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News from the Pews

Read personal stories of changing attitudes, transforming hearts, and congregation members being moved to action. Learn how churches and individuals have responded when faced with injustice. 

Embodying Equity: Disability Justice Within the Church

Disability is a theological topic, because people of every kind of ability are created in God’s Image; moreover, through both our limitations and our gifts, people with disabilities indicate the uniqueness and breadth of God’s Image. Disability is a political issue too, because people with disabilities long for equity—freedom and human flourishing—for people of all body types. In this short post, I’m going to do two things. First, I’m going to briefly define disability, ableism, accessibility, and justice.

Violently Spiritual

A few years ago, my friend organized a protest at the shelter he was staying at. His protest concerned the use of sermons to wake up shelter participants. While he is a follower of Jesus, he is also a victim of the residential school system which had used sermons to destroy his people. The protest was peaceful and I joined the round dance he had organized during a community meal. 

Disability Advocacy Journey

I grew up in a faith-based family with an aunt and uncle who spent most of their career as missionaries overseas. They spent many years in Japan and the Philippines establishing Christian churches. I heard enough stories from them when they visited on furlough to know that I was not equipped for their somewhat nomadic lifestyle. I love to set up roots in a community and have a large network of family and friends close by. Listening to their conversations about distant lands always brought me back to the question of how I can invest in my own community. 

How one person’s advocacy can make a difference

On May 20th, the Climate Witness Project had the privilege of hosting a book talk with professor and author Finis Dunaway. His new book, Defending the Arctic Refuge: A Photographer, an Indigenous Nation, and a Fight for Environmental Justice, takes a look at how photographer Lenny Kohm’s grassroots advocacy alongside the Gwich’in people helped protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

From Child Displaced to International Activist

Mohammad El Kurd and the Settler Takeover in the East Jerusalem Neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah

Abundance from Scarcity: How Aquaponics is Providing Food Stability in Honduras

How do you grow vegetables when the soil is dry, space for farming is extremely limited and there is no water available? The answer lies in an innovative combination of fish, plant tubs, pumps and pipes! In southern Honduras, World Renew partners with Diaconia Nacional of Honduras for an agricultural project that’s having a big impact using aquaponics. 

Seeking Justice Inch by Inch: Practical Ways to Honor the Image of God in Everyone

In day to day life, I experience what I call “extreme empathy,” meaning that at times I feel the pain of others very deeply—almost as if it’s my own. Because of this extreme empathy, often when I look at the world around me, I am overwhelmed by the pain and sorrow that is seemingly everywhere. I want to fix it all and feel completely insufficient to make even the slightest difference or improvement. The ironic reality is that if I allowed myself to stay in those moments of despair, I would neglect to do the very thing I long to do: seek justice.

The First and The Last

Mark 10:31 “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Grappling in the dark?

We can all affirm that the months that ended 2020 and began 2021 were quite eventful.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to months of lock down intended to minimise the spread of the virus. However, as the socio-economic and political situation became challenging, the lockdown was lifted up in many parts of the world including Uganda. The situation had created limitations to community interactions. The opening up of international boundaries basically culminated into more community infections of the COVID-19 virus. We are locked in between the rock and the wall.

“Loving Everyone” and Learning to Listen

I am hoping that someone reading this will learn from my failures. I am still developing the muscle-tone at midlife to have conversations with people of color where I mostly just listen, the way God listens to me. I am a white male leader at a multiethnic, majority-white church, and I’m learning from my mistakes. I’m offering them here in the hope that if you need to, you might learn from them too. 

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