Archive for the ‘4days4justice’ Category

North Park University presents the 2012 JUSTICE SUMMIT. This conference brings together theologians, teachers, students, and activists from across the country. Participants at this two-day event will learn how to engage people in ministries of compassion and mercy, challenge policies through advocacy and community organizing, and partner with programs and projects of community-based organizations for the sake of Christ and his kingdom.

Today’s schedule:
9am – Jim Wallis

10:30 – Workshops, including presentations by Curtis Evans (U. of Chicago), Tim King and Lisa Sharon Harper (Sojourners), Corey Brooks (the rooftop pastor), Dan Hodge (NPU’s Director of Youth Studies), David Byrd (Chicago Urban League).

NOON: Lunch forum/reception to learn about the NEW Urban Ministry Certificate Program (hosted by yours truly).

1:15pm: Judy Peterson (North Park University)

2:45: Workshops

7:00: Dr. Cornel West

It is not too LATE!  Register at the door.  Hope to see you there.

Come by to say hi at the Urban Ministry Certificate Launch at NOON (Carlson Building, Room 28)

North Park University to Host ‘Justice Summit and Chicago Reload’ March 23-24

North Park Justice Summit and Chicago Reload image

Cornel West, Jim Wallis highlight prominent speaker lineup

CHICAGO (February 2, 2012) – North Park University, Chicago, will host hundreds of people next month at an event for those who want to know more about justice as a way of life. Participants in the “North Park Justice Summit and Chicago Reload,” event will learn how to engage in ministries of compassion and mercy, confront policies through advocacy and community organizing, and partner with programs and projects of community-based organizations, all from a Christian perspective.

The Justice Summit and Chicago Reload is March 23-24. It combines Chicago Reload, an annual event for urban youth workers hosted by the University the past seven years, with a new Justice Summit to expand the audience and dig deeper into the subject of justice, including focus on systemic issues and policies. Event organizers are hoping at least 500 or more people will attend.

Prominent plenary speakers highlight the event, and are expected to address justice, compassion and mercy from varied perspectives and contexts. They are Dr. Cornel West, Princeton (N.J.) University; Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners, Washington; Rev. Harvey Carey, senior pastor, Citadel of Faith Covenant Church, Detroit; Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, North Park Theological Seminary; and Rev. Judy Peterson, campus pastor, North Park University.

“The whole idea is to gather folks around the issue of justice, and start the dialogue in a direction we think is holistic,” said Tony Zamblé, director, North Park University Ministries. “This idea gained traction because we believe North Park is uniquely positioned as an institution to lead the conversation on justice.” Justice Summit and Chicago Reload presenters will address the theological framework for justice ministry so participants understand what God calls them to do, and why, Zamblé said.

Justice issues are a significant component of youth ministry regardless of the context, said Alison Burkhardt, assistant director, Center for Youth Ministry Studies, North Park University. “There is a real electricity around Chicago Reload, and I believe it’s going to translate into the full conference. I’m hoping attendees will leave knowing that what they do makes a difference, having perhaps a different perspective on the impact they have on the communities they’re working with,” she said. Conference planners hope attendees gain “foundations and tools” for doing ministry that can be applied in multiple contexts, Burkhardt added.

Attendees will be able to choose from a significant number of workshops organized into four tracks, said Rich Kohng, urban outreach coordinator, North Park University Ministries. Workshop categories include “Presence,” “Policy,” “Programs,” and “Perceptions,” he said. Some workshops are already planned, and others will be added in the coming weeks. Kohng said he hopes attendees will become “contemplative activists,” combining their relationships with Jesus Christ and activism as important components of the gospel.

Conference registration is open online; early registration rates are available through Feb. 29. Regular registration begins March 1 and closes online March 21. For those who sign up, conference email updates are also available.

Justice Summit and Chicago Reload sponsors are three University entities: University Ministries, Campus Theme Committee, and the Center for Youth Ministry Studies. North Park University is affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church.

A few weeks ago, Glen Beck launched an attack on churches that speak about social justice.  It was an interesting plan of attack for a conservative to attack churches that are politically active, given that in previous years, it was conservatives begging evangelicals to be politically active.  So I must admit that I didn’t quite get what Beck was trying to say.

