Churches and Justice Ministries

Churches and Justice Ministries January 27, 2009

A friend writes to ask about how missional and emerging churches and gatherings and groups are doing when it comes to justice ministries. She is doing some work on this theme and I’d like to know some reports out there of what is happening.

It might be best to begin with a definition that expresses what we find in Gibbs and Bolger and then, on top of this, quote something from McLaren, and then ask our question:

Emerging churches are communities that practice the way of Jesus
within postmodern cultures. This definition encompasses nine practices.
Emerging churches (1) identify with the life of Jesus, (2) transform
the secular realm, and (3) live highly communal lives. Because of these
three activities, they (4) welcome the stranger, (5) serve with
generosity, (6) participate as producers, (7) create as created beings,
(8) lead as a body, and (9) take part in spiritual activities.”

The Justice Creed
by Brian McLaren

We believe that the living God is just
And that the true and living God loves justice.
God delights in just laws and rejoices in just people.
God sides with those who are oppressed by injustice,
And stands against oppressors.
God is grieved by unjust people and the unjust systems they create and sustain.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, and
God’s kingdom belongs to those willing to be persecuted for the sake of justice.
To God, justice is a weighty thing which can never be ignored.

We believe that Jesus, the Liberating King, came to free humanity from injustice
And to display the justice of God,
In word and deed, in life, death, and resurrection.
The justice which God desires, Jesus taught, must surpass that of the hypocrites,
For the justice of God is a compassionate justice,
Rich in mercy and abounding in love
For the last, the least, the lost, and the outcast.
On his cross, Jesus drew the injustice of humanity into the light,
And there the heartless injustice of human empire met
The reconciling justice of the  kingdom of God.
The resurrection of Jesus proclaims that the true justice of God,
Naked, vulnerable, and scarred by abuse, is stronger
Than the violent injustice of humanity, armed with weapons, conceit,
deceit, and lies.

We believe that the Holy Spirit is here, now,
Convicting the world of sin and justice,
Warning that God’s judgment will come on all that is unjust.
We believe that the Kingdom of God is justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Empowered by the Spirit, then, we seek first God’s kingdom and God’s justice,
For the world as it is has not yet become the world as God desires it to be.
And so we live, and work, and pray,
Until justice rolls down like water,
And flows strong and free like a never-failing stream.
For we believe that the living God is just
And that the true and living God loves justice.
If anyone can proffer any other written position statement or the like, I would be exceedingly grateful. Additionally, I’d love to hear from others on this: In what specific ways are we missional/emergents individually and collectively “transforming the secular realm,” with regard to economic, gender, sex, criminal justice and relational justice?

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