Just having a conversation about Justice.

Today and tomorrow I am at The Justice Conference, hosted here in Portland. So grateful to join in the conversation.

The Justice Conference 2012 is the second annual international gathering of advocates, activists, artists, professors, professionals, prophets, pastors, students and stay-at-home moms working to restore the fabric of justice. For some it means speaking. For others it means singing. For some it means going. For others it means giving. For all, it means living with mercy and love.

Justice Conference founder (and lead pastor of Antioch Church in my beloved hometown of Bend) Ken Wytsma writes on why justice matters to followers of Jesus and all who trust Scripture:

People matter to God and therefore they should matter to us – every bit of them from the salvation of their souls to the meeting of material needs (see 1 John 4:20-21).
Justice is rooted in the character of God, commanded in his Holy Scriptures and exemplified in the life of Christ and the history of the church.
Justice is the right ordering of our relationships with God and neighbor.
Justice, in all spheres and slices of life and especially in the social sectors, is biblical, God-honoring and right. Politics, theories or political platforms, however, are open to dispute and disagreement.

Because Justice is much bigger than “social justice,” he gives a helpful pie-chart to see how various kinds of justice are interrelated:

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Why today matters » National Global Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Today, January 11th, is National Global Human Trafficking Awareness Day (NGHTAD), as set forth by a resolution passed by the US Senate on June 22, 2007, to mark January 11th as a day of awareness and vigilance for the countless victims of Human Trafficking across the globe.

As I write this, and as you read it, we are mostly free. Mostly free to do whatever we want. I say “mostly,” because we are limited in part by our circumstances, and our natures. Many others are not free at all, being oppressed by those stronger than them.

While we might think real freedom is being able to do whatever we want, true freedom is wanting to do what God wants. God wants to set the world right again, and in Jesus this is coming true. He somehow has chosen His people to be part of it. So we join with the Creator in breaking down the walls of injustice and embodying the life of Jesus as He sets the captives free. Though all will be made right on the last day, we do not have to wait for heaven to see justice breaking in. Continue reading

Love is a thread.

In the garment of justice, your love is an irreplaceable thread.

The Justice Conference
February 24+25 in Portland, Oregon
thejusticeconference.com

A mark of a maturing believer and follower of Jesus is a growing awareness of the true needs in the world, and a love for those people with a passion to help meet those needs and build bridges for the Gospel message. We see the inequity in the world and are not content to wait on governments to move solely for the sake of the marginalized, needy, poor, and destitute. We give up personal comforts so others can have the basic necessities for health and life.

Justice is about reconciliation, which is rooted in love. We who have been reconciled with God, get to see His reconciling work spread to every area of our lives and all of creation. What began as a personal relationship with God adds a public dimension that becomes a transformational relationship with the world. One day the universe will be set right (final justice), though we don’t have to wait until then to meet the needs that are within our control today. The love of Christ compels us.

Tomorrow: go without shoes.

Because millions of kids go everyday without shoes, as I mentioned last week.

Why all the fuss? Who needs shoes?

TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie says that not having shoes puts kids at a heightened risk of injury, disease and infection. Among the soil-transmitted risks that most can’t afford to prevent and treat are:

  • Hookworm: Causes anemia, stunted physical and mental development and, on occasion, congestive heart failure. Affects up to one-fifth of the world’s population.
  • Podoconiosis or “mossy foot disease”: Causes swelling of the feet and legs due to prolonged exposure to certain types of irritant soil.
  • Chiggers: Bites on the feet and ankles from these mites can cause severe itching and hives.
  • Tetanus: Potentially fatal infectious disease caused by bacteria entering the body through cuts or other open wounds. Causes painful muscle spasms and locked jaw.

Want to give?

Our family supports the intentional Gospel-driven work of great organizations such as World Vision, Compassion, Africa New Life (Rwanda), and Open Arms (Kenya). We intentionally focus on the needs in Africa, but there are opportunities all over the globe for us to curb our consumerism and give joyfully to a cause greater than ourselves.

Maybe your Tuesday without shoes will go something like this: