Much of the modern conversation around creating justice focuses on ideas that too often reduce justice to human rights, procedural justice, and even the consumerism of the contemporary culture/economy. While the priorities of human rights and due process are necessary for fashioning a just world, the Christian understanding of the common good is much richer and calls the church beyond fairness to forms of liberation, compassion, mercy, and peace that are even more radical than the best notions of justice that characterize the nation-state at the beginning of the 21st century.
A Christian Justice for the Common Good describes a Christian justice for the common good and what it looks like on the ground in real world settings. Calling Christians (individuals, as well as communities of faith) to a concrete version of social well-being befitting faithful life in Jesus and God’s vision of justice for the world, Tex Sample drills deeper and identifies the skills that must be cultivated to do justice work with others—work that will create a lasting impact while extending a Christian vision for the common good.
The conclusion? The freedom God offers in Christ finds its place in concrete Christian efforts and the graced wherewithal of people who work generously with one another for a new and just life together.
1. The Reduction of Justice to Human Rights
2. A Christian Justice
3. The Formation of a Just Church
4. Skills of Justice
5. Doing Justice with Others
6. A Justice of the Common Good
“Justice is both a noun and a verb in this book. Once again, Sample’s keen eye and passionate commitment to the gospel is found in his persistent insistence that Christian justice is more than rhetoric—it is lived in our doing and being, morning by morning and day by day.”
—Emilie M. Townes, Dean of the Divinity School and E. Rhodes and Leona B. Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Nashville, TN
“God has placed on the heart of Tex Sample a lively, passionate commitment for justice for hard-working, blue-collar, and poor people. This book is the fruit of Tex’s many years of community and church organizing for justice for the common good. Tex helps us think like Christians about what God expects of us and gives us practical steps for how we can join in God’s work for justice for all God’s beloved people. Here’s an honest, challenging, useful, hopeful book.”
—Will Willimon, retired United Methodist bishop; Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC; author of Fear of the Other
“Once again, Tex Sample speaks clearly and in a ‘down-to-earth’ manner of justice for all to the ecumenical church and society. He does so from a confident and persuasive Christian perspective with solid theological and biblical grounding—and with a sensitive awareness of the nature of the interreligious world: thus, the ‘justice for the common good.’ I see reflected in this mature book what he and I have tried to teach and practice together for many years. I hope our former colleagues and students and many new ones will read and appreciate this most recent and excellent work by a seasoned prophet.”
—William B. McClain, Professor Emeritus of Preaching and Mary Elizabeth McGehee Joyce Professor of Preaching, Wesleyan Theological Seminary, Washington, DC
“Tex Sample's theology is a treasure held dear among all Christians who look for signs of God's justice in the face of massive affronts to justice in our society. He teaches us to reflect on the gospel while seeking to love the neighbors Jesus gives us. This book is a much needed fresh reading of the common good to which we are all called.”
—M. Douglas Meeks, Cal Turner Chancellor Professor of Theology and Wesleyan Studies Emeritus, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Nashville, TN