communal justice alliance

this is a new initiative in melbourne, acknowledging the fact that our justice system does little to rehabilitate or restore those who are imprisoned, and indeed those who are victims of their crimes.
we’re having a workshop on 22nd june at Sunshine Parish Mission (which is just around the corner from the Sunshine TAFE, for all you lovers of The Castle), exploring the themes of restorative justice.

i’m doing worship for the day. it’s going to be based around Isaiah 61:1-2
i’ve realised as i’ve started to think about this that i’m becoming less and less patient with metaphors in our faith. we use them so often to escape the current imperative. Isaiah 61 is not just a metaphor for times to come, and it’s not just a metaphor for those who are imprisoned by despair or fear or hopelessness… this is also about restoring the lives of those who have been imprisoned for their crimes, and those who have been imprisoned by the crimes perpetrated against them. restorative justice is asking how those two things can happen simultaneously.

The Spirit of the LORD God
has taken control of me!
The LORD has chosen and sent me
to tell the oppressed
the good news,
to heal the brokenhearted,
and to announce freedom
for prisoners and captives.

forgive me when i have loved this only as poetry,
when i have diluted it to metaphor,

forgive me when i have made its meaning fit what i know of the world,
rather than having the faith to demand this of the world…

for more information on the alliance and the workshop, contact hotham mission: