Viewing Topic: Social Gospel

Enough for Us All

Herb Montgomery | September 4, 2020 2020 has been a challenging year for many nonprofits. RHM is no exception. We need your support to impact lives and bring the faith-based, societal-justice focused resources and analysis RHM provides. Intersections between faith, love, compassion, and … Continue reading

A Pebble Cast Into a Pond

Herb Montgomery | August 28, 2020 “No matter how small or how disconnected it may feel to you, no matter how tempted you may be to categorize your present efforts to move this world toward justice, mercy, and peace as … Continue reading

Saltless Salt and Social Justice

Herb Montgomery | August 21, 2020 In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says: “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is … Continue reading

Social Liberation in the Jesus Story

Herb Montgomery | August 14, 2020 “As Jesus followers today, the gospel we tell must locate Jesus among our oppressed siblings, whether they are women, people of color, Black people, LGBTQ people, poor people, or others.” I was shocked when … Continue reading

Three Paths Toward Change Rejected

Herb Montgomery | July 31, 2020 “And in each of these versions of the story, Jesus announces the arrival of God’s just future (‘the kingdom’) but rejects three methods for bringing justice to fruition. We’ll look at each of them.” … Continue reading

Systems of Sacrifice

Herb Montgomery | July 24, 2020 As COVID-19 cases continue to rise and set new records each day, remember that the world that exists post-COVID will be determined by the kind of people we choose to be right now during … Continue reading

Mislabelling Social Justice as Foolishness

by Herb Montgomery | July 17, 2020 “I find it alarming that there are Christian pastors or leaders who call fellow Jesus followers seeking social justice ‘fools.’ It is past time for those who bear the name of Jesus to … Continue reading

More Effective Ways To Care

Herb Montgomery | July 10, 2020 “The question I wrestle with most when considering communities like those I just described is how do we protect certain community members from others who may use their strength to overpower, take advantage of, … Continue reading

A Path Toward Societal Equity

Herb Montgomery | July 3, 2020 “Every generation faces these inflexible alternatives, transformation or eventual implosion—these are the inflexible alternatives before us, today, too. How much of what we are now experiencing was unavoidable? How much could we avoid in the … Continue reading

Choosing Peace through Militarized Policing or Distributive Justice

Herb Montgomery | June 26, 2020 This week we end our consideration of the final warnings in Luke’s version of the Jesus story and how they might relate to our society. In Luke 23, we read: “Jesus turned and said … Continue reading

COVID and The Things That Make for Peace

Herb Montgomery | June 12, 2020 “We actually can transition to a society shaped by justice and love. We can imagine a different way of being together again post-COVID, and that way will be determined by the kind of people … Continue reading

A Different Kind of Messiah

Herb Montgomery | May 29, 2020 “Our passage this week and this pandemic make me think of my working-class Appalachian friends, family, and neighbors—forgotten by the establishment or marginalized by the elite class as dumb mountain people. These forgotten people … Continue reading

Building the World We Want to Live In

“Today, many of us are seeing our society being pushed to yet another breaking point. Blessed are the ones calling for change now. Blessed are the ones modeling a compassionate new world. Blessed are the ones shaping a world that … Continue reading

Growth For Growth’s Sake

Herb Montgomery | May 15, 2020 “The contradictions of our present economic system are being exposed more every passing day. The exploitations built into our present system are straining in this pandemic. A system with such a long history of … Continue reading

A Gospel for the Earth

by Herb Montgomery | May 8, 2020 “What would happen if Christians stopped believing that Jesus’s way is impractical, naïve, insufficient, or “doesn’t work in the “real world” and began to follow the way of life Jesus came to teach … Continue reading

A More Distributively Just Way

by Herb Montgomery | May 1, 2020 “The present pandemic is laying bare other areas of our unsustainable and unjust system. What would a world look like that is a safe, compassionate, inclusive, and just home for all of God’s … Continue reading

Transforming Negative Pushback To Work In Favor of Change

by Herb Montgomery | April 24, 2020 “We may still be a long way from our desired outcome, but we can make progress. Our efforts may be interrupted, delayed, or even halted, but that doesn’t mean we have necessarily failed.” … Continue reading

New Wine in Old Wineskins (Part 2)

Herb Montgomery | April 17, 2020 “Moments like these not only call us to reassess our systems, but also our own personal values and the values our societies have been built on: the systems we are accustomed to and our … Continue reading

New Wine in Old Wineskins (Part 1 of 2)

