On Justice and Reconciliation
The release date of this week’s episode of Faith Conversations happens to be January 18, Martin Luther King Jr. day in the United States. I could not let this day–this week–pass without focusing on things close to the heart of MLK himself, and close to the heart of God. I look at justice as being a spiritual practice. Adele Calhoun in her book, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, says that one of the ways we practice justice is by being responsible to God and others. One way I do that is to raise important issues like this on the podcast.
Mark Buchanan is featured on this week’s Conversation. He lives what he writes and speaks about. When he decided to live out the gospel on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, as the pastor of a good-sized congregation, he probably didn’t fully know what it would entail. In a community, a country, plagued with significant issues surrounding First Nations peoples, what we in the United States would call Native Americans, Mark decided to lead his church on a path of no return, a path fraught with difficulty and devoid of easy answers, a path moving toward justice and reconciliation. Not everyone agreed, and some were downright bigoted as the process began.
Sometimes when I record a podcast, the conversation off air is as good as on air. I lost track of whether Mark said certain things on or off the podcast, so I’ll mention a couple of them here in case they aren’t reiterated for your hearing. Mark’s most recent book, highlighted here on the website, is Your Church is Too Safe. In it he puts forth a theology of risk. Why do we need such a theology? Because Mark Buchanan believes that current day Christians are addicted to the middle class. We don’t want to risk, don’t think we need to risk, have just enough money to send someone else to risk. There can be no by standing in the body of Christ.
By the same token, no one person is called to save the world. Jesus already did that. But we are called to live out the great commission, which includes loving our neighbor as ourselves. I was needfully offended by some of our conversation on the podcast this week. My hope is that you will be too.
Let’s link arms and move together toward justice and reconciliation.