Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


Leave a comment

The Justice Conference 2015: My Favorite Quotes

Justice Conference StageLast week I attended The Justice Conference in Chicago with a couple of friends. This was my second year, and yet again, it provoked so many thoughts about social justice and pricked my heart for reconciliation in the hard places.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes. I hope you enjoy them too. May they lodge themselves in your mind, and propel you toward creating a better future for us all.

 

Cornel West

Scholar, Activist, Servant and Lover of Music

  • May the God of justice bless you with discomfort.
  • Have the audacity to make Jesus your choice.
  • Look back before you move forward.
  • Love your way through the darkness.
  • If the Kingdom of God is in you, you should leave a little bit of heaven wherever you go.
  • Following Jesus means you’re welcoming a proximity to pain.
  • Quoting Samuel Beckett, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Eugene Cho

Pastor, Writer, Visionary

  • Justice must be part of our worship of God.
  • Everyone loves justice until there is a cost.
  • John 4: Jesus HAD to go through Sumeria. He was compelled. He went to the hard places to make people’s lives better.
  • Even good things can become idolatrous.
  • Everything we do should be a response to God’s love.
  • Justice must always be humble.
  • Be careful that you don’t become self-righteous. Otherwise YOU may be the mountain God wants to move.
  • Our hope is not in our Savior Complex.

Louis Dooley

Illinois Regional Director, Set Free Ministries

  • Get out of the Christian bubble.
  • Get your hands dirty.

Bob Goff

Best-Selling Author and Speaker

  • Love everybody, always.
  • God makes people. And people make issues. But people aren’t issues.
  • Let people get justice because they know you.
  • You’ll be known for your ideas, but remembered for your love.

Ken Wytsma

Teacher, Entrepreneur, Author

  • Faith lives in a climate of doubt.
  • It’s not the quality of faith that matters, but the presence.

Jenny Yang

Vice President of Advocacy and Policy at World Relief

  • We are all called to be advocates.
  • There is a limit on charity, but there is no limit to transformational relationships.

Ann Voskamp

Author, Blogger, Farmer’s Wife

  • We need to become the Esther generation, advocating for those outside the gates.
  • Accept the invitation to cross boundaries.
  • When your heart breaks for justice, pray to stay broken.

Jonathan Merritt

Columnist and Author

  • We should nurture bravery, humility, empathy and diversity.
  • Learn how to disagree well. It usually involves more listening.

Rev. Traci Blackmon

Pastor, Member of the Fergusson Commission

  • Many of us are blind to our privilege.
  • Privilege is an “othering” of people.
  • Look for God’s image in everyone.
  • Nobody gives up privilege willingly. Are you ready to pay the cost?

Louie Giglio

Pastor of Passion City Church, Founder of the Passion Movement

  • Be quietly worshipful and noisily grateful.
  • Your core identity must be Jesus. Anything else, and heaven will be a disappointment.
  • You’re a Jesus worshipper first, not a job or activist or anything else.
  • Justice isn’t a career path. It’s a theological imperative. It’s rooted in everyone, woven in divinity and reconciliation.
  • If you aren’t at peace, your going to be asking your mission to validate you.

Neichelle Guidry

Preacher and Worship Curator

  • In the presence of Jesus, character is revealed.
  • Jesus only spent 25% of His time in church throughout recorded scripture.
  • Perhaps its not enough to just have a heart that’s in the right place.
  • Growth always comes with growing pains.
  • Your comfort comes at someone else’s discomfort.
  • Grow up. Become Kingdom-minded. Choose.
  • If you’re going to live in the Kingdom of God, you need to give up your addiction to convenience and comfort.

 

And here’s the highlight video for a peek inside the event.

The JUSTICE Conference 2015 Highlights from The JUSTICE CONFERENCE on Vimeo.

Advertisements


1 Comment

I’m Buying HOPE, JOY and PEACE This Holiday Season

This is a repost of a blog I did last year about this time because it’s a message that still resonates strongly with me, and I hope it will with you too. May your holiday shopping be full of hope and happiness for all.

 


 

136159002

A few months ago I read Pursuing Justice by Ken Wytsma. I wasn’t expecting the book that it turned out to be, but it was still very good. It sort of turned out to be a Bible study on justice. I would definitely recommend it, and not just for those passionate about the issue like me, but even for the mildly curious. I learned a lot and will be marinating on it for a long time to come.

