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Injustice: A Better Apologetic

Confession:  I just may have learned more while working at a coffee shop than I did in graduate school.

I learned plenty of theory in school…but it was ‘real life’ that I learned while working for slightly more than minimum wage with a group of folks who could care less about what I was studying in books written by dead guys.

I developed some amazing relationships while I worked there. With real people who had real problems and real objections and real passions. It became a way that I stayed grounded while being immersed in the world of ivory towers.

Many days, my coworkers and I would talk back and forth about religion, theology, and finding God.  They coworkers were always open to an honest dialog, and their responses were much more…*colorful*…than most “church” people share.  Which I found refreshing.

We rarely agreed on any matters of faith.  But it was okay.  We could still work together and serve together even though we were on opposite pages on many key issues.

But I found that there was one thing that caused everyone in the store to bristle up.  It didn’t matter if you were a theologian or a hater of all things faith-based. Injustice trumped all of that.

I could be having a dialog about why God exists, with the other person digging in their heels as to why they believe that all of life is just an accident…when out of the blue, one of our coworkers would get chewed out by a customer.  And you know what didn’t matter at that moment?

What we believed about God.

We would all rally around that coworker and find out how we could remedy the situation.

One night, we were closed for the evening, and a customer tried to come through drive thru and order a drink. The customer ripped the barista apart for being closed. Injustice.  You think the only ones who responded were the ones who believed in an ultimate Creator?  Nope.  Everyone did.

Fighting injustice together was much more powerful than my talks on apologetics and theology.

One time, 3 people went out of their way to give 5-star service selflessly.  The customer stormed off, still angry that her coffee wasn’t perfect, not even acknowledging the sacrifice that the barista made.  Injustice.  The rest of the baristas felt that injustice and were angry for them.

Once, our ‘tip jar’ was stolen.  Which meant that, for that week, each person lost out on a grand total of $1.23.  Not a huge deal, right?  But that injustice caused all of the workers to get fired up, angry that they (and their friends) were unjustly treated.

I share these things to point out that it doesn’t matter what you believe about God.  Whether you’re a 5-point Calvinist, an Evolutionary Creationist, a Deutero-Isaiah-ite, or admittedly a non-follower-of-Christ, injustice is injustice.  You don’t’ even have to believe in God for injustice to find you and stir you up.

So is injustice a better apologetic?

We talked in grad school about the theological concept that God’s law is written on even the hearts of people who don’t believe in God (Romans 1:19-23).  I got to see this practically fleshed out.

Finding common ground is essential any time you’re trying to defend your faith.  But instead of just finding common intellectual ground, you may find more unity around the concept of injustice.  Because we all hate it.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

And what does the LORD require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8


Does ‘injustice’ get you fired up?

Is injustice a better apologetic than traditional, rationally and intellectually-driven methods?