Justice Conference Boston Simulcast – Part 3: NT Wright’s “If It’s Real, It’s Local”

I’ve always felt that If you want to get the most out of the conferences you attend then you need to review your notes and stay in touch with people you’ve met. You can’t be best friends with everyone but it’s great to stay connected with the people you meet along the journey. When possible, I like to watch/listen the recordings of presentations I liked the most and every so often, I even check out the ones I didn’t connect with. It’s amazing how receiving content in a different context alters your perception and understanding.

You can’t think about everything you’ve heard, you can’t blog about everything you liked and though I wasn’t able to take many notes at the Justice Conference (anyone want to share yours with me?), I was able to for N.T. Wright’s presentation. Wow – how incredible was that – can’t wait until it’s released on video.

So deep and rich a presentation but the line that sticks out at me most is “If it’s real, it’s local.”

At first thought, it rings true. Then on second, I wasn’t sure if it was complete enough. After all, there are many things that occupy my mind that are not near to me at all and there are many things that are local to me, that are not that real to me, if I were being honest.

Much of our attention this week has been focused on Malyasia Airlines Flight 370. None of us know [Read more…]

Reflecting on Nathan George’s “Trade As One” Seminar at the Justice Conference

You know that moment when you do something cool, like attend a great event? It could be a concert or a movie or a family celebration. You come home and while you know you can’t relive it you want to dwell on it a little more. And even if you could go back, you wouldn’t because you know it would lose that special quality of the moment. Still, we think about it, we listen to the album, the soundtrack, flip through pictures and talk about it with our family and friends. Well, I attended the Justice Conference last week and to avoid “consuming” the event, I’m trying to reflect on it as I place a high value on that practice. Reflection is part of my prayer life, part of my mapping what’s next, it’s part of my ministry and the exercise of blogging is my attempt to create some conversation and community. Every now and then, I think I have to say all this – thanks for reading.

The second workshop I attended was Trade As One founder Nathan George –
However encouraged/motivated I felt from the previous workshop (posted about here), I was quickly brought back to earth listening to Nathan. in fact, I felt worse than how I did when I woke up that morning from a few hours of sleep. In fact, it felt more like when you’ve been up all night with a crying infant and your older children poke their fingers in your eyes so you can make them breakfast. There’s that thought of, “How am I going to get through the day from this starting point?”

Fair Trade, Buying and Living Ethically – here we go.
Nathan opened up with these quotes:

“We the lucky billion, now spend most our lives seeking even greater and subtler refinements in what we perceive to be our quality of life.” nicer clothes, better music, more comfortable furniture, more interesting holidays, more convenient technology, more unusual variation of food, a more secure retirement. It does’t get much better than this.

Our grandparents, let alone the generations prior, would look at us win amazement. They would see us living like kings [Read more…]

Gen Xer’s and Millennials on Church & Social Justice Post 2 – The Word “Trendy”

I have been thinking about some of the trends I’ve seen between the respective generations, especially in the Church and Social Justice scene. But it seems helpful to actually talk about the word “trends.” We tend to dismiss this word as something that is shallow and lacks quality thought – thus it is temporary and not worthwhile. To me it seems that’s how some are dismissing the need for Christina engagement in the world of justice – some are calling it a trend. So here’s another way to see trends.

You could make the case that 100 years ago after the Wright brothers (and other flight pioneers) were successful that the resulting boom with further experimentation was trendy. What you generally get in these moments is some talented daredevils who jump on this bandwagon. They are normally unemployed, jumping from career to cause, they may even be college drop-outs who have stressed out their parents and left a trail of disappointment along the way. They are not lazy, many have simply not found their purpose, their niche, maybe even their calling. And while some research would be helpful right now, I bet you this is part of the story of those who would pave the way for commerce, military, aeronautical aviation and whose faces and fill the walls at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. Sometimes it seems we need to thank God for trends.

The previous post discussed the rise of NGO’s versus the traditional missions organizations founded in the last century. Now, I’m not interested in defending every t-shirt company but I do think organizations like To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) are so precious to the Kingdom of God. We were just discussing this at our most recent Reading Circle and here’s why. To have a shirt sold at Hot Topic and now so many stores in so many malls in the country that tells their story when you turn it inside out, and an organization with a great online presence that tours across the country with bands and whatever else that allow for a message of hope to be carried to those who desperately need it – well, that’s amazing (And not to mention so much of the financial profits have gone to rehabilitation and counseling programs.  Makes me wonder about all the other shirts I got).

I’ve heard stories of people diving deeper in wanting to stop cutting themselves, in removing whatever that is hurting their minds and bodies, and committed to finding identity. Some find hope in Jesus, and become part of the Church – a “place” they never [Read more…]