As a professor of evangelism and someone that has spent considerable time reflecting on the social-cultural role of evangelicalism in American society (see my book: The Next Evangelicalism), I was a bit taken aback by how many bought into the belief that social justice should not be a part of the work of churches.  The divorce of social justice from personal piety was a major failure of the evangelical church in America in the early part of the twentieth century.  In the 19th century, Christians were oftentimes at the forefront of social reform, leading the abolitionist movement, the reform of child labor laws, and voting rights for women.  It was in the 20th century that fundamentalist Christianity moved towards a more isolationist view that led to an unhealthy disengagement from society.  In the 21st century, many younger evangelicals are attempting to reassert that social justice is an integral part of one’s faith.  It is in actuality, an attempt to return to a social ethic that arises from the Bible.

From April 14-17 at North Park University, a group of evangelical scholars, pastors, and activists will gather together to examine the question: “What does an evangelical social ethic for the 21st century look like?”  Beck’s statements revealed a fundamental weakness among evangelicals.  We struggle with the role of the church in society.  We vacillate between overly ambitious attempts to take over the government and retreating to our Christian rabbit holes.  As a new generation of more ethnically diverse evangelicals arise from the rubble of the Religious Right, we may see a whole new role for evangelicals in the public sphere.

4days4justice at North Park University is an attempt to hear from previously marginalized voices in both American society and the evangelical community.  We will have the chance to hear Native American Christians address the issue of environmental justice.  (I still haven’t figured out how we ever had any serious dialogue about the environment without considering the perspective of the Native American community).  We will be involved in round table discussions (in a fishbowl style) on the topic of social justice with evangelicals from various ethnic communities.  And we will offer workshops (particularly geared towards local churches) on various social justice topics during a one day training session on Saturday, April 17th. Will we answer all the questions about the role of evangelicals in the public realm.? No, but I hope that at least we’re asking the right questions.

For more information check: www.northpark.edu/4days4justice.

An Update based upon some of the best shows of the ’90s.

Law and Order (Tom Skinner’s Urbana ’70 Address). I’m working on some reflections on the emergence of Black evangelicalism in the later half of the 20th century.  An excerpt from one of the most important addresses given by an African-American evangelical in an evangelical gathering.

Now, during this great upsurge in revolution and rebellion that has been going on, there have been great numbers of evangelical Christians who have joined the hoot and cry for “law and order.”

But how do you explain “law and order” to a mother who stands at the foot of her bed watching her baby lie in a blood bath, when she knows that that baby would never have been bitten by the rat in the first place, and the rat would have never been in the building, if the landlord to whom she had been paying high rent had been providing the kind of service she deserved for the kind of rent she was paying?

How do you explain law and order to her when she knows the building code inspector, who represents the city administration, who is supposed to check out violations in buildings, came by that building the day before but was met at the front door by the landlord who palmed a hundred dollars in his hand, and the building code inspector kept going? Now that is lawlessness.

But the point is, we never arrest the landlord. We never lock up the building code inspector. But I tell you who we do lock up. We lock up the frustrated, bitter, sixteen-year-old brother of that two-week-old sister who in his bitterness takes to the street and throws a brick at that building code inspector. Then we lock him up and say, “We gotta have law and order!”

Friends: It was great to see some friends when I returned to Boston to preach at Eastern Nazarene College’s Spring Revival.  I’m back in Boston on two different occasions in the spring.  Hope to catch up with others during those visits.  I’ll be speaking at the Ethnic America Conference (in April) as well as Gordon-Conwell Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME)’s Graduation Banquet.  We’ll also be swinging by Boston during the summer as I’m scheduled to speak at a family camp in New Hampshire in July.

In Living Color: Randy Woodley, author of Living in Color and a frequent contributor to this blog is on his way to Chicago.  He will be one of the participants at 4days4justice.  Got a sneak another plug for 4days in here  somewhere. 🙂

Peter Heltzel, the author of Jesus and Justice and Assistant Professor of Theology at New York Theological Seminary will be speaking on the topic of Jesus, Justice and Race at 9am on April 15th as part of 4days4justice.  I have had the privilege of working with Peter on two different book projects: (1) on the Theological Legacy of John Perkins and (2) Theologies of Freedom.

Here’s a link of an interview with Peter Heltzel about the real meaning of Christmas.

