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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Back to School Reading

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As we learn to let go of our colorblind habits, we also want to understand the practical ways in which justice and reconciliation function in the world around us. We want to live into what God is doing to proclaim good news to the poor, freedom to the captives, sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed (Luke 4:18). We want to ensure that our excitement and passion doesn't way to the humdrum of the day-to-day grind.

How do we stay grounded in our convictions and excited about the things God is doing in our world?

Here are some practical book suggestions to help keep the fire burning:

Reconciling All Things by Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice
One of a series pairing theologians and practitioners of justice, Reconciling All Things examines the potential for radical reconciliation across many of today’s divisions.  Katongole and Rice have partnered together for many years as codirectors at Duke Divinity School’s Center for Reconciliation and bring the wisdom of their life experiences into their writing.  Encouraging us to go beyond conflict resolution, we see the opportunity in our world for a deeper reconciliation in Christ. Reconciliation pushes past diversity to achieve redeemed relationships, both with God and with our sisters and brothers on earth.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Though African Americans represent only 13% of drug users (paralleling national racial demographics), they account for 35% of drug arrests, 55% of convictions, and 74% of those sent to prison on drug possession charges.  Black men are 13 times more likely to be sent to prison than white men facing the same charge.  Alexander asserts that these disparities have tremendous consequences for families and communities, with lasting racialized effects on the nation. As thousands end up entangled in the Prison-Industrial Complex, claims of ‘colorblindness’ give way to the reality that serious discrimination is at work in our judicial system. Read a full review of 'The New Jim Crow' here.

Pursuing Justice by Ken Wystma
Wystma calls us to pursue God’s heart by remembering His commitment to justice. We’re reminded that Christ’s death of the cross was at the same time an act of reconciliation and of justice.  Wystma urges us not to forget the wrongs that must be righted in order to be in redeemed relationship with God’s creation. The beauty of God’s plan is that He invites us to participate in His work to restore justice to the world. Indeed, pursuing justice is itself an act of worship.  God invites us into relationship with Himself and with one another to fulfill this vision justice. Read a full review of 'Pursuing Justice' here.

Making All Things New by R. York Moore
Can we participate in fulfilling the dreams of God on earth? What would God’s dreams be for us? Making All Things New describes the possibilities of what the life on this earth could be, even as we recognize the real day-to-day consequences of living in a fallen world. Moore coveys a passion for global justice that is contagious. In Christ’s mission to redeem all of creation, we are given hope that we can be delivered from the nightmares of poverty, slavery, human trafficking, and famine.  Moore elegantly guides us through scripture describing what God might have in mind for us when He reveals a “new heaven and a new earth” for us to one day dwell in with Him.

What books help keep your passion for justice alive? 

The above has been adapted from a post originally appearing on the blog of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on July 24, 2013. 

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