Insights with Superpowers

A New Attitude for the Poor

Imagine that you have no job, no money, you live cut off from the rest of society in a world ruled by poverty and violence, you skin is the “wrong” color – and you have no hope that any of this will change.  Around you is a society governed by the iron law of achievement.  Its gilded goods are flaunted before your eyes on TV screens, and in a thousand ways society tells you every day that you are worthless because you have no achievement.  You are a failure, and you know that you will continue to be a failure because there is no way to achieve tomorrow what you have not managed to achieve today.  your dignity is shattered and your soul is enveloped in the darkness of despair.  But the gospel tells you that you are not defined by outside forces.  It tells you that you count; even more, that you are loved unconditionally and infinitely, irrespective of anything you have achieved or failed to achieve.  Imagine now this gospel no simply proclaimed but embodied in a community.  Justified by sheer grace, it seeks to “justify” by grace those declared “unjust” by a society’s implacable law of achievement.  Imagine, furthermore, this community determined to infuse the wider culture, along with its political and economic institutions, with the message that it seeks to embody and proclaim.  This is justification by grace, proclaimed and practiced.  A dead doctrine? Hardly!

– From Miroslav Volf’s Against the Tide: Love in a Time of Petty Dreams and Persisting Enmities

as quoted in Timothy Keller’s Generous Justice

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