Parable about Charity and Justice
One summer in
the village, the people in the town gathered for a picnic. As
they leisurely shared food and conversation, someone noticed a
baby in the river, struggling and crying. The baby was going to
to save the baby. Then, they noticed another screaming baby in
the river, and they pulled that baby out. Soon, more babies were
seen drowning in the river, and the townspeople were pulling
them out as fast as they could. It took great effort, and they
began to organize their activities in order to save the babies
as they came down the river. As everyone else was busy in the
rescue efforts to save the babies, two of the townspeople
started to run away along the shore of the river.
"Where are you
going?" shouted one of the rescuers. "We need you here to help
us save these babies!"
"We are going
upstream to stop whoever is throwing them in!"
between Charity and Justice:
Both of the approaches in this story were necessary.
The CHARITY approach
(rescuing the babies) met an immediate need.
approach (stopping the babies from being put in the river in the first
place) dealt with the root cause of the problem.
Neither approach would be
enough on its own.
Direct response to suffering.
Changing the root causes of suffering.
Systemic, Structural, Institutional
Donating: food, clothing, shelter.
Calling and writing elected officials,
Serving in soup kitchens and homeless
purchasing and investing, changing corporate policies and practices,
building houses, organizing benefits, providing
community organizing, non-violent vigils and direct
supporting charities, tutoring...
prayer and fasting,
Remember the River...