Forum Begins Conversation on Social Justice and the Church
Story by Tiffany Doss
“We are here, because talking saves lives,” said Jose Rojas at the opening of We Stand For All, a forum at Potomac Conference’s Sligo church in Takoma Park, Md., designed to discuss if the church should have a role in social justice—a question that has become more prevalent following a rally on the National Mall where nearly 1,000 Adventists stood together for prayer and peace.
Growing up in one of the poorest families in an impoverished, Los Angeles neighborhood, Rojas shared the injustices he witnessed firsthand, the stereotypes surrounding his childhood and how people of different races and walks of life saved his family. “These folks left the safety of the residential area to do justice. I am the product of the work of justice. This is not a political thing. It’s a people thing.”
Rojas encouraged the more than 400 attendees to lay their politics aside to hear and discuss the role of the church as it is meant to dispense mercy and walk humbly with our God. Rick Remmers, Henry Fordham and Bill Miller, conference presidents of the Chesapeake, Allegheny East and Potomac conferences, shared their experiences with racism and discrimination and their journeys through their own prejudices, anger and hurt. These three men also comprised a panel in which attendees could ask questions or share their opinions with by stepping up to an open mic or submitting questions on a comment card.
"It is easier for us to calculate ten percent than to take the time to build relationship, to understand what it is to be just," said Miller. "It is easier to pass judgment on somebody I don’t know than to take the time to care… Let’s go deeper and take the time and the energy because we care enough for one another to do justice. That is why we’re here."
Rojas added, "As we’ve heard tonight, social justice isn’t about us and them, because that’s when it becomes political. Doing justice isn’t something you do after church—it’s a way of life. When you live social justice, you err on the side of compassion, because you love mercy and walk humbly with our God.”
Listen to the event in its entirety at http://sligochurch.org/webtv and join the conversation.