The Power of Social Ethics / On Robin Lovin

The Power of Social Ethics / On Robin Lovin January 26, 2020
ScreenShot / Journey Films


These thoughts were adapted from the work of social ethicist Dr. Robin Lovin.  In fact, this is an attempt to create a brief description of his thought.  Lovin was important in the development of my early theological understandings of the self and the other.  I guess you could say that his work was a launching point for my journey into more explosive things.



“When we encounter a gracious God in the midst of actual ethical life, that life becomes our own, probably for the very first time.  We need no longer live according to someone else’s pattern, but we can find the goals and virtues that allow us to live a good life in our own situation…We are free to live by the rules and commitments that make a good life possible, instead of trying to justify ourselves according to someone else…So ethics, instead of being a way to defend ourselves, becomes a way to love our neighbors and a way to love God as well.“

Christian Ethics, 125



Social ethics about loving the neighbor as we love our self.  Is this not the definition of what it means to be most human?  Social ethics is both an individualistic and collective task. We must never trample the other. We cannot be well until the other is well.  We is the path to me…the path to holiness or wholeness.  The commandment of love guides us in the task.

A society cannot function without social ethics…and we are going to constantly be called upon to decide what is ethical.  Sometimes the path to righteousness is obscured by he path to self-righteousness.  The greatest temptation is always to totalize our experience at the expense of the other.  We are not ethical if we think we are the embodiment of ethics.  Therefore, the study of social ethics is important to help us learn the beauty of denying the self…and opening the heart to the neighbor.  Indeed…you one can’t be ethical alone.  People are our only ethical guides.

We are called to be salt and light.  The age makes no difference.  The place makes no difference.  The cost makes no difference.  We are called to be salt and light.  Social ethics is the center of the spiritual life…because without it…we have no center from which to begin.  God is the power of social ethics that pulls us ever closer to God .



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