Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes, and General Mental Mayhem

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The Justice Conference 2016: Notes and Quotes

Justice Conf 2016 BadgeMark Charles

  • You can’t discover lands that are already inhabited. We tend to dehumanize those who were already here.
  • The Declaration of Independence calls Native Americans savages. The Constitution also degrades women, natives and blacks. It assumes the majority has the right to say who is human.
  • What does justice look like when everything you have is stolen and your system is corrupt?
  • Check out the book, Prophetic Lament.

Mark Reddy

  • “If you have a conversation about justice, you must be prepared to be uncomfortable.”

Jim Wallis

  • You don’t change things with laws and policies.  You must change the narrative.
  • When you benefit from oppression, you are responsible for changing it.

Leroy Barber

  • Starting Hope Mob to support African American biz owners. Not a charity, an investment.
  • 7% of nonprofits are led by people of color
  • 52% of nonprofits work in areas of people of color
  • 3% of funds go to areas  of color

Nicole Baker-Fulgham

  • 6% of Beverly Hills kids are in poverty, 82% of Compton kids are in poverty, and they’re only 20 minutes apart

Harvey Carey

  • Amos 5:21 (Amos means “burden”)
  • What happens when what bothers you doesn’t bother anyone else?
  • Low income areas always have a beauty supply, liquor store, fast food and a church.
  • Quite over-analyzing and just do something.
  • God honors one’s acceptance of their burdens.
  • Justice is not a project. It is the heart of God for equity.
  • “God has put some super in my natural.”

Andy Crouch

  • The Creation Story is a story of ordering and abundance.
  • Authority + Vulnerability = Flourishing
  • The destruction of evil happens when image bearers show mercy, compassion and justice to the disenfranchised.

Marshall Hatch

  • The goodness of God is in the margins, and that’s where change will come from.
  • The reality of history is that it is never over.
  • God sides with the poor; He doesn’t stand on the sidelines. He enters the world from the margins.

Lynne Hybels

  • Love, honor and respect those who are different from you.

Jenny Yang

  • There are 60 million displaced people, refugees.
  • The refugee crisis is about the one who is seeking refuge in another country.
  • The US paid attention because it now affects us. Fear has driven our response.
  • Compassion doesn’t have to come at the expense of security.
  • The Middle East church is carrying the brunt of the refugee crisis.
  • 67% of US churches haven’t discussed refugees.
  • We are followers of a Middle Eastern refugee. If Jesus was born today, would we let Him in our borders?
  • The largest social network is the Church.
  • There’s a difference in caring about something, and caring about someone.
  • Fear will cripple us from completing the mission of God.
  • Comfort and security have become our idols.

Russell Moore

  • Story of the Rich Young Ruler (Luke 16)
    • Lazarus would’ve been invisible to this guy.
    • Who is invisible in your life?
  • Our political beliefs should not come before our Christian beliefs. Jesus was unashamed in His words.
  • We can not be people who are concerned about justice if we are embarrassed about the doctrine of Hell.
  • We must be concerned not only about the oppressed, but about the Oppressor.
  • Are we a people of justice, or just a people who protect our platforms?
  • Are we a people of justice or justification? We must carry the full weight of the Gospel, not just the parts our political party allows.

Michael Flegar and Charlie Date

  • We can end violence, that’s not the issue, but we don’t have the will. – MF
  • There is too much silence in the Church. – MF
  • The reason we don’t talk about community violence is because it’s a black/brown issue. New Hope church changed that. People need to see themselves in every life, though.
  • The Church becomes irrelevant when it doesn’t act as the conscience of the neighborhood.
  • The guilt factor makes us silent, when it should move us to do more.
  • We can’t just tell people to do better, we must give them alternatives.
  • We can’t talk to kids in churches about God-given dreams and visions, and not dismantle the systems that help kids from achieving them.
  • Make us restless until we find out rest with You. – CD

Lisa Sharon Harper

  • Genesis 1
  • The first book of the Bible was written by a group of priests  coming out of exile.
  • We are created in the image of God so we can become a marker of Him wherever we go.
    • Like Caesar was on coins
    • Subversive statement to make when the early rules were supposed to be appointed by God.
  • “Dominion” is more akin to “steward.” And we are to serve and protect whatever we are stewards of.
  • The derivation of “perfection” is actually the breathe between things. It is the connector, and it is “very good.”
  • Genesis 14 is the first mention of both “king” and “war.”
  • Think of each person as an image-bearer of God in order not to oppress them.

