Tina's Reviews > Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just

Generous Justice by Timothy Keller
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May 06, 12

Read in May, 2012

I found this short book about caring for the poor and fighting for justice profound. Being interested in social justice, I thought the book was sort of preaching to the choir at first, but then Keller, a minister in NYC, began to make me a little uneasy with my own comfortable views of social justice. For instance, he questions whether most Americans are "middle class in spirit" rather than "poor in spirit." Do I somehow feel that I have earned my place in society? Do I think my own hard work has gotten me to where I am? If so, then I'm more middle class than poor. Yikes!

I think Keller does a good job staying politically neutral, explaining the views of both the right and the left, and then explaining how real life is more complicated than either view. Keller points out in chapter two that while the Bible itself gives us reasons for poverty, "Ultimately... the prophets blame the rich when extremes of wealth and poverty in society appear." He has great insights into the stories of the rich young ruler and the good Samaritan. He even cites a sermon from the early American minister, Jonathan Edwards, and makes it relevant. He does the same with an early 19th century Scottish sermon. Towards the end of the book, Keller gets more philosophical about world views and human nature and how that affects our views of justice.

I underlined many things, but I'll just include one here. "Like Isaiah, Jesus taught that a lack of concern for the poor is not a minor lapse, but reveals that something is seriously wrong with one's spiritual compass, the heart" (p.51)

Much to ponder and then act upon.
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