Practical Justice

 by Kevin Blue

Why This Book Matters

Kevin Blue has written a very approachable book on the topic of justice, within his overall concern that we understand that the world is rapidly urbanizing and poverty itself, within the global trend, is becoming more urban. He makes clear basic connections between faith in Christ and the need to think and act justly.

Blue helps us to develop a basic language out of which we can begin to seriously discuss justice issues in the (white evangelical) church.

Overview

Intially the author sets the stage for the importance of thinking about justice by considering the overall movement of the kingdom of God (evangelism, healing, power, and dealing with evil and injustice). Next, he encourages us to see that Christ calls us to recognize and respond to injustice around us – but to do so cautiously. Caution is due in part so that our ministry is genuine and effective and so that we are prepared to count the cost.

Following these introductory chapters, Blue follows an outline of justice-thinking and response following the proverb (long known and modified by Dr. John Perkins)

  1. Give a man a fish (immediate need)
  2. Teach a man to fish (redistribute skill)
  3. Fix the pond (create access and deal the systems involved)

Blue, then, moves on to issues central to the discussion about justice such as race, class and lifestyles.

Chapter worth the price of the book

Fixing the Pond. If for no others reason, this chapter helps believers to see things we so often are blind to and, furthermore, what might begin to be done about them.

Quote: “We fall short of honoring the Lord’s desire if we only throw some money, food, and shelter to the homeless and do not address the causes of hunger and homelessness. Especially if they are structural in nature and not simply the results of drought and famine or personal sin. Scripture calls believers to be directly involved in these issues and we should pray against unjust systems as well.” (72)

If you liked this book you may want to consider

Divided By Faith by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith.
(a good book to read for added context regarding structuring, systemic sin)

Theirs is the Kingdom by Robert Lupton

Deep Justice in a Broken World by Chap Clark and Kara Powell