Pursuing Justice by Ken Wytsma, founder of The Justice Conference, is the introduction to pass along to others for understanding the need and instilling a desire and passion for justice as we live for God, assuming they haven’t already grasped it from the Bible. Although Wytsma does not take anyone through a specific form or topic of justice, he brings his reader face to face with it is, its necessity, and the door through which one walks to begin living it and looking for those specificities one may have wanted within the text itself. There are, however, plenty of injustices mentioned—some with accompanied anecdotes—but the reader is not necessarily provided a path by which to remedy the injustice; rather it is hoped that the reader will be given a heart for wanting to bring about justice and discover on one’s own ways in which that may come about.
If one who is already on fire for participating in the righteousness and justice of God and has the time to read another 300+ pages, I offer this book as a great resource for fueling that fire. However, for those questioning the phrase “social justice” and the inclusion of “justice” as part of the “gospel,” I offer Pursuing Justice as a “must read.” For those who confuse the phrases “social justice” and “social gospel” and don’t want to make it through the first 200 pages with a persistent bias against anything written on the subjects, I recommend first jumping to Chapter 13, “Justice in Society,” for a well-articulated argument and explanation of the controversy and how to play one’s part in ending the perpetuation of certain misunderstandings thereof.
I have two specific critiques, though minor, I hope others will consider when reading this book and others. First, Wytsma peppers the text with lists of perceived injustices, some of which I believe are mere preferences and desires for a happy life and have no direct connection to bringing about “justice”—I would put universal health care and education provided by a government in this box. Though injustices may certainly be found within the methods by which some of these things and those associated therewith are discussed and implemented (e.g., discrimination between race and gender), I do not think the lack of such things are indicative of injustice. I would have hoped for a bit more careful nuance to be made in the given examples of injustice, but found many of these remarks to be side comments that are not necessary to come away from the text with a changed perspective for the better. Second, I often caution others in how they use statistical information, encouraging a better understanding of how the information has been gathered and disseminated. All too often numbers are used to sensationalize and reinforce a point that may be good but not actually appropriate. I’m careful to not call this way of using statistical information in all circumstances “dishonest”—some simply do not know what they are doing—but I would have expected a bit more of an honest approach to some information used in such a large and well-thought-out work as Pursuing Justice.
Overall, I do not know how someone can walk away from a thorough reading of the book without a heart for pursuing social justice, but I say the same thing about the Bible! Blessings upon all who pursue the heart of God, a heart of love—a heart of justice!
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”