Practical Justice

I think it would be fair to say that most of us see tragedy’s occur everyday – whether around the world, or in our home town – and would like to help out in any way, small or large. Kevin Blue’s book Practical Justice speaks to that tension. Mr. Blue is the director of Servant Partners, an organization that sends holistic church planting teams to cities around the world.

Throughout Scripture, God shares his heart for the poor & the outcast. Mr. Blue writes that “He [God] so identifies with those in need that as we serve them, Jesus tells us, we encounter him”. Mr. Blue goes on to say that “this is the unique experience of those who minister among the poor. They are invited to encounter the utterly beautiful presence of God in the midst of those in need.”

Rob Bell speaks in one of the nooma DVD series entitled “Bullhorn” that how we love others is how we love God. I very much think that Mr. Blue would agree. Mr. Blue says that, “though Jesus says that the gospel is about justice for the poor, abandoning everything else for God’s kingdom, and hating our lives, we frequently seem to define it otherwise”, and “Jesus is very clear that concern for those in need is a litmus test of faith, not to be failed by any who hope to enter his kingdom.”

Practical Justice moves through discussions of “Should I help?” the three types of aid to offer, as well as how to live a life of justice. As to the question of “Should we in the Church help?” you probably could guess the type of answer from the above, but Mr. Blue takes it even a step further. He writes, “apart from substantive commitments to just and righteousness, worship is a mockery of God.”

Mr. Blue works directly with the poor & needy in Los Angeles & throughout the books, you get the sense that we doesn’t want to waste time. This is the issue, here it is, we need to get involved & get our hands dirty!

The three types of aid Mr. Blue mentions are direct relief (“giving a man a fish”), distributing skills (“teaching a man to fish”), & advocacy for a change in the system (what he calls “fixing the pond”). All three of these approaches are necessary & are ripe for people with different gift sets to become involved in different ways.

There are a few things that we are to keep in mind as we strive to live lives of justice according to Mr. Blue. “If we are involved in justice work for long, we recognize that indeed the world will be changed, and the Lord will do it in part through each of us; but the world will not become a fully just place, and there will be cruel and unjust people and systems within it until the Lord comes.” This statement is just to point out the reality of the situation & that it should not “discourage us, rather it should focus us on the task at hand.”

One of the most important things Mr. Blue said was “seeking justice can be an all-consuming task. Be patient and just keep working at it [justice] along with your group of explorers.” Once you see the need people, you feel that everyone should have the same passion & drive to help as you do. It will come in time, & sometimes that process is a slow arduous one. Let God work on their hearts as he did yours. It will come.

This book is an excellent resource to have in the fight for justice. I would encourage anyone to read this & work through it. Pick up a copy here for 20% off.

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