On the bookshelf: Pursuing Justice by Ken Wytsma

It’s been difficult to write a review of Pursuing Justice. It’s not that I don’t want to write a review. It’s just that I don’t know where to start.

So let’s start with this. There’s a very real chance that this book will turn your ideas about justice upside down by setting things right.

Ken Wytsma methodically traces justice from simple definition to its intricate interaction with righteousness, morality, worship, race relations and daily life. Along the way, he sheds new light on stories that we think we knew – like the story of David and Bathsheba that Wytsma redefines as the story of a rich man using his power and position to take from the poor.

Along the way, Wytsma uses the life examples from the people he has met through his work with nonprofits like World Relief and Food for the Hungry as well as his experience as the pastor of Antioch Church.

In the powerful chapter, “Playstations and Poverty,” Wytsma tells the story of a friend from the Congo visiting an American classroom. The interaction between the friend and the children becomes the launch pad for an explanation on how our thirst for consumer goods fuels fires of civil unrest that burn through countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Wystma takes the reader on a journey to justice without casting blame. Yes, he acknowledges that as individuals and as a community we have fallen short, but emphasizes that the path to justice begins with changing our daily lives and living out a life of justice in our faith communities.

A short, powerful chapter closes the book with a call to live and die for bigger things. In as sense the entirety of the writing that goes before can be summed up in these sentences from the final paragraphs:

Justice is about my relationships here and my compassion there.

Justice is about knowing God as much as it is about serving God.

Justice has become both a daily necessity and an impossibility

Justice makes immoral pleasure distasteful and grows a deep and abiding happiness.

Justice leads me into a way of living by faith that is beautifully awkward.

Justice highlights the amazing grace of a God who allows me to stand before him as if I was fully just.

Thank you to the publisher, Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

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