On Vagrancy

I’ve written a number of times now on vagrancy.

I’ve done so because it’s a problem that before the pandemic confronted me each day downtown as I walked from my loft to work in one of the largest cities in the U.S.

Then, during the pandemic, my wife and I were in the midst of an unbridled binge watch of The Andy Griffith Show episodes on Apple TV, and we came upon one about vagrancy. 

This was the episode where Buddy Ebson (later of The Beverly Hillbillies fame) played a vagrant who wandered into Mayberry, and befriended Opie, extolling to him the benefits of the vagrant lifestyle. Opie was fascinated at first, but fortunately Andy intervened, and in the end, with Ebson’s help, Opie saw the light on volitional vagrancy.

I doubt our current culture is capable of making a proper moral judgment about volitional vagrancy. The homeless have become the urban noble savage, seen as a victim not of their own choices but of the alleged evils of a rigged economic system.

The first vagrant was Cain. See Gen. 4:12. And Cain’s story makes it clear that, at least in Cain’s case, vagrancy was a curse. See Gen. 4:11-12 (“Now you are cursed . . . . you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth”). That a curse made Cain a vagrant does not mean every vagrant is cursed, but it should destroy any illusions about the virtues of the vagrant lifestyle.

Continue reading “On Vagrancy”

On Social Justice, Part II

Yesterday, I wrote about one of two problems with the use of the phrase “social justice.”

Today I write of a third and more serious problem with the phrase and offer a an alternative.

I’ve used the phrase “social justice” for years, but there was always something about the phrase that didn’t sit right with me.

It wasn’t that I thought Christians should not be involved in social issues. I did.

It wasn’t that I thought the phrase had become associated with an agenda which many Christians opposed, although it probably had.

The biggest problem I had with using the phrase “social justice” is the “social” part of it. It suggests that society is responsible for injustice, and if everyone is responsible no one is responsible. Continue reading “On Social Justice, Part II”

On Social Justice, Part I

I believe in social justice and that the church should be the leader in facilitating it.

At the same time, although I’ve used it, I’ve never been comfortable with the phrase, “social justice.”

According to the New York Times, a few weeks ago 400,000 people took to the streets of Israel to protest for “social justice.” These demonstrations were driven by demands for affordable housing, tax reform and for the creation of a welfare state.

Apparently then, social justice would include demands made by Socialists and the Tea Party, which proves the phrase has no meaning.

And that is just one of the problems with the phrase. Continue reading “On Social Justice, Part I”