Dinner with a Captain and two Lieutenants, Bryan holding court. His hands say much. Ronnie and AJ deep in thought.


After po-boys, cups of gumbo and fries we are on the way to hear Father Greg Boyle who will talk to us tonight about cultivating communities and leaders.

Father Boyle has a quiet way of making a person grin and laugh. In 1988 he established Homeboy Industries in East LA, providing economic development to young men who have been pushed to the margins by the system of the world.

This morning Michelle Alexander spoke to us about the new Jim Crow. The use of incarceration to institute a new version of racism. It tied in very well with Noel Castellanos Wednesday evening when he showed us a theological framework that includes ‘confronting injustice’.

Noel said the incarnation as a primary tenet of Christian community development can’t rely alone on proclamation and spiritual formation, or demonstrating compassion, or even restoring and developing our neighborhoods.

He has come to the conclusion, as many of us have, that injustice manifested in systems and structures needs to be confronted by the people of God.

Alexander described how she has discovered that the criminal justice system in America is “a massive system of racial and social control”. A new form of ‘Jim Crow’.

Interesting. Talking with Captain Ronnie on the way to our po-boy dinner he mentioned how he observed around him in the morning session many puzzled expressions, and then disinterest. Many seated around him seemed to have no idea what ‘Jim Crow’ is. Do we need to do some education? That we don’t lose the memory, the story of injustice in America?

Yesterday afternoon Ray Bakke and John Hayes presented a workshop on ‘spiritual history’. What has taken place in the past of the neighborhoods we live in, we work in?

What has happened in the past has had an effect on the spirit of individuals, families, neighborhoods, communities. And needs to be remembered and become part of the ministry we are called to in these places. The places where we are called to proclaim the gospel. Demonstrate compassion. Restore shalom. And confront injustice.

So, as the people of God who are called to live incarnate? Remember.