Gospel and Culture Series
In the past 20 years the Central American nation of Honduras has seen a 35 percent increase in the number of Protestant Christians and a significant revival in the Catholic Church. Meanwhile, an unprecedented number of short term mission groups and foreign development agencies have come to help the country. Even with all of this religious and humanitarian effort, Hondurans experience discouraging patterns of violence, corruption and poverty. In 2010 Honduras had one of the highest murder rates in the world at 77.5 per 100,000 people. A leading international index on government corruption rated Honduras 134 out of 178 countries. And 65 percent of Hondurans live below the poverty line. Around the world we see a similar pattern: Christian dynamism existing alongside high levels of injustice.
Nicholas Wolterstorff argues that working for justice is a Christian responsibility because of "the solidarity of all humanity in the image of God." However, the reality we see in Honduras and many other nations is that Christians often do not "Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God" (Micah 6:8). Many Christians focus on relief and charity work which treat the symptoms of injustice, like hunger or lack of health care, but they do not address the causes of these problems.
What is a Biblical definition of justice? What are the root causes of injustice? What is the role of the church, government and the individual in doing justice? How can academics and practitioners share experiences and skills to work for justice? Where can we find Christians converting theory to practice by bravely working for justice? We invite you to Honduras, of all places, to wrestle with these questions.
Calvin College will offer a seminar in Tegucigalpa, the site of its Semester in Honduras, from June 18-29, 2012. This seminar will address these questions at both the theoretical and practical levels through a close-up encounter with the justice efforts of Honduran organizations. Our hosts are two Honduran agencies, the Association for a More Just Society and Transform Honduras. A select team of North American and Latin American academics, pastors and practitioners will explore these themes together.