Tony Compolo

  • “It is the best of times. It is the worst of times.”
  • We hear so much bad news, but the Good News always reigns.
  • The Church is doing great things all over the world.
  • Free trade should be replaced with fair trade.
  • Do you love Jesus? Take Him seriously.
  • “In the poor and the oppressed is the essence of Jesus.” – St. Francis of Assisi
  • You must do whatever you can on both a micro and macro level.
  • There is a big difference between being a disciple and a believer.

Rev. Tracy Blackmon

  • Joshua 6:22-23
    • A holy obligation to take someone with you when you get free.
    • Did the sisters get left out? No, Rahab made sure they were included.
  • It’s easy to silence those with the least power.
  • The Boko Haram story – It’s been two years and only 50 girls have been located out of the 200.
  • Whenever the marginalized are not met with the grace of God, the covenant is broken.
  • We must see ourselves in not only the eyes of the Conquerer, but the casualties.
  • We’ve been arrogant at denying others that are different a seat at God’s table.
  • We must not separate our freedom from those who are bound.


Refugee Crisis Graphic


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My 2016 Conference Schedule

Ok, it’s April and I’m a late in getting this up, but wanted to share the conferences and major events I’ll be at throughout this year.

I love conferences! I always say that I could never go back to school, but I could always go to another conference.

In fact, I love learning so much that I usually plan my year around the conferences I’ll be attending. Even when I had a job with regular vacation days and limited time off, I’d fill those times with learning opportunities.

Let me know if you’re at any of these as well!


Are there any others I should put on my list?

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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.

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The Justice Conference: Film Festival

1001275_10151902467461540_1779359943_nThe third day of The Justice Conference is a film festival. It’s literally a 12-hour day of movies back to back. My kind of day! And, of course, cool to see so many movies focused on justice all together. I’m not great about watching documentaries either, so this was a good chance for me to stretch myself.

I didn’t love them all, but there are some real gems in here. Give them a try when you get the chance. (Some of them are less than 10 minutes.)

Here’s what we saw:


There are over 12 million orphans in the sub-Saharan Africa. Every year thousands audition for the chance to escape poverty and travel for the African Children’s Choir—only 20 make the cut. This is their story


Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Skid Row is a 50-block community that over 4,000 people call their home. Jubilee Project spent a day in Skid Row asking people on their streets on question, “What is your dream?”


It’s quickly becoming the most populated country in the world, but India holds a dark secret. Men and women who make their homes in poor villages throughout the central region are forced to make decisions that no parents should ever have to make: sell a child into slavery or watch your children starve to death?

A PLACE AT THE TABLE (Streaming on Netflix)

A documentary that investigates incidents of hunger experienced by millions of Americans, and proposed solutions for the problem. Featuring music from The Civil Wars.


When a Palestinian boy loses half of his home to Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem, he joins his community in a campaign of non-violent protests. Efforts to put a quick end to the demonstrations are failed when scores of Israelis choose to stand by the residents’ side.


Undivided is the hop-filled, challenging and inspiring true story of how a church and a public high school forged an unlikely friendship—initiating a beautiful transformation for both he school and faith community.


The Kingdom of Swaziland  hosts the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world, leaving 1/3 of its population orphaned or vulnerable. Never a Neverland documents the reality of a kingdom moving towards extinction and the hope of a people to ensure it never becomes a “Neverland.”


Get inside the lives of people affected by the world’s most compelling causes; witness the Sevenly team, a sylish Southern California  company race the clock to implement a life-changing solution for a deserving charity every seven days.


A young man from a fractured family and a troubled past went traveling through India without a plan. Then he met a group of HIV positive children living in an orphanage—a meeting that changed everything for him.


After selling herself at fourteen to a brothel inside her home of Svey Pak, Mien takes and undesired path all over Cambodia for the remainder of her teenage life.


Competing in a white man’s sport, reserved for the privileged, a rag tag group of cyclists coached by the first American to ride in the Tour de France is transformed into a powerful symbol of hope for a country recovering from one of the world’s most devastating genocides.


One winter, a South Korean pastor finds a baby on the church steps, and decides to build a “drop box” to rescue future foundlings. This inspiring story takes place after the box was first installed and documents the incredible changes that take place.



The Justice Conference: Highlights

Justice Conference logoTwo weeks ago I headed to LA for The Justice Conference. Any excuse to head to SoCal is a good one, but this event on social justice issues was extra special to me, and at the top of my vacation list this year. So, it made for a great trip!

I posted my Pre-Conference Highlights last week, and now I’ll move on to the main event, held at the beautiful Orpheum Theater. It was a really great day, full of fantastic information, inspiring speakers and like-minded camaraderie.


Ken Wytsma, President of Kilns College and Founder of The Justice Conference

  • When everyone speaks in a prophetic time, we can’t hear the prophetic voice.
  • Remember the poor with deep respect.


