Last week I attended The Justice Conference in Los Angeles. It was my first time attending this conference, and I was super excited. I’ve attended a lot of conferences, but this was really my first big one on social justice issues, which is such a huge part of my heart. The speakers did not disappoint. Really good stuff. I wanted to share some of my favorite thoughts with you. Hopefully they’ll inspire you as well, as you pursue the work of justice.
Innovation and Creativity in the Church
Ken Wytsma, Founder of The Justice Conference and author of Pursing Justice
Charles Lee, author of Great Idea, Now What and founder of Ideation Camp
Jeremy Courtney, Preemptive Love Coalition Co-Founder
- Innovation is problem-solving. Creativity is how you get there.
- The idea you start with is rarely the idea you end with.
- Sometimes you just push through the work even if you don’t know what you’re doing.
- Ideas are impotent without action.
- Talking about something tricks your brain into thinking you’re actually doing something.
- Get out of your own circles to get new ideas.
- Being in the right place at the right time is most important. (Be present)
- Unplug and reflect regularly.
- “We need to be a tangible expression of good to the world.” – Charles Lee
- We make time for things we value.
- How do we make time? 1. Prioritize. 2. Let others participate. 3. Incremental execution. 4. Resist the urge to listen to irrational voice. 5. Take your own advice. 6. We veil our laziness with too many meetings and coffees; just get moving. 7. Be prepared to fail gloriously.
Justice and The Gospel
Ken Wystma, Founder of The Justice Conference and author of Pursing Justice
- The gospel and justice aren’t two separate conversations.
- Justice and “good works” aren’t the same thing.
- The dictionary defines justice as: a right relationship with God, self, others and creation.
- Justice structures a society. Justice and righteousness used to be synonyms, but justice has taken on new meaning.
- Truth corresponds to what is. Justice corresponds to what ought to be.
- Restorative Justice tries to bring things back to alignment. Helping put things back into alignment is part of being a Christian. It is tied to our flourishing.
- Justice becomes a theological necessity. We learn about God through justice.
- Jesus’ coming was Restorative Justice. That’s the Gospel.
- Restorative Justice is a means to the end—the relationship.
- We can’t understand the Gospel without justice.
- It’s not Jesus or justice. It’s both. They are the same.
- Jesus IS the justice of God come down to earth.
- Justice is a defining characteristic of Jesus.
- There has never been a time when you had Jesus and not justice.
Justice and Consumerism
Hans Tokke, Eastern University
- The essence of America is the economy. It’s the freedom to shop. People want to keep the money in their pockets and use it how they see fit. It is rooted in individualism. 70% of economy in the buying and selling of goods.
- The most important shift in suburban society with washing machine. It went from 8 hours to 4 hours of cleaning clothes from start to finish. Advertising soon followed with wants versus needs.
- Paradox of Choice – a book that demonstrates when we have an over abundance of choice, we don’t even choose. We are overwhelmed.
- Biblical concept of benevolence (Mark 14:7) ,”The poor you will always have with you,and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.”
- How do we treat the widow, orphan or sojourner? That answer is a reflection of a society.
- Us vs. Them. The way you treat your budgets are a reflection of your values.
- A lot of people will not be with you. They will support you at a distance.
- Is caring for the poor an add-on to your life or part of who you are?
Unfinished: The Pursuit of Justice Around the World
World Vision Panel: Rich Sterns, Mae Cannon and Romanita Hairston
- Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
- “There are many things that can only been seen by the eyes of those who have cried.” – Oscar Romero
- Jesus didn’t tie up everything with a bow when he left. He gave us the Great Commission.
- The Great Commission and the Greatest Command pretty much sum up our mission. Jesus hasn’t come back because the mission isn’t finished.
- 40% of the world hasn’t heard the Gospel.
- 1 in 5 children live below the poverty line in the US.
- NGOs and governments’s are mostly caring for the justice efforts. The Church needs to step up to the plate. There are 340K churches in the US.
- Think not about programs but people.
- To decide how you feel about immigration, meet an immigrant. To decide how you feel about Title 1 schools, meet families and teachers there. Don’t just stand at a distance or take the word of someone else, even the news.
- “Talk to me about Jesus because you love me; not because you need me.” – Jewish lady in Israel
- Palestinians see Americans as people who make weapons against them.
- Palestinian Christians wish US Christians would remember them. They exist.
- Lead with love. It’s attractive.
- Church should be a verb as well.
- Our solution is often in the places that we don’t go, or are hard for us to go. Be in the difficult places. We are challenged there, and forced to ask ourselves hard questions.
- Justice is the job of the church.
Putting Flesh to Your Vision
Eugene Cho, Founder of Quest Church and charity One Day’s Wages
- Nehemiah 1
- God is still speaking to the world today. Do we have the discipline and courage to hear and obey?
- Everyone has a theology. Our theology informs and drives our calling.
- 1. Shut Up and Pray. Our culture elevates acting quickly. Jesus withdraws, even at the height of His popularity, when He needed to. Nehemiah did this for several months, probably 4-6 months. We tend to speak and act from an emotional response only.
- 2. Ask the Hard Questions. Have people who can do this and be trusted. Do this for yourself. We sometimes are tempted to start things for the wrong motivation. We tend to elevate entrepreneurs. Check your motivation.
- 3. Get Smart. You need to be committed to being an expert in your calling. Your emotional conviction can’t be enough. Intelligence isn’t the antithesis of faith.
- 4. Discern Your Passion, Mission and Vision. Passion is important, but not everything. Your Mission asks WHAT do you want to accomplish. Your Vision asks HOW do you want to accomplish your mission.
- 5. Identify Who’s On Your Team. God never speaks His vision in isolation. Get excited about the prospect of who you might work with. Collaboration should be your best friend. You need a support network for the hard times.
- 6. Have a Strategic Plan. Strategy is not the enemy of faith. If it has value to you, do the work. Be flexible because your plans will change.
- 7. Funding. Social capital is your greatest resource.
So, that was the Pre-Conference. Pretty awesome, huh? Stay tuned for notes from the main event!