Shawn Casselberry is executive director of Mission Year, a yearlong urban ministry program that empowers young people to live a lifestyle of love and justice. He taps into soul force as a neighborhood advocate, youth mentor, prison volunteer, and justice activist.

Casselberry is author of God Is in the City: Encounters of Grace and Transformation. He has a master’s degree in world missions and evangelism from Asbury Theological Seminary, and a doctor of ministry degree in Building Beloved Community from McCormick Theological Seminary. He and his wife Jen, live in Chicago.

He is the co-author of a book called Soul Force: Seven Pivots Toward Courage, Community, and Change.  

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In Justice Movements, We Cannot Neglect Our Souls

This is why the civil rights movement was so impactful. The movement for justice was fueled and sustained by faith. The soul was not considered something separate from the body it was the source, the epicenter, and the driver for non-violent resistance and hope-filled resilience. Dr. King called this soulful way of doing justice “soul force.” Soul force heals the misguided bifurcation between evangelism and social justice by showing the deep connection between our souls and our actions. We must recover the soul of justice, lest we end up cynical, burned out, and reactionary. Soul work sustains both individuals and communities in our justice work. We must not neglect our souls in the work for justice nor neglect justice to tend to our souls. We must commit to both lifestyles and collectives that demand soul care as a non-negotiable act of justice for all.