Social Justice at home…not just abroad
By Zheng Yi
recently read an interesting story on Fuller’s website, in the news section. The article spoke about the recent Asian night market in Pasadena (the original article can be found, at least of the time this was written, here.
I was particularly surprised at how positive the article sounded, making note that this may have been the first time some of these people have been on the campus. The reason for this surprise is that the article leaves out one important detail concerning these “first time” experiences at Fuller. Many people came to the campus because there was inadequate restroom facilities at the festival, and as a result, many of these people found themselves traveling to nearby establishments in search of a bathroom. Since it was a weekend, the campus was not nearly as busy as it usually is during the week, and as a result, had plenty of facilities available for people to use. However, not long after the first wave of people came to use the restrooms, they were closed and a sign was posted on the Library door stating there were no restrooms for public use. For some, their first experience at Fuller was not one of Christian charity, but a lack of hospitality.
One cannot spend much time at Fuller without encountering the issue of social justice. It is frequently discussed in terms of those who have failing to provide for those who have not. While use of the bathroom in the U.S. hardly seems like a big issue in light of the other injustices going on in the world today, it gave me pause. Why can Fuller speak out against the evils of injustice and the need for compassion on large scale, world impacting issues, yet turn away people who have such a basic need from their own doorstep? Again, this was a weekend and there weren’t such a large number of people on campus that allowing people to use the restrooms on campus would have really inconvenienced anyone, aside from some extra cleaning needing to be done afterwards. Why does a child, who couldn’t have been more than three years old have to relieve themselves in our prayer garden because we shut our doors and failed to show basic compassion to someone in need? Does Jesus’ words, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) apply only to the “big” issues, or to all issues, even the seemingly trivial ones? “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10).
I do not write this to condemn, only to call us to be faithful to what we preach, especially when the opportunity comes knocking on our front door asking to use the bathroom.