Welcome or welcome back to part 2 of my journey toward justice. This is where I am sharing key moments and learnings from my personal path toward seeking God’s justice in our very unjust world. My next stop is a book called The Locust Effect by Gary Haugan and Victor Boutros. This book convinced me unequivocally that the justice system in many countries is simply a tool for those with money and power. There is one story in the book that I will never forget. There was a poor family with a young girl who went missing one night. The next day they found her body dumped in the street right in front of this business establishment where witnesses saw her the night before. Her clothes were covered in blood. They found a bloody mattress inside the establishment. Basically, all the evidence was there to convict the son of the business owner for murdering this precious little girl. Then everything started to work against the poor family who went into debt trying to pay for a lawyer to try the case. The opposing lawyer posed as their lawyer at first and collected and disappeared evidence. Her clothes disappeared. The mattress was literally cut in half and the bloody part disappeared. Incident after incident happened until ultimately there was no conviction and there was certainly no justice! My stomach gets churned up just thinking about it even as I write this. Gary’s point in the book is that injustice is like a locust that eats and destroys everything the poor have. The rich can simply take it from them and there is nothing they can do. Our system in the US may function better than that most of the time but it certainly doesn’t mean that everyone in prison is guilty or those who are free are truly innocent. This was a time when I was moved to give to this important cause serving and advocating for the poor around the world.
The next stop on my journey is more of a long road, which I am still traveling down. This one has to do with racial injustice and inequality. This shows up in areas like incarceration, poverty, food insecurity, and many more. I spent much of my life in vastly or majority white spaces, from my hometown to college to service in the military. That changed when I came to Boston and began attending Gordon-Conwell’s Boston campus. The majority of the students were minorities and my neighbors were as well. Meeting people and hearing more about the history of systematic and personal injustices against people of color in American history and ongoing today had an impact on me. It is so blatantly wrong in light of God’s coming kingdom. A place where people from every people group, every tribe, and every tongue will be all together praising God before the throne. Or how we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and love our enemies too as Jesus commanded in the Sermon on the Mount. Yet we treat each other so badly and people set up systems to maintain their own power and security. I have a lot further to go, but I am glad to be walking the road even if it is sometimes uncomfortable and hard. I have taken several tangible steps as part of my learning. I wrote a poem/spoken word about my journey which I have included at the bottom of this post. I participated in this dad’s group about How to Raise an Antiracist and have adjusted how I raise my children. I am going to be participating in The Race and Christian Community Initiative’s Learning Cohort over the next several months. So, more learning ahead.
Some people throw around the title “Woke” to describe this sort of racial journey of deeper understanding. But this word has become political fodder in our politicized world. However, for me, it isn’t about politics. It is about Jesus. Paul wrote in Galatians 3:28 that in Jesus there is neither Jew nor gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. These verses powerfully communicate to me about breaking down dividing walls in society between different races and different classes of people. About how we can be united through our belief in Jesus whose grace rescued all of us. How much more should we join Him in the work of bringing God’s kingdom values to our world and our neighborhood? But I won’t dwell on that much more.
Where am I at now? Well, I feel conflicted about how I have not done much direct service in the past few years. I have been in a way, just it has been direct service of my two small children. But I do want to reconnect with serving others practically and sharing more about God’s heart for justice. That is part of what makes me so excited to be joining the team at BFJN. Their focus areas of poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, trafficking, climate change, and incarceration overlap and resonate with many of the stories I shared from my own journey (and some I haven’t shared). I also realize I have a lot more to learn and I look forward to walking that out with a great team and with our broader community.
White Me by Andrew Fassett
I put the white in white. When I take
off my shirt, people who thought they missed
the sunrise, quickly shield
their eyes. Momentarily blinded
by my white skin, which is funny because girls
in India buy whitening cream to try and look
white like me, while I was born
with this fair skin. But white people haven’t always
been worthy of the label fair. White colonies used to
stretch across the world and everywhere whites went
they built schools. But it didn’t always
result in a proper education, since white schools often taught
the spelling of fair starting with a P. And ending with
You see white light is
a mixture of all colors. But oftentimes white man turned it into
a robbery of all cultures and that light switch
is still flipped on. It isn’t really
a mystery. But this inequality isn’t something
I could always perceive. You see I grew up in a school with
only an occasional Black Steve.
Black wasn’t his first name. But it was the first thing
we saw. The first thing
we said. I have never been called
At least not verbally. Titles,
worn like jerseys that set us up
on opposite teams. I used to think that everyone shared
an even playing field. Not realizing it is easy to score when
you start in opposing territory. And difficult to win
the hundred-yard dash when your track
is a mile long. Race isn’t a contest that should have
only one winner. But what am I to do.
Peel off this skin. So I can look
Cover up who I am to disguise
who my ancestors have been. I don’t think that will get us
any closer to where we want to be. Because first we must begin
to perceive. It isn’t the color of our skin that causes
corruption. If we go back a few thousand years
and move the whites
to Africa and the blacks
to Europe. Would we have had white slaves
and black masters? If we switched
right now, would it be any less
of a disaster? Humanity has a problem that is more than
Which isn’t an excuse to keep things the same.
But I only know one way that can bring about true change.
That can transform people so they won’t abuse their power.
Which starts by looking beyond this world and perceiving something more.
To have hope in a place where people from every tribe, nation and tongue will gather.
And where everyone will be blood brother and sister.
With that vision we can begin to work together,
And most importantly love each other.
But when I look at my own heart.
I see it is still too hard.
it would grow soft.
That white light and white man can
still be redeemed
and that redemption would include