Living Justice: A Gospel Response to Poverty is a book for Christian faith communities trying to live out the justice mandate to love the stranger, the widow, and the orphan, and to seek just relations within society. It is a resource for people interested in learning more about the situation of poverty in Canada, exploring the Christian call to respond, and searching for ways to engage and create change. It includes reflections, discussion questions, activities, and prayers that will provide insight into the situation of poverty in Canada, the challenges and opportunities we face as a society, and actions that we, as Christians, can take.
Living Justice takes a fresh look at poverty with theological perspectives representative of various Christian traditions – Anglican, Evangelical, Roman Catholic, Christian Reformed, Lutheran, Mennonite, Presbyterian, and United.
Recognizing the complexity of poverty and the various ways in which it impacts each and every one of us, Living Justice goes beyond material (or physical) poverty and explores emotional, community, and spiritual poverty as well. Material poverty is understood as a lack of money, resources, housing, and/or livelihood, while emotional poverty is about personal brokenness, isolation, and/or vulnerability. Emotional poverty can be experienced by anyone, regardless of their social or economic condition. Community poverty, in turn, relates to situations of separation within society, division and a lack of cohesiveness among people living in close proximity to one another, and/or misunderstanding between members of society. Finally, spiritual poverty is understood as the separation of faith and action, personal fear and woundedness, broken relationships, distance from God, and an inability to see God’s image in the face of others.
Living Justice is a learning guide that can be used at the discretion of the reader. The format is best suited to small group discussion and engagement over a period of weeks or months. The booklet also contains elements that could be used in worship or for personal times of reflection. Most of the activities are designed to be carried out in church meeting spaces; some require more physical space, preparation, or coordination with local organizations.
All of the materials in Living Justice are intended to invite prayerful contemplation and action in order to reduce the burden for those living in poverty, and ultimately to see that poverty is eliminated.
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