THE TAKE AWAY
Deepening the Soul for JusticeBy Kersley Fitzgerald
I just read the most amazing book. It's called Deepening the Soul for Justice, and it's written by Bethany Hoang, the director of the International Justice Mission's Institute for Biblical Justice. Her job is inform and equip leaders of churches and organizations dedicated to seek justice for others. Her book certainly does that.
The book is not about illustrating the injustices in the world. It's not really a rallying cry for the church to rescue and restore others. It's a guide for those who have already decided to join the fight. Both for those who are new and completely overwhelmed by the scope of injustice and for those who have been engaged for some time and find themselves getting weary and discouraged. In effect, it's a description of the Christian disciplines that will protect and nourish in a way that passion and human strength never will. First and foremost, it is about how we cannot engage in this fight unless we are first and foremost dedicated to God.
…when a justice movement loses its roots of formation in Christ and yet continues wildfire growth for a season, justice itself can be turned into a commodity for consumption by the very people passionate to pursue it. The commoditization of justice is a sign that we have begun to purse justice more as a means toward our own self-actualization rather than a means toward the true end of freedom and transformation for those who desperately need rescue form violent abuse.I highly encourage anyone who is involved in justice issues to get this book and read it. In fact, it should be essential reading for anyone in ministry, since the concepts apply to anyone dedicated to Christian service. Not only does it encourage and equip, it's really cheap. Amazon is selling the paperback for $4.50 and the Kindle version for only $2.43.
Seeking Justice begins with seeking God: our God who longs to bring justice; our God who longs to use us, every one of his children, to bring justice; our God who offers us the yoke of Jesus in exchange for tings that otherwise leave us defeated.
At the end of the day, if our attempts to seek justice do not first begin with the work of prayer, we will be worn and weary. And our weariness will not be that deeply satisfying, joy-filled tiredness that comes from the worthy battles of justice, but rather a bone- and soul-crushing weariness.
…prayer by its very nature is, in a primary sense, an unloading of the heart. When our hearts are so heavily taxed that we feel we can no longer truly pray, God leads us back to himself by telling us simply this: Pour out your heart; pour out your heart before me.
Contrary to what might seem logical, Sabbath stopping is not meant primarily to help us "rest up" so we are ready for the next challenge; it is not meant to be pragmatic toward another end. The resting and stopping of Sabbath are intended as being good in and of themselves—complete.
Justice is the work of community. It cannot be pursued alone. Justice is a manifestation of Christ's body working at its very best. Just as we need to intentionally open ourselves to God and Gods leading, we need to open ourselves to doing justice in community.
Passion, righteous anger, and human energy are not enough to fight injustice in the world. We must be equipped by the God of justice. Deepening the Soul for Justice explains how.
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