The Justice Conference

A journalist contacted me today about The Justice Conference this February in Bend.

She wants to do a piece on it and sent me several questions on why I am involved.  I thought I’d share my e-mail response below!


Here are some bits from me (I’ve got a whole sermon on it titled, “Why the Justice Conference”

Question: Why the Justice Conference?

Justice is one of those things that requires sacrifice and sacrificial love. As such, it doesn’t happen naturally (it’s a pretty active sport so to speak).  If it doesn’t happen passively, then – if we care about it – we’ll care about opportunities to thump it or put some wind in the sails

Justice, social justice, the social gospel etc. etc – there’s a lot of confusion out there.  If we don’t want the baby thrown out with the bathwater, we need to define, redefine, clarify and educate.

Being an advocate has much to do with networking – what better way for organizations and individuals to network than at a conference!

Question: Why should people advocate globally instead of locally or nationally?  

Short answer: both are important so it’s a false dichotomy.  If someone finds excuses globally then they’re probably finding excuses to ignore local issues.  If someone is involved in local issues then they’ll probably develop a heart tender enough to care for suffering in all shapes, sizes and places. Lastly, vulnerability increases the less someone has recourse to assistance. Compare the guy panhandling in Bend with civic laws to protect, shelters to stay at, disability to apply for, rich Americans to beg from etc. with the woman being raped by 30 rebel soldiers in the Congo who are hopped up on drugs and just murdered her husband.  The greatest injustices deserve our greatest effort – Example: Wilberforce reformed women’s rights, animal rights and other things, but gave his life’s energy to stopping the Atlantic slave trade. In sum, I hope Christians will care enough to help both the homeless down the street as well as the women of Congo.

Question: Do I believe every Christian ought to be an activist?

I believe every Christian has a ongoing debt to love one another (Paul’s words not mine).  As such, every Christian has a responsibility to give of their excess (time, energy and money) for those less fortunate.  Every Christian is commanded to act justly and to love mercy (Micah 6:8).  If that means advocate – so be it.  If it means faithful servant – so be it.  If it means mature Christian – so be it.  If it means practicing true religion or being a good Samaritan – so be it.

Question: Why Bend?

Bend is a resort town, but it is also one of the top 5 entrepreneurial towns in the United States.  There are more activists, advocates and non-profit startups per-capita here than most any other place.  Also, doesn’t it sound too commercial to have something so counter-cultural in Chicago or Atlanta?  Bend is the most unlikeliest of places – pretty cool :)

Question: What are the take-aways from the conference?  

Hopefully, a better understanding of justice, our just God, relationships, opportunities, next steps, resources, conviction, possibilities, passion and more

Thanks and let me know if you need anything else!




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