Herb Montgomery | April 10, 2020 “Texts must be interpreted in life-giving ways within communities that prioritize the voices of the most vulnerable in our society. These communities practice a preferential option for the marginalized and see every human as … Continue reading

We Are Not Just Passing Through

Herb Montgomery | March 20, 2020 “Our first concern should not be to leave it all behind, but to bring healing to the world around us. Jesus modeled how we can be conduits of healing to this world, and we … Continue reading

A Community of Healing Justice

Herb Montgomery | March 13, 2020 “At its source, it’s not about a lone hero who does something revolutionary on our behalf. It’s a call to participate, with others, in a community of healing justice. “You have said so,” Jesus … Continue reading

When Change Feels Too Risky

Herb Montgomery | March 6, 2020 “Are you seeing calls for societal change threatening the status quo today? Are you seeing concern and fear from the establishment toward movements for distributive justice or for a larger swath of people?” In … Continue reading

A Just Future Begins Today

Herb Montgomery | February 28, 2020 “Change can scare those benefitting from the present system no matter how unjust that system may be for others. Sadly the moderates in any given society typically side with the establishment, not with those … Continue reading

Zacchaeus and Christian Support of Destructive Administrations

“What is needed for empowered, privileged Christians who support a corrupt administration today to follow Zacchaeus’ example? What is needed for Christians to take more seriously Jesus’ commands to stand with the vulnerable and those on the margins rather than … Continue reading

The Refusal of the Older Brother

Herb Montgomery | February 7, 2019 “If you believe God loves someone, justice for them isn’t far behind. Love for those on the margins is the seed out of which the reality of God’s inclusive, just future sprouts.” “The older … Continue reading

The Ethic of Enemy Love (Part 2)

Herb Montgomery | January 31, 2020 “This I believe is the genius of the ethic of enemy love that Jesus and many others in history have taught. Rightly understood, it enables one to stand up to one’s enemies while not … Continue reading

The Ethic of Enemy Love (Part 1)

by Herb Montgomery | January 24, 2020 “I want to be careful with this ethic of enemy love. First, this ethic does not mean that we should expect reconciliation without change or reparations from our enemies . . . To … Continue reading

When Equality Means Some Are Given More Than Others

Equality, Equity and Jesus’ Preferential Option for the Marginalized by Herb Montgomery | January 17, 2020 “Some may cry unfair when others receive more, yet if this ‘more than’ is based on what they need is more than what others … Continue reading

Jesus’ Enoughism

by Herb Montgomery | November 22, 2019 “Some will say, ‘This sounds like socialism!’ I’m reminded of the words of historical Jesus scholar John Dominic Crossan, ‘Do not, by the way, let anyone tell you that is Liberalism, Socialism, or … Continue reading

A Gospel About Jesus Versus the Gospel Jesus Taught

Herb Montgomery | November 15, 2019 “One thread in Jewish tradition enlarged this hope and applied it not only to the Jewish people, but also to the rest of humanity with a much more universal end to all oppression, violence, … Continue reading

Biblical Inclusion Versus Biblical Exclusion

by Herb Montgomery | November 8, 2019 “What is our relation, as followers of Jesus, to the marginalized of our day? To what degree are we marginalized in our own lives? Are we standing in solidarity with others who are … Continue reading

Checking Your Privilege

Herb Montgomery | July 19, 2019 “We can do better than defensiveness. In this story of Jesus I hear the call to lay mine down . . . Another world is possible. But we’re going to have to learn to … Continue reading

Privilege and Power

Herb Montgomery | June 28, 2019 “Today, certain Christians are still trying to use the power of the state, not to side with the people and protect the vulnerable . . . to push their own agenda regardless of the … Continue reading

Challenging Exclusion

Herb Montgomery | June 21, 2019 It’s not enough to simply offer a gospel that only offers divine forgiveness of sins. A gospel that is faithful to the Jesus story must include people forgiving people. It must include a redistribution … Continue reading

When Doing the Right Thing Is Illegal

Herb Montgomery | June 14, 2019 “What happens when we have to choose between saving life and abiding by the law? Jesus’ healings call us to take a side either with the marginalized and liberator (with Jesus) or to interpret … Continue reading

Catching Big Fish

Herb Montgomery | June 7, 2019 “The fishing metaphor was a way to denounce injustice against the vulnerable, and looks forward to social change.” “‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will show you how to catch big fish.’ At … Continue reading

