Monday, October 19, 2009

Justice and other matters

I don't think I mentioned that for my Spiritual Formation class I agreed to explore justice as a spiritual discipline. As I understand its historic practice, it's pretty straight-forward. You just bring justice in every day situations. Easier said than done though.

So here's my first attempt. Lately there's been a little controversy in my blog comments, and I've started moderating comments. I've agreed to give the accused party one more chance, and I stand by that.

So here we go...

SuperEgo, you have been charged with name-calling, bigotry, and making my wife mad. Rather than go through the whole guilty/not guilty thing, I'd like to have a trial in the truest since.

You set yourself up as a nemesis, and seem to believe you have some mastery in the area of human psychology. Therefore, your trial will include a test of both.

I challenge you to provide a "solid" answer to the following question:

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

It's an old classic that people have tried to answer before. Don't just search the internet on this one, please. Use your noggin and give me an answer that will put an end to my philosophical musings on this question. You've been reading my stuff for more than six months, so you should have enough knowledge about me as to determine what I might deem satisfactory.

It does have at least one answer.

If your response involves any name-calling or any other junk like that, it's unlikely to be posted here.

You may submit your answer as a response to this post or to my email, which I believe you already have.

To my other readers: Please feel free to give this question a shot yourself, if you're up to it. If I like your response, I'll post it alongside my own response to the question.

SuperEgo, consider yourself "banned" until you can give me a satisfactory answer. You may submit your answer anytime between now and next Monday.

So...let's get to it!



  1. I'm not attempting to answer that one. But I WOULD like to know more about justice as a spirtual discipline, so puhlease talk about that at some point, would ya?

  2. David...I haven't been following the saga with Super-Ego, and obviously haven't seen the deleted and offensive perhaps I speak out of turn but...

    I am not sure how you got from justice as a spiritual discipline to creating a final test for your adversary. Seems to me that Biblically, Justice is God's realm alone. When we try to monkey with it, things go haywire. I suppose I could back that up with some citation, but I'm feeling lazy :)

    Also, theologically it seems that broken relationships need reconcilation not lines drawn in the sand. Help me understand how this post/process moves you toward reconcilation and understanding with the offender.

  3. Amy!

    (For anyone that doesn't know Amy, let me just catch you up by telling you she's a super-smart girl whose opinion I very much respect.)

    The problem here is that too many comments involved personal insults and name calling. I had a few people come to me upset about the whole deal. Also, this has been for six months, and it's from an anonymous poster.

    As far as the theology, you're right about reconciliation. But imagine somebody's standing up in the middle of your worship service and yelling hurtful things. You can maintain the relationship, but that doesn't mean the person shouldn't be removed.

    In regard to justice, it shouldn't be confused with vengeance, which is God's job. If justice is something we should wait for God to take care of, what place is there for liberation theology?

    Finally, if SuperEgo is someone with whom I have a real relationship, knowing who that person is puts everything in a new light.


  4. Now, here you are making me think...which is what I expect out of you, David!

    I am glad you are moderating comments, the cyber world ought not be free-space where anything goes. You setting boundaries and protecting your blog is part o the deal.

    I was sloppy in saying that justice is God's alone, perhaps I should have said "judgment" along with vengeance that you mentioned.

    Living justly is clearly part of our response to God (Micah 6:8) but it seems tied pretty closely to providing everyone with basic needs (not devouring widow's houses, Matthew 25, sheep and goats and all that).

    I have a sign on my office door, a quote from Dom Helder Camara, that says "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist."

    The first part of that statement is the discipline of generosity, the second comes from the discipline of justice. (and is clearly a question liberation theology would ask.)So I think.

    My question to you is how does putting a guy on trial (esp since you alone, not a community, are the judge) grow in you the love of God and neighbor?(that's the point of Spritual Disciplines, right?)

    I have loved reading Solid Footing...thanks to Odom for linking to you one day past. I am also interested to see if Super Ego meets your challenge or just slinks away back into Cyberspace.

    I'm really pushing you a little beacause I have no earthly idea to answer the question about trees and woods.


  5. Dang! Y'all are being all smart and stuff. Bring it on! Ame, that's a great quote, I'm totally stealing it from you. I've enjoyed reading your back-and-forth. And may I humbly say that I find this topic alot more interesting and relevant than the tree thingy. But maybe that's cause I don't know the answer to that one either.

  6. Well, this is where we are after six months of warnings. I actually appreciate much of the criticism he offers, but not the personal attacks.

  7. Wow, Solid, approving all of my comments now? So, you're "approving" opposition? Here's my issue with the whole "blog" concept...

    Anyone can subscribe to the internet, and anyone can start a blog. The problem is, blogs are not regulated. So any average joe can start a blog, post "advice" (which may just be rantings, i.e. your GRE blog) and people may actually give merit to these blogs, or the person writing the blogs, because they like their style and can relate. i.e. average americans wanting to "have a beer" with GWB, the man you, for some reason, thought was a "pretty great president" again, seriously? I'll actually give you another chance to rebuke that statement.

    The problem is that "average joes" do not have the proper training, credentials, etc., to give advice on something they do not have specialized training in.

    Online blogging further blurs the lines for other "average joes," who may be looking for actual recommendations, and get directed to a blog when doing an online search.

    Online blogging is a medium to give "average joes" the same voice as a PhD on the same subject.

    In closing, the reason I am writting this as a comment is because I do not have your e-mail address. So, to respond to me, please e-mail me. My email address is This will be my last comment, and I will no longer follow your blog. By the way, which universites did you attend to get your degrees, and where are you planning to apply for your PhD?