Monday, March 5, 2012

The Justice Conference

Theresa Bennett '12 is an international affairs major from Mesa, Arizona. Bennett has just returned from the national Justice Conference in Portland, Oregon. She shares her story with Notes Along the Way:

It was a typing mistake that first led me to the World Relief website where I noticed an advertisement for the Justice Conference in Portland, Oregon. But once on the Justice Conference website, I quickly recognized that typo as a blessing.

I was instantly enthralled by the Justice Conference materials intoducing me to the largest gathering on social and biblical justice, with keynote speakers like Shane Claiborn, The Simple Way; Richard Twiss, Wiconi International; John Perkins, JMPF.org; and author Francis Chan. I'm an international affairs major with a minor in peace and conflict studies, and my vocational focus at Gordon is community development—with a particular emphasis on education in sub-Saharan Africa. I was excited to connect my vocation and academics with the Justice conference and it wasn't long before I registered and purchased my plane ticket.

Last weekend, I began my six hour plane ride to the Pacific Northwest to gather with 4,000 Christian activists who were similarly interested and passionate in living out the Word of God by advocating and working for the rights of all beings in Creation. When I arrived in Portland, I noticed most of the conference attendees were college graduates or recent retirees now ready to “do something good." But there I was, a college student—encouraged by my understanding Christian stewardship, my conversations back at Gordon, and my experience in the Elijah Project, to do something good now.

I absorbed the wise words of some great Christian adovates and scholars at the conference, listened to the music and poetry of up-and-coming artists, and learned about organizations actively living out the Gospel among their neighbors—next door and abroad. I was encouraged to see how God’s people are fighting global and local injustices and making a legitimate and noticeable difference. I was enlightened about sanctioned and promoted injustices even within the Church, and I was made aware of the dichotomy of giving to the poor within the church and society. I absorbed it all. I left convicted to redefine my understanding of working for justice and how I can actually live out Micah 6:8 as a 21-year-old soon-to-be college graduate.

Next year's Justice Conference is scheduled to take place in Philadelphia and yes . . . I’m already registered for it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a Gordon Alum (class of 1995) and was at the Justice Conference with you. I am a missionary with Children of the Nations and was attending the conference as an exhibitor for our ministry. I hope you stopped by for a visit at our booth to see what we're about.

In fact, I'm writing this from Nairobi, Kenya as I wait for a plane back to the United States. I've been in Uganda and Malawi visiting our children and staff in both countries.

Check us out at www.cotni.org

Blessings,

Jeff Lander