“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” 1 Peter 2:11-15 NIV
During my final semester at UMass Amherst this spring, I was taking two course, Public Anthropology and Historical Archaeology, that involved social justice as a central theme. We looked at how whole systems of injustice and oppression arise and develop, and how most people unknowingly contribute to oppression. Many of the readings about the systematic injustice perpetrated every day throughout the world left me saddened and angered. I started thinking of how these ideas relate to 1 Peter, where Peter demonstrates what a life changed by Christ looks like, and realized that one of the foremost ways, perhaps THE foremost way, of demonstrating how Christ has transformed my is to care for and pursue justice for the oppressed. These thoughts all started to coalesce one day as I was working in the Franklin Dining Hall kitchen, and I came to the conclusion that it is impossible to be a Christian.