‘As we participate in caring communities, we become more of who we were created to be.’ Grant Campbell, our CEO, blogs about the speech he made this week at the Scottish Parliament.
I’ve just had the privilege of speaking about what Social Justice and Equality mean to me at the Scottish Parliament. I was asked to share the platform with Alex Neil MSP, the newly appointed Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice. Here’s an outline.
Turn the other cheek
The gospel according to Matthew records that Jesus said 1 'do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.' It seems such a strange saying, almost advocating a pacifist ‘please just hit me again it doesn’t matter’ response. While we instantly recognise that it’s a non-violent response, we don’t seem to understand why the other cheek? Are we to be door mats to be stepped on?
Rather this is actually a non-violent protest, a statement of equality that would have reverberated around the city and nation.
You see, in order to be slapped on ‘the right cheek’ you must strike with the back of your hand, an action that is strongly associated with master and slave, ruler and subservient, or someone of lower status in society. Equals would come to blows, or use palm of the hand. Hence turning the other cheek is a provocative statement of equality. It says that I am not less than you, I am your equal and you should treat me as such.
Social justice and equality are much talked about subjects, and many work hard to achieve it. Yet it still seems that they are forever on the horizon, just in view but out of reach.
Too often there are people in society who are invisible to us, that we don’t see or don’t notice, people who often need to be seen, heard and understood. Sadly and painfully we’re all too well aware that, depending on where geographically you are born and in to what kind of family, can, with a few notable exceptions, often have devastating effects on your prospects.
Yet the value of a life born into poverty is no different from those born into security. We’re all different but ‘We're a' Jock Tamson's Bairns'.
Sometimes we need to work a little harder with those who are vulnerable – to level the playing field to provide the same opportunities for all of society. I feel compelled to work for a society that acknowledges that it must do more to support disadvantaged people – to help them reach their full potential.
Genesis tells us that God created us as to be human in His image. This image and something of our humanity was quickly broken. While I would strongly argue that it is Christ who redeems us, there is something in our care for the other that makes us all more human and less broken. As we participate in caring communities, we become more of who we were created to be as we give and receive the community’s care. That for me is just the start of social justice and equality.
1. Matthew 5:39 NLT
Grant’s blogs can all be found on his Blogspot site.