Happy June! This weekend Ben and I celebrated our fourth anniversary–crazy! In some ways it feels like we’ve been married for a while now, and in others it still feels like we’re just beginning this adventure together. I’m so thankful for his support and presence during this especially hard season–he has truly been amazing. Although I still have some up & down days, I’m also so thankful to be beginning to feel better, have more energy, and hopefully be on the upswing for good!
June started out with an exciting trip for us, as we traveled to Chicago to attend the Justice Conference, held at Willow Creek Community Church. We heard from many powerful leaders of faith during the two day event, and I thought I would share a little of what we’ve been processing afterwards with you.
In the past year or so, both Ben and I have begun to dramatically shift our thinking away from seeing injustice as an individualistic issue, to learning about systemic injustice and broken systems that perpetuate suffering for so many people. This past weekend really cemented our convictions that in order to really change communities and see justice long-term, we have to address these bigger realities. Our God is a God who goes after the one lost sheep, but who also gave himself to defeat evil universally. We find ourselves asking: How do we learn about the complexities these broken systems? What can we do to change them? How can we help without hurting? And how can we not neglect the needs of our neighbors individually as well?
Second, I was so inspired by the words of many speakers, reminding us that justice work is not about “helping” or “fixing” or any type of mentality that gives us the role of savior, coming in to save the day. I loved hearing Sandra Van Opstal share about vulnerable members of her congregation, and how she is inspired to seek justice because she realizes that she needs them. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Russell Moore:
“We do not need more ‘ministry’ to the poor or racial minorities or immigrant communities. We need to be led by the poor and racial ‘minorities,’ and by immigrant communities.
…The child with Down Syndrome on the fifth row from the back in your church, he’s not a ‘ministry project.’ He’s a future king of the universe. The immigrant woman…is not a problem to be solved. She’s a future queen of the cosmos, a joint-heir with Christ.
…No matter how important the United States is, there will come a day when [it] will no longer exist. But the sons & daughters of God will be revealed. Some of them are undocumented farm-workers and elementary school janitors right now. They will be kings and queens then. They are our brothers and sisters forever.”
May we continue to advocate for those on the margins, looking for ways to bring their voices to the table, because we need them.