violence, abuse, and neglect, and be moved to action. But if we are to become like Jesus, we must encounter suffering with open hearts and willing hands. The church, as instituted by God, should be known for a deep compassion that leads believers to care for the sick and disabled. It should be known for the belief that God's image is borne in every culture, tribe, and tongue, and that knowing God thus means pursuing reconciliation across racial and ethnic lines. It should be known for simplicity, generosity, and sacrificial living, believing that material wealth is neither a penultimate goal, nor a curse, but a means of investing in God's work in the world.
Below are a few resources to open your eyes, engage your mind, and enlist your heart to beat with the heart of God- for the renewal and restoration of the world.
Theology of Biblical Justice
Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger (Word Publishing), by Ron Sider
Generous Justice (Penguin), by Tim Keller
Evil and the Justice of God (IVP), by N. T. Wright
Christian Hope and Suffering: A Talk by Tim Keller
Everyday Justice (IVP), by Julie Clawson
Good News About Injustice (IVP), by Gary Haugen
The Hole in Our Gospel (Thomas Nelson), by Richard Sterns
God in a Brothel (IVP), by Daniel Walker
Walking with the Poor (Orbis Books), by Bryant L. Myers
When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor... and Yourself (Moody), by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
For They Shall Be Fed: Scripture Readings and Prayers for a Just World (Thomas Nelson), edited by Ron Sider
Let Justice Roll Down (Regal), by John M. Perkins
"Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" (Basic Books), by Beverly Daniel Tatum, PH.D.
Bloodlines (Crossway), by John Piper
More Than Equals (IVP), by Spencer Perkins & Chris Rice
Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart (IVP), by Christena Cleveland
Hope, Race and Power: A Talk by Tim Keller
Welcoming Justice: God's Movement Toward Beloved Community (IVP), by Charles Marsh and John M. Perkins