For multiple reasons, I’ve recently come to thoughts about justice.
Engagement with society and culture is not a sphere in which I most easily operate, but it’s an important one. I don’t always empathize with or “get” justice movements that appear in the news. Some of them seem to be motivated more by emotions than by principles—and by goals other than justice. I do applaud many of the initiatives of Christians and others who are active in bringing “shalom” to various corners of the world, and something in me wishes I were involved.
As for me, I have to start small. For instance, I wish there were a way to get college basketball referees to be more just. Baseball is actually my “heart sport,” but I never had professional aspirations; I hit .548 as a twelve-year-old but must’ve known I wasn’t good enough to be a pro. I did once list “professional baseball umpire” as one of my top three career choices, thinking I had a good sense of timing and fairness on the baseball diamond. I also remember arranging “Three Blind Mice” for a trio of horns to play in the stands when a football ref made a bad call. It was amusing to a few of us, but it was more characterized by immaturity than it was motivated by justice.
Last night, I saw one ref in particular make two “foul” calls that he couldn’t have really seen well enough to make the call. The calls were arguably unjust (although the ramifications don’t run very deep in basketball games). The pic here is not of last night, by the way. The quality of the reffing has been questionable on several occasions here, and it upsets me more than it should. (So do other factors, like the over-the-top noise when I forget my earplugs, the fact that they played “Y.M.C.A.” for a cheerleader stunt, and the unsupervised kids who were running around in the stands, throwing items, and generally being pests in a crowd.) The refs seem to binge on foul calls—first on one team, then the other, recognizing that there had been a bad trend. Few “traveling” calls are made when they should be.
College basketball is not a corner of the world in which I have any influence, but maybe another corner or two are places that I can do something. For instance, maybe I can have a peace-bringing influence on the student who seems to be doing all he can to alienate his fellow students. He obviously isn’t well-liked, and I judge that there isn’t peace in his heart (or in the class atmosphere). Maybe. . . .
[And now, back to one of my projects—a book that attempts to bring Kingdom-of-God goals to the forefront. One chapter touches the hem of the justice garment, dealing with Christian societal engagement as distinct from politics.]