Monday, July 04, 2005

A Revolution of Justice

Yesterday Marianne and I attended Willow Creek and had the opportunity to hear the leader of their AXIS ministry to gen-xers give a message entitled, 'Where is the love?.' Darren Whitehead shared how he recently went an an trip called the 'justice journey' that was organized by a long time friend, Alvin Bibbs, who is the Extension Ministries director at Willow.

This journey took 25 leaders from Willow and 25 leaders from Salem Baptist Church on Chicago's South side (an African-American church of 20,000 members) through an experience designed to educate and move folks regarding the Civil Right's struggle in the South and throughout our nation. Dr. John Perkins of CCDA was one of the key speakers, along with Larry Lloyd, President of Creighton College in Memphis that made a huge impact on Darren on this trip.

The main part of his message was the insight he had gained that while in the Old Testament, 'righteousness' and 'justice' were almost always used together, he had never seen the connection between the two. As Evangelicals, it is almost always righteousness that get's emphasized while justice is rarely talked about as an essential concern for God. Here is the main text that he used.

Psalm 97:1-2
The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice
are the foundation of his throne.

Darren went on to talk about his experience on the justice journey, especially as it relates to racial justice, and confessed that this was not on his radar screen much before this trip. As he was talking, I was amazed at how closely this ties with the stirrings that so many young leaders are yearning for today: A faith that is radically committed to putting our faith in action, not just in a personal consumption way (being blessed) but sacrificially putting our lives on the line for our Lord, Jesus the Christ.

Just last week I posted the 'Justice Revolution' logo to deal with that stirring in my heart that I have to be about justice with my life. I feel strongly that the 'We Still have a Dream' campaign to advocate for the DREAM Act needs to be a part of this larger movement amongst Christian young people. Also, this past week, I proposed to Larry at UYWI that this 'Justice Revolution' workshop be part of the Youth Track for the coming year's RELOAD Tour. Our thinking is that it may be through engaging youth in doing justice that they will have their hearts transformed by the unconditional love of God that is even able to move them to take action on behalf of the poor.

So, it was was with utter amazement that I listened to this guy end his teaching talking about starting a revolution of justice! I am certain that the Lord is up to something big in the hearts of people of faith all across our nation and world. My job is to discern how this whole justice / mestizaje thing is going to shape my future.


At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Tatiana said...

I was also at the weekend service at Willow Creek, surprisingly. A "revolution of justice" is certainly nothing new to Axis. Shane Claiborne has spoken there several times, helping to stir a lot of peoples' hearts. However, that started four years ago and the "revolution" is pretty slow-coming. In my time spent at Axis (which has basically ended as I started living in the city) was filled with a lot of frustration as I saw that people sometimes genuinely cared about justice, yet stayed so detached and fragmented in such a crazy big community. I continue to pray for Willow Creek and the possibilities that lie there. Maybe Darren's message really is something, maybe he really will be able to lead the congregation (or Axis at least) into pursuing lives of justice. Time will tell.


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