Justice - practically living it out
From a video from CapitalMass
Richard Gough, General Secretary at the Diocese of London challenges us to think about justice as consumers, in the context of business and with our assets.
"It's exciting to see the difference it makes when you actually seek to live bringing justice and compassion in. But also daunting, just because actually it’s often quite hard to do that personally.
"One of my beacon verses is from the Old Testament, Micah 6:8, which says, “What does the Lord require of you, but to act justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” People often miss the context, and the context comes in verses 9 to 16, where Micah says, “Listen! The Lord is calling to the city …” and then he goes on talk about how do you apply justice and compassion and humility in the way you do business.
"There are three areas I’d like to touch on: One of those is, how do we spend our money as a consumer? The second one is, how do we just go about our work, or our business? The third one is, how do we use our capital? How do bring justice and compassion into those?
"It’s so easy, within capitalism, just to think of price and quality, but if we don’t think of values as well, capitalism is a very empty and a very unattractive mechanism. One of the great things we can do is support fair trade. It’s a way of actually ensuring that the producer of those commodities, whether they happen to be chocolate, or bananas, is getting a fair price for what they are producing. It’s great that many churches are involved with that. [See Traidcraft]
"Secondly, within our work, how do we bring justice and compassion into our work? To me, that means things like acting with integrity and transparency, rather than thinking, “What can I get away with?” For me, that is ensuring that we overall get a win/win situation, where people feel pleased to have done business with us, rather than feel afterwards, “What did they get away with?”
"The third thing is that of capital assets, because for many Christians, above a certain age, the most significant asset they have is not their income, it is actually their capital asset, which they might have built up, but we often don’t talk about how we’re using our capital assets to bring justice and compassion. I just want to mention one area, and that is a charity that I’ve worked with, called “Hope Into Action”. We’ll rent out properties for homeless people, people coming out of prison. We can use our capital to buy a house, to then be rented out. With an old friend, we’ve bought a house in Reading, which is then rented out through Hope Into Action. There are three homeless people who now are no longer homeless but have a place that they can call their home because of using that capital. For me, that’s an exciting way, and we use capital to make a difference, both in justice and compassion."
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