There were a few things mentioned in the book that stuck with me, but none more than what I wanted to share with you now. Did you know that it costs approximately $21 billion to get clean, safe drinking water to everyone in the world? If you weren’t aware, almost 1 in 7 of the world’s population doesn’t have access to this most basic need. $21 billion. I know, right, it sounds like a lot—like a whole lot! It sounds like scratching our heads and calling summits and raising money and finally reconciling ourselves to the fact that $21 billion is impossible to find in a world drowning in debt. Sometimes it sounds like giving up.

And then I found out…

The National Retail Federation estimates that over $600 BILLION will be spent in November and December this year. I’m sorry, what? That’s just this season. When I think about it, that makes me sick. In fact, the contrast in those two numbers has literally haunted me since I’ve read the book.

I think about people I know that rush around trying to buy gifts, any kind of gifts, for the people on their Christmas list. Mostly those are close family and friends, but usually there’s at least one obligatory gift on there as well. I think of gifts that aren’t bought out of need, but out of courtesy. I think of the stress so many people feel when it comes to the holidays. It seems to be more about putting anything under the tree that caring about what it is, as long as you’ve checked that box.

Something. Has. To. Change.

I love the holidays. I love the chill in the air, and the warm drinks. I love watching Christmas movies. I love decorating my apartment. I love seeing twinkle lights go up everywhere. And I love buying gifts. Gift giving is one of my love languages. It makes me happy to see the look on people’s face when I give them a gift. In fact, the anticipation of seeing their faces when I give them the gift makes me happy! I have always tried very hard, whether it’s a birthday or Christmas, to find the perfect gift that will make the recipient smile. It’s a challenge that I relish.

And, if I do say so myself, I’m pretty good at it. But the last few years, ever since pursing justice myself and learning more about supply chain and slave labor, I’ve tried to challenge myself in a new way. I try very hard to find not only gifts of meaning, but gifts that do good or do not perpetuate slave labor. I’m also an environmentalist, so I try to cut down on packaging and reuse when possible. So, really, I thought I could pat myself on the back from up on my high horse—until I read those statistics.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to do more. I can’t completely give up gift-giving, because I love it so much, but there is more I can do. For one thing, I can help educate you. What if we all started buying differently? What if we started contributing more and consuming less? What if we took a hard look at the real difference between shopping and giving? What if the presents had real meaning, not just for the recipient you know, but those who created it or will benefit from the purchase? What if?

Here is an awesome video by Advent Conspiracy to help illustrate. In fact, they have a lot of great personal and church resources to help you explore this idea. I’m looking forward to reading their book this season.

As I said, I don’t have this all figured out, but I’m trying. I want to contribute, not just consume. I want buy better and think better and live better. And even more, I want that for everyone else. I want it for you, and those you know, and those around the world who don’t have clean water or adequate shelter or who live in fear. We all share this world.

The holidays are a season of hope. Hope, joy, peace—we see those words written on everything this time of year from cards to commercials. What if they weren’t just platitudes? What if we added those to our Christmas list? What if, when we started buying gifts, we kept those three words in mind? Will the things we buy this season promote hope or joy or peace? If not, then let’s not buy them. Find a better alternative. I bet there’s one out there.

Here are a few places to help you get started:

Purchasing on Amazon? Use Amazon Smile

Purchase with Purpose

Free2Work

Not For Sale Store

Better World Shopper

Greater Good

Free to Shop

World Vision Gift Catalog

Fair Trade USA

Ten Thousand Villages

Charity Water

Kiva

Living Water International

International Justice Mission Gift Catalog

Notes From a Thoughtful Life

The Good Shopping Guide

Ethical Consumer

 

There are so many more, though, so keep looking! And if you need to go the department store route, you could even institute your own TOMS-esque one for one model. For example, if you give someone a shirt, donate one as well. Challenge each other to be better, think creatively and give more.

Give gifts that tell stories, and write yourself a new one in the process.

______________________________________

And here’s a great article from the TODAY Show about families who try to put more meaning into gifts and the holidays.

Here is another from LearnVest, a money budgeting site if you’re looking for a more frugal point-of-view.

One more from journalist/activist, Nick Kristoff, whom I greatly admire.

 

DID I MISS YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCE? PLEASE ADD IT IN THE COMMENTS SECTION! I’D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT.

 

(Note: Amazon links are affiliate links.)


1 Comment

Justice Conference: Pre-Conference Highlights

photoLast 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!


