justice

Bethlehem experiences

Tear gas containers litter the gardens near the separation wall between Israel and the West Bank Palestinians know that every Friday they can expect tear gas to be lobbed into the refugee camps outside of Bethlehem. (Photo by Brandi Friesen Thorpe)

The separation wall in Bethlehem, in the West Bank. (Photo by Brandi Friesen Thorpe)

‘How you experience holy is different than you expect it to be.’ -Rev. Carrie Ballenger Smith

After a year of travel, seeking faith and justice on four continents, there are lessons that I am still unpacking. Between the busy schedules of church, master’s thesis work, travel and work with the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF), it takes a moment of pause to catch up with my experiences. And so, I pause. I look back to remember.

Ally or accomplice: What does the Lord require of us?

There is a popular language arising in the church when it comes to justice work, that of “being an ally.” It means to align yourself with whoever your “other” is, so to love your neighbour and serve the Lord. But what happens when words are not enough, and when having only words of an ally can make injustice? What happens when being an ally is not enough?

A simple prayer

God, our Mother and our Father,
Jesus Christ, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, our Comforter.

We offer our gratitude, for you are with us.
You are familiar without struggles and joys, and still you draw near to us.
You are Holy.

We offer you gratitude for your sustaining love,
For the relationships made and being made,
For our daily bread,
For the material we need to continue everyday,
For how you renew our spirit when we struggle

Marching for justice

In his famous address at 1984 Mennonite World Conference, in Strasbourg, France, Ron Sider described shalom as “being in right relationship with God, neighbor and the earth.” Shalom, he said, “means not only the absence of war, but also a land flowing with milk and honey. It includes just economic relationships with the neighbor. It means the fair division of land so that all families can earn their own way.

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Care for creation and environmental justice

Nate Howard, an MCC worker from Muncie, Ind. shows visitors this mine in San Miguel, Guatemala. The mine uses vast amounts of water which eventually leaks potent chemicals into the water table. (MCC photo by Melissa Engle)

When Bob Lovelace, a chief of the Ardoch Algonquin of Northeastern Ontario, wrote about his people’s struggle over uranium exploration on their land, he did so from a Canadian maximum security prison. To protect their traditional territories from uranium exploration, the Ardoch Algonquin had set up roadblocks.

Proximity and resources

Winnipeg experienced its tenth homicide last week.  The shooting took place around the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation parking lot at Portage and Young.  We were likely just leaving our house at that time to run a few errands.  I am trying to retrace the moments to see if anything comes to mind.  We would have been close enough to hear the shooting.  Learning about the shooting does not seem to phase me personally, despite the proximity.  In the larger media and civic perspective this will of course

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Is this heaven? . . . No its the 44

A few weeks ago in the first Sunday of Lent I challenged our congregation to fast from the fruits of privilege.  One minor act on my part has been to ride the bus as often as possible.  As a country-boy the bus has always been a source of fascination for me and this spiritual exercise paid dividends this last week as my experience ended comprising about half the sermon

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