From Greed to Need

December 20, 2010 @ 03:12 pm by Jacqui Lewis

Dear Friends,

Greetings to you and your loved ones in this season of light, love, and hope! We here at Middle Collegiate Church and The Middle Project pray that no matter what tradition you celebrate, this time of year will be one of peace and joy and a time to refresh your soul and spirit.

It seems that now more than ever we need some glad tidings of great joy. I was listening to NPR yesterday, and the radio host was interviewing Santa’s top ‘elf’ at the United States Post Office here in NYC. This elf was relating how the recession had definitely influenced the children’s wish lists. Gone were the letters of greed, he said, and instead was now the palpable sense of need. He told the host how often the volunteers who open Santa’s mail will get quite a chuckle when reading the requests. But this year, he said, volunteers were crying. It’s quite simple: our down-turned economy has affected our children’s most dearly held fantasies and wishes. So, now more than ever, we need prophetic voices to prepare ethical leaders for a just society. The prophets and writers of Holy texts depict an alternative reality to the status quo, one in which justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. In this reality, the Divine requires us to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. What does that look like in our lives of faith? What does “doing justice” mean in today’s economy? We hope you will register for our 5th annual conference The Leading Edge: A National Conference for Leaders on Faith, Justice, and the Economy, April 30 – May 3. You may register right now at We have special rates for groups of 2 or more and we also have a special student rate.

In hopes we will continue to do a bold new thing here on this earth together, I wish for you many, many blessings, now, into the New Year, and forward looking on into 2011. See you in April!

Peace be with you,



Exactly!!! What does "doing justice" mean in today's, or any economy for that matter? Your implication, no matter how unintended, is that "doing justice" is a variable due to economic conditions. How can justice be a variable? It is not. Is "doing justice" your euphemism for redistributing wealth? Why not call it what it is, charity. There's nothing wrong with charity. "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians (9:7)

donald green on December 28, 2010

Thank you Jacqui for bringing us the 5th Leading Edge conference. I disagree with Mr. Green that you imply "doing justice" is a variable of the economy and a euphemism for redistributing wealth. You are reminding us that in a changing economy, we need to transform our thinking about what "doing justice" means, not that the act of "doing justice" is a variable due to economic conditions. "Doing justice" is not about the redistribution of wealth, although that may be a result of your actions, but is about actively practising compassion in an informed way to relieve the suffering of others. It is about leveraging your impact to create the conditions for happiness of others around you. It is feeling with people and taking action to create a world where everybody is treated with absolute justice, equity and respect. It is a paradigm shift towards developing equanimity with intention combined with focus and action, and working to changing the current structures so that charity becomes less necessary.

Janice Wong on January 2, 2011

A very well thought out, and eloquent response Ms. Wong. I very much like your definition of "doing justice," i.e., "actively practising compassion in an informed way to relieve the suffering of others." This is what "doing justice" is all about, no matter what the economic conditions. There are always the poor, and the suffering who need our compassion, and help. The question "What does doing justice mean in today's economy" clearly implies that "doing justice" is variable. It suggests that "doing justice" today means something different than it did in the past. I do not think that the implication was intended. I think you put it much better. Can you expand upon your thoughts about the paradigm shifts, and changing current structures so that charity becomes less necessary. Kind Regards, Donald Green

Donald Green on January 6, 2011

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Preparing ethical leaders for a just society. Posts by Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister.

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