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Love in Society is Named Justice

The following was originally posted by Pastor Clint Schnekloth at Lutheran Confessions: The longest running Lutheran blog in North America.

I was honored recently when Lutheran World Relief asked to see if I’d be willing to be a guest blogger on their blog. They plan to post a series of short blog posts that look at the sustainable development work of LWR from a Lutheran perspective.

Lutheran World Relief works to fight poverty and promote a more just and peaceful world by helping people help themselves. Your support provides the foundation for LWR’s work.

When the invitation e-mail arrived in my inbox, my immediate reaction was, “Lord have mercy. I’ve been so distracted by blogging about Tim Tebow and that silly hate-religion love-Jesus video, that I’ve neglected the weightier matters of justice.” And it’s true, so much of our media culture serves to distract us from the slow and steady development work groups like LWR are doing on our behalf, and through our giving.

Father, forgive me. Seriously.

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However, upon further reflection, I realized things weren’t as bad as all that. In what follows, I’m going to share some ideas on what you can do to support the ministry of LWR. These are all things I do personally, most of them weekly if not monthly. I could do more. We all could, but these are a start.

ELCA clergy have, as part of their letters of call, a commitment to work for justice and peace on behalf of the poor and marginalized. Such ministry is always easier to list on a call letter than it is to actualize in daily life, but I can tell you the top ways I focus my ministry in a way that supports the work of LWR.

I invite readers to adopt at least these practices as followers of Jesus who believe, together with ethicists like Niebuhr and King, that “love in society is named justice” (a phrase I just learned in a spectacular new book I’m reading by that greatest of contemporary theologians, James Cone).

So here’s my list, in order of priority. If you do nothing else, do #1. Everything else is justice gravy.

  1. Set up monthly automatic giving to Lutheran World Relief. Give sacrificially. Imagine the effect we could have collectively if all of our giving to LWR exceeded our giving to our local congregation, or the amount we spend on Starbucks each week.
  2. Learn more about the difference between ministries that provide necessary and important emergency relief, like homeless shelters and food banks, and ministries that engage in sustainable development work that addresses the root causes of poverty.
  3. Participate. LWR has dozens of programs designed for local congregations and groups.
  4. Decide LWR is going to be the primary social ministry of the church that you support, donate to, and advocate for. Tons of organizations are asking you for your money and your time. Guaranteed, dollar for dollar, LWR is at the top of the list of organizations that really make a difference in the world.
  5. Follow LWR on Twitter, Facebook, or wherever you hang out as a denizen of the digital domain. Reminders in your twitter feed or Facebook profile really will make a difference.
Clint SchneklothClint Schnekloth is the pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Fayetteville, Arkansas. He previously served as pastor of East Koshkonong Lutheran Church. He lives in East Fayetteville, with his wife and three children, all ages six and under. Previously, Clint has served as associate pastor at St. John’s Lutheran, Oregon, WI, as a global missionary with the ELCA in Kosice, Slovakia, a youth director at Peace Lutheran Church of Plymouth, MN, and Camp Director of Camp Shalom, Maquoketa, Iowa.

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