1) Poor or rich, we are all created equal in the image of God. (Reference Genesis 1:27; Proverbs 22:2) – Thought credit for this section goes to Dr. John Perkins and Eugene Cho
· The poor don't need more money or materialism. They need education, support, training, etc. If the rich decided to equalize the wealth distribution in society by giving to the poor, the rich would have it back the next day. – Dr. John Perkins
· The concept of “teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime” is not true. Whoever owns the pond is the real winner. We need to create more opportunities for the poor to climb out of poverty – including improved education, workforce and healthcare. – Dr. John Perkins
· The vast majority of immigrants have never entered an American home. We must reach out to those in our communities, become friends and invite them into our lives. Both parties will benefit. – Dr. John Perkins
· It is sinful, yes sinful, to use images of poor and suffering people to promote our own work, even if charitable in nature. Would you want someone flocking to your community, photographing your children and then selling that to the world? We must be responsible in our story telling. Not all of Africa is poor and destitute, but our modern-day perceptions say that it is because of our own miscommunication. It is not good for us to dehumanize the poor. – Eugene Cho
2) We CAN make a difference and the labor of justice is worth the fight. Thought credit for this section goes to Ken Wytsma, Gary Haugen, Brenda Salter McNeil, and Eugene Cho
· When we aren’t the victim, questions of whether or not freedom for a few is worth the cost and sacrifice required may seem like a reasonable question, in light of how much work there is to be done for what may seem like a small benefit to us. But once you know and befriend someone who is oppressed or neglected, this question becomes incredibly offensive. Perhaps we aren’t qualified to answer those questions, but instead we should be asking the men and women who were brought out of slavery as a result of that labor for justice, whether or not it made a difference. – Ken Wytsma & Gary Haugen
· The idea that we can't make change is what usually causes us to avoid the brokenness, but that lie is simply false. We must get involved in the brokenness in our world and lean into it. Compassion isn't something fuzzy, it's something gut wrenching. We can't do everything, but we can do something. Jesus' instruction isn't theoretical, it's meant to be acted upon. We are supposed to live out the story of the Good Samaritan – Brenda Salter McNeil
· If the grass is greener on the other side, maybe God is telling you through the Spirit to water the grass you are standing on. – Eugene Cho
3) We must dig deep beneath the surface level of justice issues. Thought credit for this section goes to Ken Wytsma, Eugene Cho, and Gary Haugen
· The temptation of this age is to look good without being good. – Ken Wytsma
· Our generation is obsessed with having a platform to be seen, but we often stay at the surface level. The work of justice is hard; it requires tenacity. We need people who are committed to justice for the long haul. We may be the most overrated generation of all time. Our generation has incredible creativity and idea potential, but we seem to buckle at the face of trials, we fail to persevere. – Eugene Cho
· Everyone wants to change humanity, but no one wants to change themselves. It’s common to desire change in the world, but we often pass by brokenness in our own communities to get there. – Ken Wytsma
· Love overcomes fear, but it also overcomes monotony, boredom and tedium. Justice is long and tedious work, which no one ever sees. No one will ever make a movie about the long and boring grind it took to create this change. The power is in perseverance. We must persevere like Paul. People are worthy of a love that persists, a love that does not go away. – Gary Hauger
I would like to give a special thanks to the Justice Conference organizers and volunteers for committing their passion, energy, and time into coordinating such a smoothly-run event that changed so many lives. God is working through this movement in big ways and I’m committed to fighting the long haul with you!
Readers: Please use this comment thread to engage in conversation about what you learned at the Justice Conference or pose any questions you have about the conference, my takeaways, or the Justice movement at large.