The phrase “social justice” scares a lot of people, because they imagine it means protesting or getting arrested (like these two Methodist bishops this weekend). While sometimes following Jesus means taking up a cross and suffering persecution, the fact is that most justice work is much more mundane.
The good news is that it’s actually easy to be a witness to God’s kingdom rule by simply speaking up. There are couple of ways you can take steps to do justice work right now.
First, educate yourself. There are some local and national issues that need your attention right now. (More on this below.)
Second, join or begin the conversation. You can sign petitions or use social media to keep yourself updated and spread the word. You can talk with your friends and family about the issues that are important to you.
Third, contact your legislators. You can find your Alabama legislator using this link. You’ll need your zip+4 code, which you can get here.
People are often nervous about calling their legislators, thinking they’ll have to argue about something. But the fact is, your state senators and representatives are lonely and would love a phone call. Seriously, they do not often hear from their constituents—if they receive a dozen phone calls about an issue, it’s unusual. The other major voices in Montgomery are big-money lobbyists—and you’re all that stands between them and the people they want to exploit. So pick up the phone and call!
Here are some pressing issues in our state and city right now:
You should know about the effort in Birmingham to create a Land Bank. Here are news articles from Al.com and WBHM on what a land bank is designed to do. Here is a petition you can sign about it.
You should know about efforts in our state to reform title loan lending. Here is a petition you can sign about it as well.
There are a host of other ways you can do justice in ways that directly touch your everyday life, in whatever area you are passionate about: bike advocacy, transportation reform, environmental justice, LGBTQ advocacy, racial and ethnic justice, immigration reform… wherever you see a difference between reality and God’s desired shalom (peace with justice) for the world.
If you’ve already done the three steps above, the next step is to put feet to your faith and actually organize with others. As our church grows and reaches more people, we will be expanding our justice work (along with our compassion work) in our community.
Finally, remember to pray: “Your kingdom come, Lord, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” As I said this past Sunday, we pray this prayer not because we passively accept everything that happens as God’s will, but because we know the world is not yet as God wills it. You are part of that Kingdom work.
Thanks for all you do!