January 29, 2017

Pete HaackJustice Matters

An interfaith network working for justice in Lawrence

Thoughts from Carol von Tersch, a St. John’s Justice Team leader.

Two Mondays ago we celebrated the national holiday, Martin Luther King day. Rev. King was a leader in the Cause of Civil Rights and social justice so this is a great time for all of us concerned about social justice to reflect on his leadership, his commitment and sacrifice, and the origin and the depth of his Christian commitment.

When Dr. King suffered the degradation of imprisonment in Birmingham, he lamented the lack of support from the Christian churches. Quoting from his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”:

“There was a time when the church was very powerful. It was during that period that the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was the thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.” But they went on with the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven” and had to obey God rather than man. They were small in number but big in commitment.”

He goes on to say:

“If the church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club…”

JUSTICE MATTERS seeks to transform the mores of society. The five biggest justice issues facing our city are:
• Lack of mental services for those in crisis
• Life-altering Traumas for Children of Douglas County
• Shortage of Affordable Housing
• Institutional Racism, and
• Growing Incarceration affecting women, children, and minorities

Are these social issues that the gospel has nothing to do with? At the very least we are called to be informed about these issues in our community and to recognize that it is morally right to speak out for those whose voices may not otherwise be heard.

For more information about Justice Matters and the issues we are currently researching and studying you can contact either Joe Snyder joesnyder42@gmail.com or Pat Lechtenberg plek10berg@aol.com, or visit the website: