The Community Justice Project: Week 1 Discussion

Summary of Week 1:

“We might think that the images and language we use to frame those who live encumbered by injustice are more or less benign… What I am arguing, however, is that evil arises from the seedbed of our heart and goes on to misname the world, letting injustice exist “out there” while we go on seeing and naming the world in ways that serve our interests…

Meanwhile, others suffer while we look through scratched lenses, or shutter our windows and don’t look out at all. We then frame our perceptions, blindness or dispassion with words that sustain patterns of injustice and leave us feeling free from any real responsibility. We write ourselves out of the story and thereby out of any relationship with the suffering of others. It’s our language game.”

Prof. Mark Labberton, Fuller Theological Seminary, From The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor

Examine this biblical text using Labberton’s quote as a framework:

Questions to ponder: To whom do we give the name “neighbor”? How does justice +/or injustice stem from the way we use language? In the story, naming justly led to restored life for the dying man; how might this practice bring life to our world? Who is in our “circle of ‘we'” and who do we label “them”? How are we experiencing Jesus’ challenge to name justly in life this week?

How is the project going? Share you thoughts, stories, and experiences! 

  1. anonymous’s avatar

    I’ve really been thinking about the idea that most of the “naming” we do happens in everyday situations, and that we do it subconsciously probably more than we acknowledge. I think it’s true that the way we navigate our everyday social context is not neutral, and the way we perceive, name, and act in the world has implications for perpetuating injustice or injustice. The hard part is that a lot of the time we don’t see what we’re not seeing. The question is how do we start seeing our own blindness to justice/injustice and our part in it?… some thoughts I thought I’d share…


  2. anonymous’s avatar

    At the community supper this Friday, the interactions between the college kids serving the dinner and the community that came to eat were really interesting, especially when placed in this context. Up on the hill at the college, we talk about “townies,” and I guess we don’t really know how the “townies” refer to us, but I appreciated the opportunity at the supper to step across those lines of “us vs. them.” We were able to perceive and name “them” as neighbors and see how they transformed our interactions.


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