A Kingless Kingdom

Herb Montgomery | May 31, 2019 “ . . . and for those who associate abuse with the terms ‘God,’ or ‘heaven,’ or anything Christian, the kingdom even doesn’t have to be associated with religious dogma. Jesus demonstrated for us … Continue reading

Change from the Edges

Herb Montgomery | May 24, 2019 “One of the first steps of hope for people in such wilderness places is to understand that their situation reflects social and political forces, not the divine will . . .” “And so John … Continue reading

Social Salvation

by Herb Montgomery | May 17, 2019 “Here in the West we are shaped by a deeply individualistic culture, and some Christian communities rarely address Jesus’ social salvation, if ever. The form of Christianity that most people experience focuses heavily … Continue reading

Social Sins, Social Justice, and the Jesus Stories

Herb Montgomery | April 19, 2019 “Understood in this light, Jesus’ story offers rich fields for exploration and discovery as we learn to hear a gospel that calls us not to simply be ‘a good person,’  but also to stop … Continue reading

A Social Jesus

Herb Montgomery | April 12, 2018 “Today, sectors of Christianity that only teach a personal Jesus deeply need a reintroduction to the gospels’ social Jesus. They need to rediscover and understand social salvation contrasted with personal salvation. They need a … Continue reading

Prophets and Priests

Herb Montgomery | April 5, 2019 “Where else do you see institutions threatened by the voice of prophets? We may not call them prophets in every institution, yet the punishment of prophets is a universal dynamic. Whenever there are people … Continue reading

Salvation as Liberation, Reparation, and Societal Healing

Herb Montgomery | January 11, 2019 “Jesus’ vision for this world was not to condemn it, wipe it out, and make a new one. Jesus pictured a God who loved our world: a God who dreamed of this world’s healing, … Continue reading

Courage in the Face of Setbacks

Herb Montgomery | January 4, 2019 “Something for us shifted because of this meeting. As the Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes so eloquently states in Journey to Liberation, ‘When you start with an understanding that God loves everyone, justice isn’t very … Continue reading

Lightening the Burden of Others

Herb Montgomery | December 21, 2018 “This Christmas, we may not all have someone whose economic debt we can cancel. But are there other types of forgiveness we could embrace? Are there reparations for past wrongs we still need to … Continue reading

Healing Our World, Part 2

Herb Montgomery | November 29, 2018 “Exclusion, whether racism, misogyny, homophobia, or whatever, is already within many us. What are our faith traditions doing to challenge and change us so that we can participate in making our larger society more … Continue reading

Justice, Grace & Charity: Part 2

by Herb Montgomery | November 16, 2018 “While we work toward a better world we must also be about mitigating the damage being done in this one. But do not think for a moment that if we have only offered … Continue reading

Justice, Grace & Charity: Part 1

by Herb Montgomery | November 9, 2018 “We need justice that is distributive. We need grace which is liberating. Only with both will we see far enough to have a life-giving discussion about charity.”   “Here is my servant whom … Continue reading

Justice and the Love of God

Herb Montgomery | November 2, 2018 “To believe in universal love is to work for a distributive, societal justice for those who are the objects of that universal love.” “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of … Continue reading

Healing Our World, Part 1

by Herb Montgomery | October 26, 2018  “’The separation between Church and State is different from the separation of faith and public life.’ . . .  The separation of church and state is about keeping the state out of matters … Continue reading

Another World is Possible (Part 1)

by Herb Montgomery | June 28, 2018 “Tempted to succumb to the narrative of scarcity and competition against one another for the one loaf in the boat, they forgot the lesson in the feeding of the multitudes.  What little we … Continue reading

Political Jesus

by Herb Montgomery | May 17, 2018   “Jesus was political. Neither he nor those whom he cared about could afford to ignore the systems of injustice and oppression damaging real human lives.” “After John was put in prison, Jesus … Continue reading

Pyramids, Circles and a Shared Table: Jesus’ Vision for Human Community (Part 2)

Jesus’ shared table community was an expression of voluntary “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.” by Herb Montgomery | May 10, 2018 “Yet too often, historically, economic reforms have come at the expense of … Continue reading

Pyramids, Circles and a Shared Table: Jesus’ Vision for Human Community (Part 1)

by Herb Montgomery | May 3, 2018 “Politics answers the question of who gets what. So Jesus was not a religious figure as much as he was a political one. He did not fundamentally challenge his Jewish religion, at least … Continue reading

It’s Easier to Build a Religion than to Build a Better World.

