Stop Sidelining Justice | Sojourners

Stop Sidelining Justice

A review of ‘Becoming a Just Church: Cultivating Communities of God’s Shalom,’ by Adam L. Gustine.

MULTICULTURAL CHURCHES can still be white spaces. Communities can be inherently individualistic. And acts of “justice” can alienate the very people Christ calls us to serve.

In Becoming a Just Church: Cultivating Communities of God’s Shalom , Adam L. Gustine points out paradoxes that have dominated the church for centuries. His book casts a prophetic vision of what justice can look like when it is fully embodied in the church.

“I am a liability in the work of justice,” he admits in the opening lines, indicating his white male identity. Aware of his privilege even as he reckons with matters of power and oppression, Gustine offers an unapologetic wake-up call to white evangelicals who have ignored the biblical call to justice and those who already consider themselves “woke.”

“A significant part of our history in evangelicalism could be characterized by either full-frontal assault on society or distancing ourselves in a protectionist way,” he writes. Evangelicals reduce justice to something either done tangentially (for example, donations) or in a manner that echoes colonialism (such as mission trips to foreign countries, depriving local construction workers of their livelihoods).

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