One of the biggest challenges to addressing social issues in our culture is what I’ll call the “pat on the back” mentality - the tendency to offer charity and handouts that meet someone’s immediate needs, but are as much about our own desire to feel good about ourselves then it is about genuinely helping others.
Giving money to a homeless person; volunteering at the food bank; sponsoring an impoverished child - all great things! - become a matter of checking off the “loving my neighbor” box of Christian faithfulness. The result is a segmented life where loving others is only something we do occasionally instead of an overall posture to life in the world. I think it’s clear that we need more.
In her book, Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World, Mae Elise Cannon cites this helpful distinction between service and justice.
*Found in Deep Justice in a Broken World