by Herb Montgomery | April 20, 2018 “Yet, it is far easier for those with power and privilege to merely worship Jesus, to preach a gospel about Jesus, and build a religion around Jesus, than it is for them to … Continue reading

Directed Good News 

by Herb Montgomery | April 12, 2018 Jesus’ gospel was good news to those who were on the margins. If they were able to shape a safer, more compassionate, just society, this would, in the long run, be good for … Continue reading

You Will Judge the Twelve Tribes of Israel

by Herb Montgomery | February 8, 2018 “Our saying this week tells us that another world is possible . . . Our challenge is to shape a society that reflects a set of values that shape our world into a … Continue reading

The Kingdom of God within You

by Herb Montgomery “Today, Jesus’s ‘Kingdom of God,’ a community that centers and puts first those our present society places as last, is within our ability. We can choose to do life differently. When it comes to the subject of … Continue reading

Faith Like a Mustard Seed

by Herb Montgomery “It is these [the marginalized] whom Jesus tells to have hope, that God is not like their oppressors have made them think, that the end of their misfortunes is at hand, that the Kingdom of God is … Continue reading

Forgiving a Sinning Brother or Sister Repeatedly

by Herb Montgomery | November 10, 2017 “Safe spaces” are not spaces where everyone’s opinion is equally valued. Safe spaces are spaces where there is a preferential option practiced for the most vulnerable in the room. Safe spaces are spaces … Continue reading

Since John the Kingdom of God

by Herb Montgomery “It’s one thing to mistake something bad as good. It’s quite another to mistake the Sprit’s work of liberating and re-humanizing those who have been dehumanized and objectified as an evil that should be opposed. This is … Continue reading

Judgment over Jerusalem

by Herb Montgomery “Every day we each face the choice of whether to work toward a new inclusive community or not. What can we learn from this week’s saying? It’s not just a lamentation for 1st Century Jerusalem . . … Continue reading

The Reversal of the Last and the First 

  by Herb Montgomery “Economies that keeps workers desperate are structured that way by design . . . Just this past week it was published that there is not one state in the US where a 40 hours a week (full-time), … Continue reading

I Do Not Know You

by Herb Montgomery “Why is the path narrow? It’s narrow simply because it’s traversed by so few. Paths are broad or narrow determined by the number of those who travel them. In other words, we too often think of this saying … Continue reading

The Parable of the Yeast

by Herb Montgomery Featured Text: “And again‚ with what am I to compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast, which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour until it was fully fermented.” (Q 13:20-21) Companion … Continue reading

Settling out of Court

by Herb Montgomery Featured Text: While you go along with your opponent on the way, make an effort to get loose from him, lest the opponent hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the assistant, and the … Continue reading

Children against Parents 

by Herb Montgomery Featured Text: “Fire have I come to hurl on the earth, and how I wish it had already blazed up! Do you think that I have come to hurl peace on earth? I did not come to … Continue reading

The Faithful or Unfaithful Slave

by Herb Montgomery Featured Text: “Who then is the faithful and wise slave whom the master put over his household to give them food on time? Blessed is that slave whose master, on coming, will find so doing. Amen‚ I … Continue reading

The Son of Humanity Comes as a Robber

The banner reads: “Capitalism isn’t working: another world is possible.” G20, Meltdown Protest, City of London, Bank of England, 1 April 2009. Credit: Tony Hall. by Herb Montgomery Featured Text: “But know this: If the householder had known in which … Continue reading

Free from Anxiety like Ravens and Lilies

by Herb Montgomery Featured Text: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you are to eat, nor about your body, with what you are to clothe yourself. Is not life more than food, and the … Continue reading

Storing up Treasures in Heaven 

by Herb Montgomery Featured Text: “Do not treasure for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and gnawing deface and where robbers dig through and rob, but treasure for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor gnawing defaces and where … Continue reading

Hearings before Synagogues

by Herb Montgomery Featured Text: “When they bring you before synagogues, do not be anxious about how or what you are to say; for the holy Spirit will teach you in that hour what you are to say.” Q 12:11-12  … Continue reading

Confessing or Denying

by Herb Montgomery Featured Text: “Anyone who may speak out for me in public the son of humanity will also speak out for him before the angels. But whoever may deny me in public will be denied before the angels.” … Continue reading

Why Christians Should Be the Last People on Earth to Justify the Use of Torture for the Protection of National Security

by Herb Montgomery “You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.”—Caiaphas (John 11.50) Substitute the word “tortured” in place of the word “die” … Continue reading

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