Justice Conference Reflections: Next Steps

This is my final post reflecting on what I learned from the Justice Conference last month. So far I have talked about the definition of biblical justice, the oppression of women, the responsibility we have to fight that injustice, and how all the amazing presenters at the Justice Conference suggest we practically engage justice.

The stories I heard and wisdom imparted were overwhelming, but I was able to develop the following list of take-aways:

  • Focus on my relationship with God through prayer and reading the Bible, making sure I continue to keep my spiritual reservoir full so everything I do is grounded in God’s word.
  • “Doing justice” is about being in relationship with people, seeing them the way Jesus sees them, not as the world labels them.  
  • Be creative and think outside the box when it comes to justice. I can live justice and love others right in my own community.
  • Understand my own spiritual gifts, passions and talents to determine how I, as the person God created me to be, can best serve others.
  • Listen to what other people in my life are saying about my gifts and compare it to what I’m hearing from God to affirm my calling.
  • Step outside my comfort zone for the good of others. Take risks when serving others. Especially when those risks mean getting to know people for who they are.
  • Maintain a holistic balance between educating myself on issues (learning), sharing my story, faith, and ideas (speaking), and serving others in love (doing).
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Justice Conference Reflections: Practical Engagement

One of the reasons Rich and I attended the Justice Conference was to find a way to pursue God more fully through obtaining tools to help us practically engage justice in our everyday life. We were blessed to hear many talented and prolific speakers at the conference, who provided new ideas and challenged our assumptions. I am going to highlight some ideas, and follow up with one more post about how we plan on utilizing these tools from here on out.

Eugene Cho, Pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, WA, was one of the speakers I was most excited to hear. I have followed his blog and Twitter feed for months. Eugene has a knack for expressing spiritual truths in ways that make me see things in a new light, as well as touching on topics that others aren’t often willing to address. He is also a relentless advocate for the equality of women both in the church and around the world, and knowing that brings me great joy. 

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Justice Conference Reflections: Women and Equality

Because today is International Women’s Day, I felt it would be appropriate to write about the issue of global oppression of women. At the Justice Conference this past month, I sat in on workshops and sessions that discussed everything from sex trafficking to women leadership in church to the one-child policy in China. The thing that became apparent throughout the weekend was that gender inequality and oppression, although manifesting itself differently depending on the country you live in, is a universal tragedy. 

I heard the same statistic several times: approximately 60-100 million girls are missing from this earth.

Let that sink in.

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Justice Conference Reflections: What is Justice?

For almost my entire life, I’ve felt compassion for and longing to help the oppressed but have been paralyzed in regards how to follow through. In fact, during the 11 years I’ve been a Christian, I’ve only been involved with ministry for the past three. Having a desire to do more, to follow Jesus more fully, I decided to attend the Justice Conference. I hoped it would help me discover how I can make justice a part of my every day life. 

Since Rich and I have returned from the conference in Philadelphia, my head is spinning with the question, “what now?” This blog is just the very beginning of answering that question.  The amount of information that was planted in my brain a few weeks ago was overwhelming, and I need to slowly dissect everything to discover its relevant value for myself at this point in my life.  So I am going to break up my commentary over four blogs.  This blog will focus on what is justice and why it’s important. My second blog will be about presenters like Shane Claiborne, Eugene Cho and Brenda Salter McNeil, and their calls for practical engagement.  My third blog will focus on the issue of gender inequality, particularly the oppression of women around the globe. Lastly, I’m going to highlight some changes Rich and I are looking at making in our life to better reflect our values, ethics, and faith, while working towards “doing justice” and following Jesus in our everyday life.

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Why I am attending the Justice Conference...

I can’t stop mentioning to people that I’m going to the Justice Conference this week! I’ve wanted to go ever since I heard about last year’s conference, which was in Portland, OR, a skip and a step away from my brother and his family.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it all the way out there, but after downloading videos of the presentations given by Frances Chan, Rick McKinley, and Shane Claiborne (three of my favorite Christian authors), I was so moved I knew I couldn’t go another year without hearing what others had to say about living out biblical justice.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been interested in social justice. Around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 5th grade I wrote a story called “What Brotherhood Means to Me.”  Where I would wind up politically as an adult was foreshadowed in this line I wrote: “Brotherhood means that slaves and foreign people become free and/or equal.”  From a very early age, my parents instilled in us a belief that all people are due equal respect and courtesy no matter where they come from or what they look like.

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