“Certainly we do not want [people] to allow their Christianity to flow over into their political life, for the establishment of anything like a really just society would be a major disaster. On the other hand we do want, and want very much, to make [people] treat Christianity as a means; preferably, of course, as a means to their own advancement, but failing that, as a means to anything – even to social justice.”
– the devil Screwtape in “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis
I found this quote a few years ago and it always reminds me of the dual temptation those of us involved in social justice have to fight. On the one hand, we have to convince people that faith should move us to act in the political and social realm, that our personal and inward faith also matters in a communal and outward sense. Then on the other hand, we have to ward off the temptation in others and in ourselves to simply use faith or Christianity to endorse anything other than Christ – we can’t lose focus and think that as long as we are going toward a kingdom vision that God would want, any means or practices we embody in order to get there are okay. The political realm challenges this dichotomy especially – yes, be involved and see personal faith as the grounds for advocating and caring for others in the political sphere; no, we can’t use forsake our allegiance to Christ and focus so intently on this sphere that it becomes our entire purpose or redirects our choices. Another reminder from Clive….