Reconstruction and Reconciliation

In our blogs we have often talked about how the reason for poverty lies in the brokenness of relationships. As a human being we find ourselves in a multitude of relationships. We are deeply relational creatures. In the western world we have forgotten how important healthy relationships are to flourish as a person. We have mistaken individuality and independence as freedom. After all, we value personal success more than the flourishing of our community. Our standard of living and our longing for convenience is built on the expense of others around the world. The root to poverty and injustice lies in our brokenness, the brokenness of our humanity. But there is hope. God promises restoration of all things. Yes, He invites us into the journey of restoration and reconstruction. A key to making a difference in our lives, communities and our world is reconstructing those relationships.

Theology of Reconstruction

As much as we humans have already achieved with the help of humanism, we also need to remember the wrongs of it and that without God, there is nothing truly good in this world. In 2017 I was introduced to reconstruction as a theological concept during a two week class on African Theology in Nairobi. Theology of Reconstruction is concerned with social, economic and political structures.  Reconstruction is a struggle for “the ‘renewal’ of churches and religions and for the ‘transformation’ of societies. Considering the past, the present and the future of a society, reconstruction theology facilitates principles and actions that sustain and support life in this society in the most positive way. Continue reading

Joining God’s Work

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the call for justice and reconciliation? Have you ever felt swept away by the multitude of opportunities to act for the Kingdom of God? Don’t worry. You are not the only one. Working towards the Kingdom of God, acting for justice, and raising awareness for the marginalized can seem like a mountain impossible to move. Simultaneously, it is easy to fall into an activism that is fueled by self-righteousness. Don’t get me wrong. It is good to be active and fight the injustice that is happening all around us. However, it is important to realize that we are not working for our own cause. We cannot establish the Kingdom of God out of our own strength. God is building His kingdom. God is the one who is inviting us to join the kingdom work. Furthermore, God entrusts us with the mission to make disciples and become ambassadors of Christ. Continue reading

The Lenses We Wear

During my time at Seminary I took quite a few courses on missions. There is a saying that “Missions is the mother of Theology”. It all starts with God’s love for us humans and his invitation to participate in his mission of reconciling the world. The questions and challenges around how to communicate the Gospel in the context of a global world excited me. How do you share the good news of the fullness of life found in Christ with business people in Manhattan? And, how do you work for justice and peace in a society that is shape by the cast system? How do we share the freedom in Christ with people who live in constant fear of being punished by evil spirits? Honestly, I learned more just as much about my own beliefs and views on the world as I learned about different worldviews. However, what I also learned is that one key to effective communication of the gospel and poverty alleviation is understanding worldviews.

Everyone Sees The World With Their Own Eyes.

So what is worldview? In our video series we talked about how worldview is like a set of glasses through which we see the world. Continue reading

Diving Deeper Into the JustUs Video Series

Welcome to our new blog series: Diving deeper into the JustUs Video Series!

A few years ago we launched the JustUs Video Series “Explore Poverty & Justice”. In five short videos we introduced several concepts related to Poverty and Justice. Our goal was to strike up conversations with young people toward a better understanding of what poverty is and how it is related to justice. Furthermore, the series challenged us to think about our views on this pending issue that is visible all around us. What is our role in alleviating poverty? How can we be involved in doing justice? There are plenty of ways to be engaged in working toward justice in your community and around the world. Yet, in the series, we always come back to God and his heart for justice. He is the only one who brings true peace and justice into the world. He is doing the restoration work in the world and generously invites us to join him.

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Radical Hospitality

Wrestling with Hospitality

Last Sunday, I was invited to preach in a Mennonite Church about hospitality. When I first heard that I was to be a guest speaker in their series on hospitality, I was super excited. I love showing hospitality and everything involved in it. Growing up, hospitality was a high value in my family. In fact, it had such a big influence on me. Now, my personality flourishes when I get the chance to care for my guests – my friends and the new people I meet. I truly enjoy being caught up in the business of cleaning up, preparing a meal, and making sure the guests are enjoying themselves. But I don’t think that is the kind of hospitality we find in the Bible.

As I wrestled with different scriptures referencing to hospitality, the more my view of hospitality was challenged. The more research I did on biblical hospitality the more it became clear to me that the true call to hospitality exceeds our understanding and practice of hospitality. Christine Pohl writes in her book Making Room: Rediscovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition: “[We see] hospitality as a nice extra if we have the time or the resources, but we rarely view it as a spiritual obligation or as a dynamic expression of vibrant Christianity.”1Christine Pohl, Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999), p. 4 Continue reading

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Christine Pohl, Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999), p. 4

Introducing a new face at JustUs: Chris Hege

Where would I be, if there weren’t some adults who invested their heart into my personal development? They cared for me, saw my potential and encouraged me to grow as I was trying to figure out what this life is about. Life is a gift and we are all meant to explore the beauty of it. Each one of us is alive for a reason. As I am still on my journey of exploring and designing life following the footsteps of Jesus, I realized how important it is to have people in my life who supported and challenged me on this road.

So here I am in Vancouver starting my job as the Elevation Program Manager at Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited. I am excited to be part of this organization, working with youth in a cross-cultural context. In my personal development cross-cultural experiences have been very influential. Growing up in a big family in Germany who always had an open house for people from all over the world, I became curious about different cultures. It was my dream to live in a different country making my own experiences one day. It was after Highschool when I packed my bags and volunteered with the Mennonite Central Committee in Vancouver for a year in 2011.

It was the beginning of a story that now is continuing. It was in Vancouver that I discovered my interest in pursuing ministry.

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