Get the full context: Read Jen Hatmaker's powerful post here.
There are always those who take it upon themselves to defend God, as if
Ultimate Reality, as if the sustaining frame of existence, were
something weak and helpless. These people walk by a widow deformed by
leprosy begging for a few paise, walk by children dressed in rags living
in the street, and they think, Business as usual. But if they perceive a
slight against God, it is a different story. Their faces go red, their
chests heave mightily, they sputter angry words. The degree of their
indignation is astonishing. Their resolve is frightening.
-Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench
to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I
will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I
will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will
not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a
river, righteousness like a never- failing stream!
Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations- I cannot bear your worthless
assemblies… When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes
from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your
hands are full of blood! Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil
deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek
justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
"Why have we fasted," they say, "and you have not seen it? Why have we
humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?"... Is not this the kind of
fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the
cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it
not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer
with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn
away from your own flesh and blood?
-Isaiah 58:3-4, 6-7
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand
rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal,
what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and
to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be
defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at
themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been
let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the
public arena but the small clearing of each heart. Meanwhile, the lot of
widows and homeless children is very hard, and it is to their defense,
not God's, that the self-righteous should rush.
-Life of Pi, by Yann Martel