A few years back Jim Wallis, Editor-in-Chief and Executive Director for Sojourners magazine, shared some striking information during a speech delivered as part of our annual urban ministries prayer breakfast here in Dallas.
Wallis noted that archaeologists had correlated prophetic activity in ancient Israel to the status of housing stock at given periods of the nation's history.
Archaeological digs reveal that when the housing stock of the nation was roughly equivalent and not reflecting great economic disparities, the prophets tended to be silent.
On the other hand, when the archeological material of other historic periods and strata reflected a wide gap in the quality of housing stock, the prophets raged and roared.
So, for instance, during the 8th century B.C.E., Amos, Isaiah and Micah delivered strong, corrective messages about oppression of the poor, the immorality of poverty and a clear call for establishing economic justice in the nation.
For the prophets of the Hebrew scriptures, economics was a moral matter.
The quality of housing available and the distribution of resources was a matter of faith.
Those who spoke for God saw economic disparity and injustice as a value issue.
I wonder, if he were alive, would Amos be speaking today?
Are there shocking disparities in wealth, housing, health care, education and other quality of life and opportunity issues afoot in America 2005?
Listen for a moment. Hear any prophets?
The Messiness of Ministry
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