After Peter Heltzel’s session, Mimi Haddadwill be speaking at 10:45am on Thursday, April 15th.  Dr. Mimi Haddad is president of Christians for Biblical Equality. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. She holds a Ph.D. in historical theology from the University of Durham, England. She has written numerous articles and has contributed to eight books, most recently as an editor and a contributing author of Global Voices on Biblical Equality: Women and Men Serving Together in the Church.

For more info: See the 4days4justice website. You can register HERE.

Terry LeBlanc is one of our featured speakers on Thursday night at 4days4justice.  Terry is Mi’kmaq /Acadian, from Listuguj First Nation.  He is the founding Chairman and current CEO of NAIITS (North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies).  He will be speaking on environmental justice from a Native American perspective.  (I’ve often said I don’t know how anyone can ever presume to talk about environmentalism without first consulting those who are the first caretakers of this land). I got to know Terry, first at Urbana ’03 and am honored to call Terry a friend and mentor.

Below is a video clip of a news report on Native – Canadian reconciliation in the church.  Terry LeBlanc is featured in this interview.

Terry will also be one of the moderators in the fishbowl discussion on scheduled for Thursday and Friday.  See the 4days4justice website for full details.  It is not too late to register.

Andrea Smith (Professor at University of California, Riverside) will be presenting on the topic of the Non-profit industrial complex.

Here’s a clip from Andy.

Andrea will also be moderating the fishbowl discussion on Thursday and Friday.

See the 4days4justice website: www.northpark.edu/4days4justice

Richard Twiss leads off our 4days4justice with a chapel service at North Park Theological Seminary on Wednesday, April 14th.

Here’s a video clip of Richard Twiss speaking at Anderson University:

Here’s an interview that I did with Richard at the Cornerstone Festival last summer: LINK

Richard Twiss will also be part of the fishbowl discussions on Thursday and Friday (April 15 and 16) on developing an Evangelical Social Ethic for the 21st Century.

TO REGISTER for 4days4justice, link HERE.

“Broken Health Care Debate Revealed An Unhealthy National Spirit”  By Randy Woodley

Randy Woodley is a frequent contributor to this blog.  He is finishing up his Ph.D. at Asbury Seminary and is currently an adjunct professor at George Fox Theological Seminary.  Randy is also the author of Living in Color available on IVP Books.  Randy will also be participating in the upcoming 4days4justice conference at North Park (April 14-17).

For the past year we have all known that the debate was much bigger than Health Care. After all, what passed was verifiably impotent compared to what is actually needed in order to take care of the real health needs of all Americans. None the less, the bill had to pass to so we could begin a better health care journey and in order to secure an effective political future for Obama and the Dems. But let’s not fool ourselves by saying that this was true “Health Care Reform.” It was simply a few good, but minor improvements to a terribly broken system. The debate also revealed to us that the Democrats now resemble the former Republican Party of years prior and the GOP (“O” for obstructionist) is left looking more like an extension of The John Birch Society. There is a definite conservative swing occurring in our country accompanied by deeply held racist roots.

The past year of debate revealed widespread racism that is still present in the heart of many Americans. It is no coincidence that the most consistent assault on the current democratic system ever launched in my lifetime was levied during the first year of the nation’s first African American President. Amazing how many people wanted Obama to fail! Even more amazing would be the conversation about WHY they really wanted him to fail. The racists faxes sent, the spitting, the racist slurs hurled at Representatives John Lewis, James Clyburn, et. al. in the halls of Congress from the “Tea Party” folks were simply an example of what was “not being said” all along. In truth, the Tea Party and the Republican obstructionist tactics revealed a desperate movement to reinstate the full benefits of White Privilege in America. There were just too may incidents of racism and impropriety over the past year for them to simply be “isolated incidents.”

In 2042 White non-Hispanics will cease to be the majority population in America. The dominant White culture in power understands what the statistics mean when they reveal “the browning of America.” As followers of Jesus we have an answer to the national angst. We can clearly see that ethnic diversity is a value that flows from the heart of God. We are called to be peacemakers. We are ministers of reconciliation. We even know how to love our enemies. We have the goods. Do we have the courage? If not, who will lead us in preventing the coming American Apartheid?

It is now time for a national conversation on racism to begin in America. Followers of Christ should be leading this conversation-not avoiding it.