Lately I've been really bothered by all the social justice issues that seem to be getting overlooked in our society.  We are so distracted by all the stuff (really wanted to use another word here) in Washington and in our religious climate, that we are missing the forest through the trees.  As we are distracted, racism, abortion, and genocide continue and grow stronger around us.  One of the fastest growing industries in the United States is our prison system.  OUR PRISON SYSTEM!  What is happening??  I recently watched a movie called "The Hate U Give".  Although I wouldn't recommend this for younger audiences (language and violence), it did bother my heart that this is the world that our younger folks are growing up in especially the minorities around us.

 Isaiah 1:17 tells us "Learn to do good seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause."  I sometimes think that I myself get way too comfortable on our peaceful mountain and forget to look out for my neighbors good.  Some of you might be thinking that this is too big a problem to tackle or it's not our problem at all.  I would tell you to go talk to our educational providers at the local schools, volunteer for a day with the food pantry.  You will see that these issues are our issues!  

So what can we do to change things?  It starts in our homes and our church.  We offer help for those going through "stuff" and offer more than just "I'll pray for you"!  Along with prayer we offer our time and talents to assist people in their struggles.  We educate on alternatives to racism, abortion and violence.  The Church of the Brethren was and is a Peace Church which means that all these things fall into the purview of peace and justice.  Our world will not become Heaven on Earth until each of us picks up our own "yard" and makes the neighborhood better.

So, for now, I encourage each of us to look in the mirror and see how we are helping or hurting these issues.  Look at our families, especially children and see how we are creating an atmosphere of love and encouragement.  Pray for ways our church can be "the light on the hill" in these matters.  Admit our short comings and seek help in our growth.

 It's not too late and we can make a difference.  We just need to accept our part in it and allow God to use us as answers and not stumbling blocks.  I for one will start with my own heart and in my home to better equip us with the Spriit of God and to eliminate the spirit of hate from our hearts.  Will you join me?


                                            Praise God, your  Brother In Christ, Pastor Dan Johnson