Exploring the connection between spirituality and justice.
Since the first print edition of Clarion: Journal of Spirituality and Justice was released in Fall 2003, I’ve been asked, “What is Clarion?” often enough to realize people don’t read subtitles. So in case you missed it, this web site is about spirituality and justice.
Our contributors are not all on the same spiritual, social or political page, but we all agree on one thing: spirituality and justice are inseparable. Our tendency to sever the two is unhealthy—even dangerous. Faith must live from the heart and out on the street, seeing the Kingdom of God within and without. To quote my new friend Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, whose monastery prints Clarion, “Without compassion and justice, you are simply not a person of faith.”
Beyond this shared sense of purpose, we also have an agenda. First, we want to take “listening prayer” and the contemplative tradition from the private prayer closet into the public arena. We feel that the pietism that keeps faith entirely personal needs to escape its propensity to navel gazing. We must seek God’s heart for the world and engage in meeting the needs of our global neighbors.
Second, we hope to exhort each of the prophetic streams to embrace the call to social action that permeates and even defines the message of the biblical prophets. Mature prophetic ministry in the tradition of Amos, Micah, Isaiah, and Jesus speaks warning and indictment, truth and hope to individuals and cultures. It leaves the comfortable pew, steps over syringes in downtown alleys, and cuts through red tape in the offices of Capitol Hill.
Third, Clarion intends to transcend some of the traditional right/left splits that divide society and the Church. God’s Spirit cannot be pigeonholed into any one political camp (whether left or right). We cannot assume which way the wind of the Spirit will blow, because God bows to no political or economic system. Nor are the old theological battle lines adequate—evangelical vs. liberal, evangelism vs. social gospel, etc. The either/or’s of these old debates have grown tiresome. Our contributors bring something fresh to the table. It’s high time for the recycling of rhetoric to give way to new thoughts on old problems. In any case, we’ll give it a shot.
Through this web site and our occasional print editions, we hope you will see the heart of faith and the hand of mercy acting in sync through a variety of issues and genres. As to whether we live up to the biblical standard of an authentic prophetic voice, we’ll let you judge for yourself. Like you, each of us—even those as seasoned as Dr. Tony Campolo or the Archbishop—is on a learning curve. We don’t claim to have arrived, but like Tolkien’s hobbits, we’ve dared, for better or for worse, to leave the safety of “the Shire.”
It’s a big world, and scarier than we’d imagined, but without apology, we’ve found and named Jesus Christ as our trustworthy Guide—not the bobble-head, user-friendly version many hold in contempt but the co-suffering Christ of the gospels whose Good Friday “stripes” verify that he’s already walked the path we’re pondering in these pages. He was and remains undaunted. Let’s see what that means... (From one of the editors of Clarion, Brad Jersak. Clarion is also edited by Ron Dart, Kevin Miller, and Derek Weiss.)