My God IS Prejudice: Wednesdays with Walter: Day 9

Recently I saw a quote from a meme on Facebook, I can’t remember who posted it or to whom the quote was attributed, but the quote said, “We have turned the great truth that God is love into an untruth that God has no opinions about anything.”

Reading the great social reformer and pastor Walter Rauschenbusch has pushed me to this same thought again and again — God has an opinion about the poor, the disenfranchised, the widow, the stranger in the land. Reminding me of the words of one of my seminary professors, “God is prejudice; he prefers the poor. Don’t believe me? Read the prophets!”

In my reading of Rauschenbusch’s The Social Principles of Jesus this week, I ran across this poem from Ebenezer Elliot quoted on page 44-45:

When wilt thou save the people?

Oh, God of mercy! when?

Not kings and lords, but nations!

Not thrones and crowns, but men!

Flowers of thy heart, oh, God, are they!

Let them not pass, like weeds, away!

Their heritage a sunless day!

God! save the people!

God! save the people! — Is this the cry of my heart?

God! save the people! — Is this the cry of the Church?

It is my firm conviction that God has an opinion!

God has an opinion about the Dreamers!

God has an opinion about the trafficked!

God has an opinion about the orphan!

God has an opinion about the unborn!

I should have an opinion as well! Not mine — but HIS!

As a Christian, I need to stop thinking about social issues as Republican or Democrat, or conservative or liberal. I need to start thinking about them in terms of God’s opinion, God’s preferences, God’s prejudices!

I’m not suggesting this is easy, or that I have always gotten it right, or that I have it all right now. Determining the prejudices of God can be difficult and nuanced. But let’s not fool ourselves, let’s not pretend as though the prophets don’t exist, let’s not pretend that we don’t know what God requires (Micah 6:8) or that we don’t know the attributes of pure religion (James 1:27). Let’s not live as though God is not prejudice.

If God prefers the powerless and the poor, can we really fool ourselves — Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, Protestant or Catholic, evangelical or mainline — that God does not have an opinion about the…

…the Dreamer.

…the poor.

…the unborn.

  • Which of your opinions need to be conformed to God’s prejudices?
  • How can we live the prejudices of God in our everyday lives?
  • How can we determine which of our prejudices are more informed by our political affiliation than our love for a God?
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