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Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

Fifty years ago this week one of the largest protests in American history took place, The Great March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The march incorporated many speakers, including the Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. He stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial, almost 100 years after millions of slaves were emancipated by President Lincoln, and declared "I have a dream..."

These are my reflections... 

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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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Sometimes I feel like a crappy Christian

Sometimes I feel like a crappy Christian.  I judge Christians who judge other Christians for not being Christian enough, and then I say the person who first judged is not being Christian enough. I know, I suck. Big hypocrite!

Yesterday started out as a very inspiring day with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and also the second inauguration for Barack Obama, 44th president of the United States.  After recently seeing Lincoln and Django Unchained (no matter how fictional and historically inaccurate some claim the latter film to be), thoughts of where we’ve been in this country and how far we’ve come in terms of civil rights were fresh in my mind. I almost started crying as I watched Michelle Obama walk down the hallway into the front of the Capitol, and again as the President spoke about Dr. King, Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall. So much progress, yet so much more to be had.

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