Expanding Notions of Justice

woman-picking-potatoesWhen I was done speaking, I walked back to my seat in one of the front pews. The conference broke for lunch a few minutes later and as I stuffed my spiral notebook into my backpack, the morning session’s first speaker came over and shook my hand. It was an honor to meet the director of a religiously-based international relief organization; it was even more an honor, to speak right after he had that morning.

As I shook his hand, I thanked him for his work and was about to say more when he posed a gentle challenge. “I listened with interest to your presentation,” he said, “especially the part about charity and justice. And I wondered: isn’t the work that we’re doing also justice work, even though it’s not legislative advocacy?”

Gulp. Had I just unintentionally diminished the good work of an international relief organization?  Continue reading

Why We Still Need Religious Women’s Groups

suffrageOnce upon a time—not too long ago—I thought religious women’s groups were destined to be a relic of the past, and that was okay by me. Women of previous generations needed women’s groups; in them, they organized for women’s rights, public schools, health services, and so much more. For those pioneering women, coming together in congregations for mutual support, encouragement, and communication was vital and essential. Religious women’s groups were activist training grounds, places of refuge, and centers of power.  Continue reading