The privilege of individuals to enjoy social justice is another dilemma that the church community still struggles to achieve. In America, although churches adhere to the principles of Christianity, the issues of racial discrimination sometimes pervade into the church systems and affect the peaceful coexistence among the believers (Walton, 2009). Coupled with the highly polarized legal and political systems that frequently discriminate against people in accordance to their races, obtaining social justice is often an uphill task in America. According to Walton (2009), obtaining justice in the United States is a historical problem for minority communities. More surprising is that ethnicity has even made some churches remain branded as, the Black Churches, due to racial prejudice. In light of the above sentiments, this essay delves into unraveling the dilemma of social justice in the case of Sarah and her Cherry Hill Church.
Main Dynamics in the Case
From the case scenario, Sarah seems to be in an absolute dilemma. The first dilemma is whether to fight for the justice of the two senior church citizens or help the Hispanic minority son out of the death penalty recommended by the court. The biblical teachings themselves warn people about judging others since God will later judge them harshly (Walton, 1994). Sarah is in confusion as to whether to support the case against the minority boy suspected of murder or to help the family of the deceased congregants. Supporting the family of the Ma and Pa to sue the racial minority boy would give an impression that Sarah has betrayed her racial identity and ignored the plight of the racial minorities who end up incarcerated on wrongful convictions. Her church and racial affiliations spurred the confusion.
Sarah wonders whether to support the boy out of the conviction, as she is not sure whether there is enough evidence to incarcerate the juveniles. Supporting the boys out of the conviction would create an impression that Sarah is a racialist who is acting in vengeance to the historical injustices practiced against the racial minorities. Coupled with the situations of racial injustices that impelled her to relinquish her career in the criminal justice system, Sarah may feel motivated to support the suspected criminals. The ultimate dilemma is that the church needs her to demonstrate patriotism and support the elderly victims to attain justice in the courts, while at the same time the racial affiliates need her to act in the favor of the minority ethnicities. More dilemmatic is that the boys are just ‘suspects’ and not convicted criminals.
Concepts Learnt from the Case
Several concepts arise in the case of Sarah and the Cherry Hill Church. The idea that is coming clear in this scenario is that the Hispanics in the church were politicizing racial justice using their church spiritual identity. Since the aspect of social injustice pervades most of the minds of the minority Americans due to historical injustices, some members often fight for social accommodation in the parishes (Walton, 2009). By Hispanics seeking the favor of Sarah in the case, reveals the efforts of the Hispanics to support their social or racial identities. Another aspect that presents itself in the case is the idea of the involvement of Christians in supporting justice. Injustice is a sin, and Christians should rebuke it. Walton (2009) states that how the church contributes to ensuring that people attain justice, regardless of their social statuses or racial backgrounds, biblically and spiritually matters.
Another concept that arises in the case is the concept of sin. A sin is a sin, whether committed by a clergyman or by a pagan (Walton, 2009). The case contains what the theologians consider as a complex case of defining sin. The dilemma of Sarah on whether to support the murdered victims or the suspected criminals provides a quandary on whether she will be sinful in any of the circumstances. Additionally, the concept of how Christians handle relational and spiritual issues arises in this case. Sarah is almost incapable of handling the dilemma between her affiliation with the church members and her devotion to God and the holy teachings. Another concept that arises in the case is that the professional responsibilities of human beings sometimes alter their devotion to the teachings of God.
My Action Plan as the Pastor
The situation that directly calls for my intervention as the church priest of the Cherry Hill Church is helping the congregants to understand the need to embrace each other regardless of their ethnic disparities. The spiritual tool for all pastors is the bible where the truth about the best practices in Christianity lies (Walton, 2009). God tells people not to judge others. These are biblical words believed to be God’s own words delivered through the prophets. I will guide the congregation disheartened by the demise of the two elderly congregants in two major biblical positions. During the harsh period of tension in the church about the two dilemmas of which side each person could take, I will preach about church harmony, the true meaning of sin, and forgiveness.
The above approach will help the congregants to delineate between personal hard feelings towards the racial dilemma. After initiating a holistic plan to educate the church, a counseling program will take over. Being a Pastor, I will consider counseling the two affected families and Sarah on what God wants the believers to do when it comes to disheartening issues. Counseling sessions will bring the affected families together through an understanding of the teachings of the scriptures that emphasize the need to embrace forgiveness, understand sin, and understand the essence of congregational harmony. In explaining the true meaning of evil, Walton (2009) states that evil results from immoral and vicious actions that originate from the human personality and the continuous human tendencies. This statement is enough to describe the action plan strategized above.
Although Christians should ascribe to the fact that a congregation must have people of different accommodating and embracing each other regardless of racial background is what matters before God. The case of Sarah and the Honeyville Church presents a dilemmatic situation that is capable of splitting the congregants. For Sarah, understanding that in Christianity God is the ultimate judge is the most important guiding principle that could help her make an appropriate decision. Sarah should understand that judging is biblically wrong, as all human beings are sinful and unholy before God. For a pastor serving in such a congregation, counseling is the most biblically accepted remedy because pastors should act as leaders of God’s followers. Biblically, God’s followers are the believers who make up the church congregation. Lessons of sin, forgiveness, and church unity could help resolve misunderstandings.
Walton, J. (2009). Watch This: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism. New York and London: New York University Press.