Leave a comment

Shopping vs. Giving

136159002A few months ago I read Pursuing Justice by Ken Wytsma. I wasn’t expecting the book that it turned out to be, but it was still very good. It sort of turned out to be a Bible study on justice. I would definitely recommend it, and not just for those passionate about the issue like me, but even for the mildly curious. I learned a lot and will be marinating on it for a long time to come.

There were a few things mentioned in the book that stuck with me, but none more than what I wanted to share with you now. Did you know that it costs approximately $21 billion to get clean, safe drinking water to everyone in the world? If you weren’t aware, almost 1 in 7 of the world’s population doesn’t have access to this most basic need. $21 billion. I know, right, it sounds like a lot—like a whole lot! It sounds like scratching our heads and calling summits and raising money and finally reconciling ourselves to the fact that $21 billion is impossible to find in a world drowning in debt. Sometimes it sounds like giving up.

And then I found out…

The National Retail Federation estimates that over $600 BILLION will be spent in November and December this year. I’m sorry, what? That’s just this season. When I think about it, that makes me sick. In fact, the contrast in those two numbers has literally haunted me since I’ve read the book.

I think about people I know that rush around trying to buy gifts, any kind of gifts, for the people on their Christmas list. Mostly those are close family and friends, but usually there’s at least one obligatory gift on there as well. I think of gifts that aren’t bought out of need, but out of courtesy. I think of the stress so many people feel when it comes to the holidays. It seems to be more about putting anything under the tree that caring about what it is, as long as you’ve checked that box.

Something. Has. To. Change.

I love the holidays. I love the chill in the air, and the warm drinks. I love watching Christmas movies. I love decorating my apartment. I love seeing twinkle lights go up everywhere. And I love buying gifts. Gift giving is one of my love languages. It makes me happy to see the look on people’s face when I give them a gift. In fact, the anticipation of seeing their faces when I give them the gift makes me happy! I have always tried very hard, whether it’s a birthday or Christmas, to find the perfect gift that will make the recipient smile. It’s a challenge that I relish.

And, if I do say so myself, I’m pretty good at it. But the last few years, ever since pursing justice myself and learning more about supply chain and slave labor, I’ve tried to challenge myself in a new way. I try very hard to find not only gifts of meaning, but gifts that do good or do not perpetuate slave labor. I’m also an environmentalist, so I try to cut down on packaging and reuse when possible. So, really, I thought I could pat myself on the back from up on my high horse—until I read those statistics.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to do more. I can’t completely give up gift-giving, because I love it so much, but there is more I can do. For one thing, I can help educate you. What if we all started buying differently? What if we started contributing more and consuming less? What if we took a hard look at the real difference between shopping and giving? What if the presents had real meaning, not just for the recipient you know, but those who created it or will benefit from the purchase? What if?

Here is an awesome video by Advent Conspiracy to help illustrate. In fact, they have a lot of great personal and church resources to help you explore this idea. I’m looking forward to reading their book this season.

As I said, I don’t have this all figured out, but I’m trying. I want to contribute, not just consume. I want buy better and think better and live better. And even more, I want that for everyone else. I want it for you, and those you know, and those around the world who don’t have clean water or adequate shelter or who live in fear. We all share this world.

The holidays are a season of hope. Hope, joy, peace—we see those words written on everything this time of year from cards to commercials. What if they weren’t just platitudes? What if we added those to our Christmas list? What if, when we started buying gifts, we kept those three words in mind? Will the things we buy this season promote hope or joy or peace? If not, then let’s not buy them. Find a better alternative. I bet there’s one out there.

Here are a few places to help you get started:

Purchase with Purpose

Free2Work

Not For Sale Store

Better World Shopper

Greater Good

Free to Shop

World Vision Gift Catalog

Fair Trade USA

Ten Thousand Villages

Charity Water

Kiva

Living Water International

International Justice Mission Gift Catalog

There are so many more, though, so keep looking! And if you need to go the department store route, you could even institute your own TOMS-esque one for one model. For example, if you give someone a shirt, donate one as well. Challenge each other to be better, think creatively and give more.

Give gifts that tell stories, and write yourself a new one in the process.

______________________________________

And here’s a great article from the TODAY Show about families who try to put more meaning into gifts and the holidays.

Here is another from LearnVest, a money budgeting site if you’re looking for a more frugal point-of-view.

One more from journalist/activist, Nick Kristoff, whom I greatly admire.