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    A Piece of My Heart

    Senseless violence and dark injustice can make for a steady rain in life—dampening spirits in mists of gray. In the summer of 2013, a 17 year old from a rough neighborhood jumped in front of his mother to protect her from an attack. The bullet struck and killed him, leaving his mother clutching his lifeless body in front of their home. The boy’s brother, who witnessed the crime, said later, “I lost a big piece of my heart that night.”

    Courageous Stand

    Teresa Prekerowa was just a teenager when the Nazis invaded her native Poland at the dawn of World War II. This was in the beginnings of the Holocaust when her Jewish neighbors began to disappear—arrested by the Nazis. So Teresa and other Polish countrymen risked their lives to rescue those neighbors from the Warsaw ghetto and the Nazi purge. Teresa would become one of the premier historians of the war and the Holocaust, but it was her courage to stand against the tide of evil that would list her with the Righteous Among the Nations at the Yad Vashem Holocaust…

    Help from on High

    A man was accused of committing “culpable homicide” in a traffic accident. Although the evidence gathered at the scene of the accident seemed to convict him, he pled that he was innocent. A renowned defense lawyer heard about the case, and after meeting with the accused and consulting with some forensic scientists, decided to take it on as a pro-bono (not compensated) project.

    The Burden of Hate

    Writing in the heat of the American Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. penned words regarding how we must go about the work of justice: “I am concerned that Negroes achieve full status as citizens and as human beings here in the United States. But I am also concerned about our moral uprightness and the health of our souls. Therefore I must oppose any attempt to gain our freedom by the methods of malice, hate, and violence that have characterized our oppressors. Hate is just as injurious to the hater as it is to the hated. . .…

    Our Role in Justice

    Maybe it’s just me. But it seems like the world is hurtling out of control, and that all sorts of things are coming undone—institutions, lives, families. I wonder, Has it always been this way?

    A Hopeful Lament

    To visit Clifton Heritage National Park in Nassau, Bahamas, is to revisit a tragic era in history. Where the land meets the water, stone steps lead up a cliff. Slaves brought to the Bahamas by ship in the eighteenth century would ascend these steps, often leaving family behind and entering a life of inhumane treatment. At the top, there is a memorial to those slaves. Cedar trees have been carved into the shapes of women looking out to sea toward the homeland and family members they’ve lost. Each sculpture is scarred with marks of the slave captain’s whip.

    These sculptures of…

    The Overshadowing of God’s Personal Deliverance

    . . . I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord —Jeremiah 1:8

    God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally— “. . . your life shall be as a prize to you . . .” (Jeremiah …

    A Change in Perspective

    My hometown has experienced its heaviest winter in thirty years. My muscles ache from hours of shoveling the unrelenting snow. When I step inside after what feels like a fruitless effort, weary as I kick off my boots, I’m greeted by the warmth of a fire and my children gathered around it. As I gaze out the window from the shelter of my home, my perspective of the weather shifts completely. Instead of seeing more work to do, I savor the beauty of frosted tree branches and the way the snow blankets the colorless landscape of winter.

    I see a similar,…

    Freed for Justice

    I once heard Ken Wytsma, founder of the Justice Conference, comment on the surprising skepticism many have about whether justice is central to the gospel. He reflected ironically, “The gospel is that unjust people are reconciled to a just God to be a just people . . . but justice isn’t related to the gospel?”

    Travesty of Justice

    The Netflix documentary David and Me tells the story of David McCallum, who in 1986, at only age sixteen, was convicted of murder. But McCallum claimed he was pressured to confess to the crime. And in 2014, DNA tests and forensic analysis on the stolen car revealed that McCallum was innocent. David had spent nearly thirty years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

    The Justice-Maker

    Recently, several books have helped me grapple with systemic injustices woven into many social systems. One book cataloged how our criminal justice system can often be stacked against those at the margins. Another shared how the working poor have often been neglected and abused while those in power have profited from their misfortune. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we wade into this disturbing information. And these are only two urgent issues. What are we to do? How are we to make things right?

    Looking for Justice

    Two news stories caught my attention on the same day. In one, a homeless man shivered under an archway on a cold, rainy evening. Half-drunk, he was shocked when someone offered to pay for a night of lodging. With a bit of help, this man became a social studies teacher, a volunteer, and even starred in a play! In the other story, someone cruelly taunted a homeless man by showing him cash and then burning up the paper money as the destitute man watched.

    A Christmas Journey to Freedom, Part 3

    A Christmas journey unlike any you have ever taken before—a special holiday presentation about the journey of a runaway slave taken along the Underground Railroad. Featuring soloist Wintley Phipps, author and professor Dr. Allen Callahan, and actress Gwendolyn Briley-Strand as Harriet Tubman in the dramatic presentation, “A Christmas Journey to Freedom.” Other parts in this […]

    Emotional Extortion

    Bribery. We typically associate it with a financial exchange or the awarding of position—be it political or otherwise. Human brokenness, however, also lends itself to bribery of the heart. Whether it’s relational manipulation or the promise of belonging, each of us has probably encountered emotional extortion somewhere along life’s path.

    A Christmas Journey to Freedom, Part 2

    A Christmas journey unlike any you have ever taken before—a special holiday presentation about the journey of a runaway slave taken along the Underground Railroad. Featuring soloist Wintley Phipps, author and professor Dr. Allen Callahan, and actress Gwendolyn Briley-Strand as Harriet Tubman in the dramatic presentation, “A Christmas Journey to Freedom.” Other parts in this […]

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