Conference Voices

Interested in learning more about Contemplative Justice, why it matters, and how it is relevant to the BC Conference of the United Church? Read on to hear what members of the conference are saying.

What is contemplative justice?

Contemplative justice is anything that removes the social/cultural blinders from our eyes and hearts. Any work that, when engaged from a contemplative perspective, changes the participant from the inside, Keith Simmonds

A deep, grounded way of engaging in social change work for the long haul, Christine Boyle.

An ancient and re-emerging way to ensure that our social justice work is life-giving attuned to God’s will, Greg Powell

I am excited about the contemplative justice network because….

I want to see people using ancient christian teachings and practices explicitly in their work. I’m honestly really tired of the purely secular approach and don’t think it can answer the issues of the day, Rhian Walker

It takes seriously Jesus’ call in John 5:19 to be attentive to God’s movements in this beautiful, broken world of ours, Simon LeSieur

There aren’t many spaces to weave together inner and outer work – even though that weaving together is essential for increasing our chances of winning on key issues, and helping us to stay in the game for as long as it takes, Christine Boyle

Contemplation and justice work are essential to each other because…

Our feelings of outrage at injustice — while understandable — are too often formed based on dualistic thinking, wherein we assess actions, ideas, people, governments, systems, etc. as either right OR wrong. This us/them and either/or mentality clouds our thinking, inflames our passions and causes us to judge and hate the oppressor, rather than treat them with mercy and compassion –which we, as followers of Jesus, are called to do! Equanimity and true humility can not take shape in the cauldron of egoic dissent — it must be be nurtured in the practice of contemplation, Terry Harrison

The better world we are working to create isn’t just about better laws and policies, it is also about more loving, compassionate, interdependent community that supports us all becoming better and better versions of ourselves, Christine Boyle

Contemplation without justice risks becoming inward in focus, ignoring a major part of Jesus’s ministry; and justice without contemplation tends to lead to burnout and lack direction or grounding, Greg Powell

Contemplation and justice are needed in the church today because…

Without them, we cease to be the Church. Lots engage in prayer without action, and lots engage in action without prayer. Where contemplation and justice meet, there you will (or should!) find the Body of Christ, Simon LeSieur

The church is facing a crisis of relevance at a time when the world is deeply in need of moral leadership, for the sake of the poor and marginalized today, and for the sake of all of creation in the years to come. What does the church have to offer at this time? I hope it is a bringing together of tools and training for real social change, and safe spaces and practices to re-charge, Christine Boyle

Followers of the Way of Jesus are craving new life. We are yearning for connectedness to each other and our surroundings, and to do the hard work of sustaining creation. The coupling of contemplation and justice could provide the lifeblood the church seeks, Greg Powell

Many thanks to the folks who contributed to this post!