This is an event designed to provoke thought, open conversations, evoke prayer, empower action by people of conscience. Too often we have a TV's Law & Order view of crime and punishment. Then someone we care about or we ourselves become a victim of crime, are accused of a crime, are doing time for a crime rightly or falsely, are returning to the free world only to find that there is no housing, few jobs, and 44,000 laws that only apply to someone with "a record" meaning a drastically reduced capacity to support our families (spouse or children or parents), contribute to our communities or make amends for past errors. But learning all that often comes with a purposeless sense of shame and crippling fear.
One of the saddest things I have learned when working with individuals affected by incarceration (their own or that of someone they are deeply connect to) is how often their churches or proud church people add to their pain in direct contradiction to God's commands in scripture.
So what is our responsibility?
Is it enough to never be arrested ourselves? I believe we have all known people who cause great harm without ever exceeding the threshold for incarceration, so that seems a poor standard.
How about if we pray for people wrongly convicted? or political prisoners in far away lands? Convenient, because it does not require that we exceed our comfort level.
Indeed, C. S. Lewis wrote, "“I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. If our giving habits do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we want to do but cannot do because our giving expenditures exclude them.” While this is generally applied to financial matters, is it really any less applicable to our giving of time, talents, attention, or service? Mother Teresa got a lot of grief for saying "I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me, and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me."
Please let me be clear. Wherever you are, wherever I am, God loves us and longs to hear us speaking to God (prayer) with our most tender longings and demands NOTHING in return. But when we recognize that relationship, we can not expect the relationship to become deeper, stronger, bigger if we treat it shabbily. It is like a newly married couple where one (God) is delighted and the other indifferent or demanding!
So, if you have a heart for justice or know some who might benefit from thinking seriously about justice, especially biblical justice (which is fair, balanced with mercy, and equitably applied) please reserve February 29, 2020--YES! That is leap day! (Saturday beginning at 9 am, but you are welcome to come and go as your schedule allows and your heart demands.) We will be delighted to see you!
If you want more information, check out www.facebook.com/events/905186776503454/ or use the Contact Button on this site.