• Why I support Micah Challenge

    Posted by Matthew

    23 August, 2011

    Blogger, Matt Anslow, on why he's a long-term Micah Challenge supporter

    Micah Challenge is both a necessary and potent instrument for God's kingdom. I want to tell you how and why I got involved.

    Micah Challenge is both a necessary and potent instrument for God's kingdom. I want to tell you how and why I got involved.

    Before I began working for TEAR Australia (one of Micah Challenge's coalition partners) I worked in a local church, studied theology (which I still am), and lectured in Biblical Studies (which I still do). My time in church ministry taught me many things, including that as a collective unit Christians have the ability to change the world through both their voice and action.

    Unfortunately, in my experience, there are times when Christians band together to stand for causes that are somewhat peripheral to the central issues that Jesus himself addressed (straining out gnats, but swallowing camels?).

    Nonetheless, the Church has great potential to change the world for good, and this potential has fortunately been realised in many episodes of world history.

    My theological journey has been a long series of twists and turns in which God has pushed, pulled, broken, rebuilt and pruned the way I see the world. While as a teenager I was convinced that the only thing that really mattered in the long run was getting to heaven after you died, I am now convinced that such a viewpoint is not even close to what Jesus taught...

    Jesus' central message was of course the kingdom of God - the reign of God - coming to earth as in heaven. Jesus said "Your kingdom come... on earth as in heaven", not "Get us off this earth and into heaven"!

    I like what N.T. Wright has articulated as a way of reflecting on what the kingdom coming might look like - if God was king, if he was in charge right here and right now, what would this place look like?

    So what would our communities, our cities, our world look like? I think among other things the Prophets, not least Micah, give us an insight. Micah's famous statement of what God requires is central to what the kingdom of God looks like in reality: He has told you, O man, what is good;
 and what does the LORD require of you
 but to do justice, and to love kindness,
 and to walk humbly with your God?

    It is not only the directives toward justice, kindness and humility that are important in Micah's statement. What is also important is the fact that he proclaimed the statement, that he used his voice to speak for the poor and marginalised in eighth century BC Israel.

    Words are powerful in biblical thought. God creates the world with words. Jesus heals and sets people free using words of power, love and forgiveness. There are of course a multitude of other examples. As those who are made in God's image, and who are given the task of imitating Christ, we can expect that in some way our words also have creative and liberating power (as well as the power of death is we choose cf. Proverbs 18:21).

    It is only appropriate then that Micah Challenge's major event in the annual calendar is called Voices for Justice. Not only do we heed the words of Micah in doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God, but we also emulate the prophetic witness that he, other prophets and Jesus embodied in their ministries.

    Like God we proclaim what is not yet in the belief that our words can have creative power to bring love and justice where there is not yet love and justice. Like Jesus our words can bring healing and forgiveness to both individuals and systems that have perpetuated injustice for so long so that they are redeemed, along with those they have imprisoned and oppressed.

    Imagine what the Church could do if its voice became louder as more Christians joined the Micah Challenge movement... We could change the world so that it more closely reflected the kingdom that Jesus taught, embodied, enacted and died for.

    This is why I got involved with Micah Challenge; to see the world changed by normal people like me. It can happen, because it already is.


    Matt Anslow is the National Young Adults Coordinator for TEAR Australia, one of Micah Challenge's Coalition Partners. He is currently studying a PhD in New Testament Studies focusing on Jesus' prophetic vocation.

    >>> Voices for Justice registrations have been extended until 25 August. If you haven't registered yet, in quick! Click here to register.<<<