peace

Talk Justice Together January Edition

We may be in the depths of January- but there is still much to talk justice together about!

Race: Thanks for this find Christian Hubbard! 10 Inspiring Latinas Who Have Made History.

Race: Celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 27 by downloading this printable bookmark. Talk about why literature is so important to expanding worldview.

Race: A lesser-known hero of the civil rights movement, cook Georgia Gilmore. How could you use your practical gifts to make a difference?

Social Justice: #YouNeedtoKnow 170 daily actions to transform our world.

Refugees: Rohingya refugees race to fix shelters before the monsoon season begins. What would it feel like to be displaced and vulnerable?

Creation Care: Rising sea levels affect the island of Kutobdia off the coast of Bangladesh.

Hunger: A free app from UNICEF converts kids steps into life-saving nutrition to kids suffering from malnutrition. Check it out!

Peace: A perspective from the Isreali-Palestinian conflict through of the eyes of a family who faced the demolition of their home. I want them to live like other children. 

Access to Education: The encouragement of family paves the way for girls to make education a priority.

Inspiration: The Nigerian women’s bobsled team! Make sure to check out their Olympic journey.

What did your family talk about this month? 

You Established

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ALL that we have accomplished.

YOU have done for us.

 

That gratitude opens up space for peace.

A depth of peace that is only established by the compassionate hand of Christ.

It’s not what I do, it’s what he does.

 

Sometimes I need this peace so very much.

Simple, little, but enough to keep breathing. To live for Him.

 

I think of my kids. I fed them cereal on dinner plates Saturday morning, because there were no clean bowls. Then, I gave them beach towels to dry off with after their showers, because there were no clean towels.

I try to do the dishes and wash the laundry. The days it doesn’t quite come together, my love is enough.

 

Our love and desire to give God our best, is enough.

It’s not what we do. It’s our heart.

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Where There is Injustice, There is Silence

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A Guest Post by: Rev. Kris Van Engen 

Sometimes silence speaks. Sometimes silence kills.

I’ve been in the position of a congregational justice mobilizer for two years now and if I’ve learned anything, it is that silence plus lies (or the more congenial term “myths”) equals oppression. We all know this simple equation is true but we are strangely drawn to it.

 

While Martin Luther King sat in a jail in Birmingham, his elders sent him a letter telling him to be quiet and leave the segregation issue to the courts. When AIDS was becoming an epidemic in the 1980s, the stigma was on the victims; discussing how to change the situation was considered akin to condoning sin. Pick a modern issue of injustice and surely you will find groups who, in spite of having the power to be heard, remain silent–maybe because of uncertainty, maybe to stay neutral, maybe to be a good listener, maybe for good or bad intentions. At any rate, where there is injustice, there is silence.

The scenario is as true on a small scale as it is on a large scale. Consider the family with an abusive parent. The child is scolded, “What happens in our house is nobody else’s business.” The spouse defends the abuser to critics, “Well, if our son watched his behavior he wouldn’t have these problems.” The critics say, “Oh, I guess it’s more complicated than I thought.” The abuse continues. The child waits for someone to ride in and speak the truth. The victims of AIDS, preventable famine, changing climate, racism, and needless deportations wait with him.

 

We celebrate Jesus’ birth into a land of silence and lies. The threat of his voice moved Herod to put an early ransom on his head. This is the brave voice our world needs. Jesus doesn’t fall into the temptation of silence like we do. The spirit of the Lord is on him. He sees through the myths. He is anointed to proclaim good news to the poor.

Of course, Jesus himself was silent from time to time. The most notable occasion, shortly after sharing the last supper bread and wine with his disciples, was remaining speechless before Herod. It was the death of him. A temporary death that resulted in new life.

This would become Jesus’ gift to us. Light shed on a dark scene. If we are victims, he stands with us. If we need certainty mixed with courage to break from the ranks of neutrality, he offers it through the Holy Spirit, his word, and the communion of saints. He is the prince who replaces injustice with peace.

In this new year, what is an opportunity you could take to SPEAK? 

 

KrisKris Van Engen is the Congregational Justice Mobilizer for the Office of Social Justice and World Renew. He equips people as they act on Jesus’ instructions to be peacemakers, to do justice, and to prevent the root causes of poverty and hunger. You can read his article Social Justice 101 here. 

Kris previously worked for 10 years as a pastor and church ministries director. He and his wife Lisa have two children, Ellie and Josiah.

Contact Kris by email at kvanengen@crcna.org.