Injustice in community is a form of power,

an abuse of power, and justice is an exercise of just and lawful institutional power.

“Guiding Principles for a Free Faith,” from on being human religiously, James Luther Adams

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In history and in the human heart there are, then, destructive as well as creative powers.

These destructive powers are manifest in the social as well as in the individual life, although they are most subtly destructive in the social life where the individual’s egotism fights under the camouflage of the good of the nation, the race, the church, or the class. These destructive impulses…seem veritably to possess people, blinding them, inciting them to greed, damaging the holy gifts God provides. This is precisely the reason for the need of the redemptive, transforming power.

“Guiding Principles for a Free Faith,” from on being human religiously, James Luther Adams

The reign of God, the reign of the sustaining, commanding, transforming reality is the reign of love,

a love that fulfills and goes beyond justice, a love that cares for teh fullest personal good of all. This love is not something that is ultimately created by man or that is even at our disposal. It seizes and transforms life, bringing us into a new kind of community that provides new channels for love and new structures of justice.

“Guiding Principles for a Free Faith,” from on being human religiously, James Luther Adams

This faith in the freedom that creates the just community is the faith of the Old Testament prophets.

They repudiated the idea that the meaning of life is to be achieved either by exclusive devotion to ritual or by devotion to blood and soil, or by self-serving piety. The “holy” thing in life is the participation in those processes that give body and form to universal justice. Injustice brings judgment and suffering it its train; it is tolerated only at the peril of stability and meaning.

“Guiding Principles for a Free Faith,” from on being human religiously, James Luther Adams