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    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 […]

    A Christmas Journey to Freedom, Part 1

    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 of the […]

    Cities of Joy and Healing

    I have a friend, a nurse, who recently went to Thessaloniki, Greece, to work in three refugee camps, primarily serving mothers and young babies who were far from home in the bitter cold. The overwhelming majority of the refugees are from Syria, where their villages and cities, once places of laughter and life, are now mostly rubble. In an email, my friend attached an image of one of the refugee tents where someone had scribbled on the outside: “We are not refugees, we are prisoners here. We want a better life.”

    Joy and Justice

    At a conference in Asia, I had two eye-opening conversations in the span of a few hours. First, a pastor told of spending 11 years in prison for a wrongful murder conviction before he was cleared. Then, a group of families shared how they had spent a fortune to escape religious persecution in their homeland, only to be betrayed by the very people they had paid to bring about their rescue. Now, after years in a refugee camp, they wonder if they will ever find a home.

    In both cases, victimization was compounded by an absence of justice—just one evidence of…

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