Donald Miller, Founder of Storyline Conference, speaker and author

  • It’s hard not to filter your theology through advertising, which says you’re lacking something.
  • Jesus wants us to experience a deep sense of meaning, not necessarily to be comfortable and happy.
  • God is in the business of redeeming hard things.


Nicole Baker Fulgham, founder and President of The Expectations Project

  • Education is a pathway out of poverty.
  • Educated creates engaged citizens.
  • Education gives kids purpose.


Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Director of Equal Justice Initiative

  • 1. We need to commit ourselves to proximity. We must get close to those we want to serve. It will show you things you’ll never otherwise see.
  • 2. Change the narrative. Behind every un-truth, there is a narrative saying it must be this way.
  • 3. Be hopeful to create justice. Sometimes it’s easier to be faithful than hopeful.
  • 4. We have to choose to be uncomfortable.
  • I do what I do because I’m broken too. God is there for the broken. I understand the broken because I am one. God’s grace and mercy fills the broken places.
  • We will not achieve justice with just the thoughts in our minds.


Lynne Hybels, Author of Nice Girls Don’t Change the World

Sami Awad, Executive Director of Holy Land Trust

Marcel Serubungo, Church Mobilization at World Relief Org

  • There is nothing that works in the Congo but the local church.
  • What makes our work different? Jesus.
  • You achieve greater results through love.
  • You can’t give away what you don’t have.
  • Don’t try to do something. Do something.


Justin Dillon, Founder/CEO of Made in a Free World

  • Justice is it’s own art form.
  • Embrace your vulnerability.
  • The world doesn’t need more information, it needs an invitation.
  • Make a world you want to live in.
  • Strive toward the better version of yourself.
  • We’re “shoulding” all over everyone. Stop the should and do.
  • Don’t think problems, think solutions.


Rich Sterns, President of World Vision

Jim Wallis, President and Founder of Sojourners

Noel Castellanos, CEO of CCDA

  • Our faith is connected to the issue of injustice.
  • Immigration reform may be the next Civil Rights movement.


Eugene Cho, Founder of One Day’s Wages, Lead Pastor of Quest Church

  • John 1, Woman at the Well
  • What we do isn’t in isolation. We are representatives of the Kingdom of God.
  • Justice must also do us, not just us doing justice. Otherwise, we just commercialize and commoditize it.
  • People aren’t projects; they are equals.
  • We must learn from those we serve. Place yourself in their narrative to catch a glimpse of who they are.


Stephen Bauman, President and CEO of World Relief

  • Your calling begins with a complaint. There is something you can’t stand for anymore.
  • Our faith will live by justice.
  • We need another reformation. God’s reformation is done through His people.
  • Reformation: a recovery of Truth from the periphery with sacrificial love.
  • What we consider the edges, God considers the center.


Gabriel Salguero, President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (and wife)

  • We cannot romanticize the work of justice.
  • 1 Kings 19 (Fire down from heaven)
  • Too many times we think justice work is calling fire down from heaven. But the reality is much more mundane that than. There are small, daily jobs to do.
  • Motivation matters. Check yourself.
  • To stay grounded, stay connected to people.
  • We must fight giants: ego, exhaustion and emotional toxicity.
  • Too often we think justice is talking AT people. Our justice work has become disembodied. It should be incarnational and not third-party.


Bernice King, American Baptist Minister and World-Renowned Speaker, Daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Conflict is a weapon of growth.
  • True peace is not the absence of tension, but the presence of justice. – MLK
  • Never forget God is on the side of justice. Start there and keep it in sight.
  • God made from one brotherhood all nations.
  • MLK’s strategy of nonviolence will always work because it’s based on Jesus.
  • Courageous people are nonviolent.
  • Nonviolence shouldn’t seek to defeat people, only injustice.


Bethany Hoang, Director of the Institute for Biblical Justice for International Justice Mission

  • Justice begins in the heart of God.
  • We must stop and pray. We are often too busy or in a rush to action to do it, but it will best equip us.


N.T. Wright, Professor at University of St. Andrews, Retired Bishop of Durham, UK, Author

  • Justice is what love looks like.
  • We need discernment because when we think we’ve got justice down, we become arrogant. (Tower of Babel)


Lynne Hybels, Author of Nice Girls Don’t Change the World

  • Ask, “What is mine to do?” and let God help you figure it out. Otherwise you may be overwhelmed by all the causes and issues that need us.
  • God will empower you to do what is yours.
  • God created all the beauty in this world. Fight for it and help it flourish.


That’s all I got! Hope you enjoyed my notes. Fingers crossed that I’ll be able to attend The Justice Conference again next year. It’s a great event, and I recommend going!