Capital Commentary is the weekly current-affairs publication of CPJ, written to encourage the pursuit of public justice.
Politics & Prose
February 15, 2013
By Byron Borger
Refuse to Do Nothing: Finding Your Power to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery
Shayne Moore & Kimberly McOwen Yim (IVP/Crescendoi) 2013
The Center for Public Justice has for decades encouraged citizens to think about political theory from a historic Christian perspective. We have insisted that faithful citizens think deeply about the most common, and often unhelpful, assumptions that shape policy. Yet, we are an association of citizens, not just a think-tank, and while we do continue to spend time thinking and writing, we commend a faith that yields action; we dare not just talk or think about justice.
There are times when we need to work on projects for justice that transcend typical political lobbying or citizenship engagement with elected officials. There are causes for which we must take up action, working with non-profits, international agencies, local ministries, being creative in mobilizing others to involvement.
Such multi-faceted, extra-political activism has a bad reputation, as if to be involved one must be either a technically astute specialist or a digressive, emotional protester, shouting down opponents. Shayne Moore has been the poster child for putting those stereotypes to rest—her first book was called Global Soccer Mom—and while she does seem to be gifted with extraordinary energy and a pleasant optimism, she is, as she explains, a fairly typical suburban wife and mom.
In this new book she is joined by McOwen Yim, another ordinary person, but one who happened to start an abolitionist action group made up of other moms, the San Clemente Abolitionist Mamas. These women are not only tirelessly learning the ways of civic activism, but they are doing it with humor. Who wouldn’t warm up to learning about activism, organizing and being social entrepreneurs from upbeat women like this? Although it is loaded with heavy stories of gross exploitation and social evil, they are attracting ordinary women to the cause. Elisa Morgan (founder of MOPS, an evangelical ministry with mothers of preschoolers) wrote a lively forward.
I am enthralled with these women and with this amazing book; the stories of them walking the halls of corporate offices, doing community organizing events, pressing politicians, learning how to fight child slavery and human trafficking are instructive and inspiring. They take us around the world, and to their local neighborhoods and churches, showing how to understand this issue and mobilize others. They call us to have “Thick Skins and Tender Hearts.” There is fierce urgency here, but there is grand hope. With God’s help, we can do this!
The World Is Not Ours To Save: Finding Freedom to Do Good
Tyler Wigg-Stevenson (IVP) 2013
It is apropos to highlight this book after the above call to activism, but this book—written by a seasoned politico—reminds us, importantly, that we need not take the entire world’s problems upon our shoulders. Wigg-Stevenson has worked as an aid in the U.S. Senate and has fearlessly moved, in wise and prudent ways, to kick-start a renewed nuclear weapons abolition campaign. His Two-Futures Project has garnered bipartisan support working to slow the race to the utterly unthinkable. But how does one work so hard, travel so widely, creating such momentum on such an achingly painful (and admittedly complex) policy issue without “cause fatigue” and burnout? Passionate enthusiasm can quickly give way to disillusionment.
In this one-of-a-kind book, which Ron Sider calls “brilliant, biblical and immensely important,” Wigg-Stevenson deftly explores practical and spiritual pitfalls that threaten those of us who are serious about making a difference in public life. Although few activists would disagree, very few know deeply in their bones that God is the One saving the world (not us!) Wigg-Stevenson teaches us how to be liberated from driven-ness, compulsion and anxiety. This stunning book is a must-read, drawing as it does on Kingdom vision and a strong clarity about the biblical idea of vocation and call. It grounds us in the good news of the work and the person of Jesus Christ.
God reigns. We can, and must, trust this essential truth. There is a very good study guide as well, making this an ideal resource for small groups, adult classes, or as a spiritual refresher for anyone wanting to frame their concerns and activism by the hope of God’s promises.
—Byron Borger runs Hearts & Minds Books. Capital Commentary readers can get a 20% discount on books listed here by ordering through Hearts & Minds.
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Capital Commentary is a weekly current-affairs publication of the Center for Public Justice. Published since 1996, it is written to encourage the pursuit of justice. Commentaries do not necessarily represent an official position of the Center for Public Justice but are intended to help advance discussion. Articles, with attribution, may be republished according to our publishing guidelines.”