Saturday, December 10, 2016

Prophetic Fragments

Here is a good summary of the three central traditions-- social gospel, Niebuhrian realism, and liberationist-- of social ethics in the United States in the last century by Gary Dorrien.  

Niebuhr is making a comeback today. James Cone reveals his influence along with MLK Jr. and Malcolm X in a powerful interview on the cross and the lynching tree with Bill Moyers which airs Friday night on PBS. Virulent racism indeed is resurgent.

I would add Latino/Latinia Ethics (Miguel De La Torre), Womanist Ethics (Emily Townes)Catholic Ethics (Thomas Merton), Jewish Ethics (Abraham Heschel), socially engaged Buddhism (Thich Nhat Hanh) and post-modern criticism as important prophetic fragments. 

The key is to appropriate an ethic to fight in the world for justice from our little corner of the universe. I guess this reveals that at bottom I am a Christian existentialist. "If not me, then who? If not now, when?" How we are actually connected to Christ and practicing social ethics in community matters more than our disembodied abstractions. Having knowledge cannot be equated with doing good, though truth and goodness are somehow connected.

"Gather up the fragments that none will be lost."

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