10 ‘Drop the Mic’ Moments From Justice Conference 2017

This year’s Justice Conference theme was “Love Thy Neighbor” and included diverse speakers who addressed ways the church can best love its neighbor at home and abroad.

(Photo: Facebook/The Justice Conference)

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The Justice Conference hosted its seventh annual gathering over the weekend in the Chicago suburb of South Barrington, Illinois. The theme of the two-day conference was “Love Thy Neighbor” and included a diverse lineup of speakers who addressed ways the church can best love its neighbor at home and abroad.

Ken Wytsma (of Antioch Church in Bend, Oregon) and Stephan Bauman (of World Relief) conceived the idea of The Justice Conference in 2010. Their hope was to equip the church with a “theology of justice.” Beyond its seven conferences in the United States, the organization has hosted four conferences in China, Australia, New Zealand and Amsterdam.

In case you missed it, here are some “drop the mic” moments of The Justice Conference from Faithfully Magazine.

Lineup of speakers from The Justice Conference 2017
Lineup of speakers from The Justice Conference 2017. (Photo: Facebook/The Justice Conference)

“To say ‘Christian activist’ is a redundancy because to be a Christian is to be active in God’s reconciling-justice-mercy work in the world.”  Gabriel Salguero, Associate Senior Pastor of Calvario City Church (Orlando, Florida)

“I think loving our neighbor calls us out of our comfort. It calls us out of our proximity to people who look just like us. It calls us into a deep embracing of the other… It calls us into a place that’s not familiar, and it’s all about action – not just the word – the action of love.”  Latasha Morrison, Founder of Be the Bridge

“I have a struggle with missions… because missions is often accompanied with imperialism: cultural imperialism, economic imperialism and religious imperialism. The idea that the Western church can go into any part of the world and preference Western styles and forms of worship and theological formation is imperialism, and the sinister nature of that is that many folks who become refugees are refugees because of American imperialism… It’s hard to be a neighbor to someone that we are trying to conquer. To be a neighbor is to invite them into our space with a spirit of mutuality and appreciation and listen and share, laugh and cry, and be transformed one towards another.” – Michael McBride, Lead Pastor of The Way Christian Center (West Berkeley, California)

“We actually need to understand how we are participating in addressing the depravity of our own souls and our own problems. Until we can get that understanding of our systems of systemic inequality, then we may actually just be providing Band-Aids [to things] that need a cancer treatment.” – Zakiya Jackson, VP of Training & Resources of The Expectations Project

“Don’t go ‘be a voice for the voiceless’ but do advocate where your voice actually really has a direct impact.” – Meighan Stone, Entrepreneurship Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center

“It’s easy, it seems like, to sing songs about lifting high the name of Jesus. I find it interesting that we don’t spend a lot of time lifting up the way of Jesus… When we only lift up the name of Jesus and we don’t lift up the way of Jesus, we can get the impression somehow that things are just supposed to be comfortable. Things are just supposed to be nice. Things are just supposed to be easy.” – Jeremy Courtney, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Preemptive Love Coalition

“My passion for diverse worship has nothing to do with the carnival multiethnic expressions. It has everything to do with biblical hospitality, solidarity and mutuality. I long for communities of faith to be places where we form deeper solidarity and deeper mutuality, and we mobilize people to do justice.” Sandra Maria Van Opstal, Executive Pastor of Grace and Peace Community (Chicago, Illinois)

“There is a difference between being political and being partisan. I believe we are called to be political, but we are not called to be partisan. The difference is that being political is engaging in the systems and structures that create the way that we perform as a society, but being partisan means that we have wedded ourselves to one political party, saying that they have all of the answers to our societal problems, which is not the case.” – Jenny Yang, SVP of Advocacy & Policy of World Relief

“Our churches are filled with egotistical and egocentric people. ‘Us’ is not a collective version of ‘I.’ It’s possible that we’re all together and each one of us is isolated within him- or herself, raising up our hands to God and not paying attention to who’s by our side.” – Ed Rene Kivitz, Senior Pastor of Agua Branca Baptist Church (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

“Our compassion in the church must mature beyond simple compassion into justice. We must be willing to exchange security – personal security – for kingdom risk. We must be willing to change out our personal comfort for the safety of others, and we have to give up the false notion that we are rich because so often we are actually poor, wretched, naked and blind. We must recognize the false and idolatrous notion that we are guaranteed perfect security.” – Scott Arbeiter, President of World Relief

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