The Justice Conference 2017 in Chicago - Notes

I had the opportunity to attend the Justice Conference in Chicago this past weekend. Tomorrow morning I also am taking a plane to Tokyo for this summer. Even though time is limited, I wanted to record and share my favorite quotes, thoughts, and even questions that have resonated in my heart from this conference. I pray it can be not only an encouragement but an inspiration to new ideas through the truth of the Word of God. bible and journal on counter

The Justice Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois

"Love Thy Neighbor"


  • Proximity is messy. But we don't do it because it's easy, we do it because the gospel commands it."
  • Loving your neighbor isn't always safe, but it is always good.
  • There is an identity you are born with along with an identity in Christ that's waiting for you.
  • There is no ritual action that is devoid of moral action.
  • Forgiveness is done by the one who is oppressed.
  • Peace is not the absence of violence but the presence of justice.
  • Embrace ignorance so you can bring correction to it.
  • When you act differently, you force others to see you differently.
  • Justice is love, lived out in public.
  • Refugees are people who have a well-founded fear of persecution and who have crossed a country's border.
  • Poverty of meaning = Life without a purpose
  • Participating in the problems of other give us meaning. Also, participating in the depravity of our own souls give us meaning.
  • Changing the world is full of resistance and not-photographable moments.
  • A riot is the language of the unheard.
  • One hand cannot clap.
  • Allow yourself to reside in righteous poverty in reaction to manufactured poverty.
  • Creativity is a natural result of spirituality.
  • Make sacrifices that would elevate people in the margin.
  • When you embrace someone's mess, that's how they know they are unconditionally loved.
  • Society says "Be safe" while the Bible says "Fear not."
  • Acknowledge that we are standing on stolen ground.
  • You can be afraid, but try not to fear. And try to figure out how to rise above your fear. You have to go closer to the things that scare you most. Get closer to each other. To love anyway. Bring your fear to the table.
  • Justice is the reorienting of creation back to its original intent.
  • Sin embeds itself into systems, laws, structures, and policies.
  • Reconciliation and justice go hand in hand.
  • The manner in which you invite people to justice needs to make sense in your context. 
  • God chose the things that are not, to confound the things that are.
  • Practice (habitual action) vs. Praxis (unprecedented liberating action)
  • We need to pay more attention to the structural sin present today.
  • The light of the world is not the American people, it's Jesus Christ.
  • First person hymns and praise songs contribute to the egotistical culture and self-focused church who members ask "What is the church doing for me?"
  • Our virtue is not loving our neighbor; it's loving Christ with our neighbor. 'We' is not a collective 'I'.
  • The point of a utopia that steps back as we step closer, again, and again, is that it makes us walk forward.
  • It's hard to invest in the humanity of others when you can't see your own.
  • When you nurture your own humanity, then you'll be useful.
  • Superstitions and fortune tellers are just proof that people are looking for evidence that God is with us and we are not alone.
  • Look for God's presence in the ashes, in the hardest things.
  • Don't shoot for equality, shoot for a flipping of the power dynamic.
  • Privileged people have agendas and they usually move along at the pace they want them to.
  • There's no shortage of abundance in the family of God.
  • Jesus was a reformer, he challenged the current church.
  • We have to decolonize our theology.
  • Every author in the Bible was at some time oppressed.
  • Analogy- America is like a melting pot. If left without stirring the people on the sides and bottom will burn. Are you helping stir the pot?
  • Analogy- We need to embrace our differences like harmony that combines many different notes that all fall under the same key.
  • Don't confuse compassion (feeling what others feel and give) and justice (seeking to make things as they should be)
  • There are three characteristics of all crucial conversations: 1. high emotions 2. high stakes 3. differing opinions


  • What is our unique role in following Jesus?
  • How does it actually look like in your neighborhood to 'love your neighbor'?
  • How do we turn from failure/rejection and keep going?
  • How do I cultivate love?
  • How do I cultivate imagination?
  • How do I cultivate spirit?
  • How do I cultivate soul?
  • Where's the evidence of God today?
  • How do I let go of cultural conditioning?
  • How is Jesus making the last first and the first last?
  • What assumptions do we approach reading the Bible with?


I will open up my heart

I will offer up my life

I will be a vessel

And I will bless you

Lord, I will bless you for my life

Bless the Lord, Oh my soul


selfie at the justice conference

you are beautiful sign in chinatown chicago