I’m in the States right now and quite frankly, I’m freezing. I look like something straight out of someone’s winter collection circa 2008. But at least I’m managing to stay semi-warm.
Anyway, I’m here because I was in Philadelphia attending the Justice Conference this past weekend. I went to hear some speakers address justice concerns all around the world, and I also had a space at the YWAM Costa Rica table to represent what the El Salvador base is doing in Central America. It was a great opportunity to talk about what we are up to in San Salvador and I met lots of cool people.
The conference overall was a good experience…I felt encouraged and got some useful information from the pre-conference seminars and main sessions that I attended. A theme that I kept hearing over and over again was that as a generation we must be committed to this idea of pursuing justice, but what’s more is that we must be committed to deeply pursuing God.
The truth is, and my cynical side is all too quick to point it out, that having a “cause” is trendy right now. Eat organic. Buy ethically. Fight slavery. Dig a well…you get the idea. I am absolutely not saying these things are bad, and many people are helped by causes. But wide-eyed ideologies usually don’t last. What does last is when we internalize how deeply God cares for people…and he always has. Before it was trendy, before it was a “cause.” When we pursue his character and his passions we are naturally led to seek freedom and dignity for our fellow human beings. Understanding how he is using us in the world, and how we can bring holistic restoration into people’s lives sustains us, even when the “trend” fizzles out.
Are we in it for the long haul? The work of justice is long, it’s hard, it’s messy, and it’s usually not very pretty. It takes pain and sweat and heartbreak and being misunderstood. Words like “tenacity” and “perseverance” were used by the speakers as they described the long-term marathoning work that we undertake when we choose to dedicate our lives to showing the world God’s character of love and justice and grace. In my life, I can’t pursue the long hard work of justice without first pursuing the God whose love makes me faithful, and whose grace makes me just.
My hope is that this generation would move beyond seeing justice as a “cause” and into seeing it as a natural response to knowing God and partnering with what he is doing in this world. That they would see pursuing God, and impacting this world for him as key to all that they do.
Do you think “causes” have staying power? How do you think we can make it part of who we are for the long-term?