I did not attend Justice Conference 2017 last month at Willow Creek Community Church, but I am grateful that the Justice Conference facebook page has begun to post messages from the event.
According the web, "Jeremy Courtney is cofounder and executive director of the Preemptive Love Coalition (PLC), an international development organization based in Iraq that provides lifesaving heart surgeries to Iraqi children and trains local doctors and nurses. Jeremy resides in Iraq with his wife, two children, and an indespensable team of dear friends." He is author of Preemptive Love: Pursuing Peace One Heart at a Time.
"I want to start by acknowledging that I'm standing here on stolen ground....we don't do that in America....we don't acknowledge our first nations, our friends who have been here before us."
"It's easy to sing songs about lifting high the name of Jesus...I find it interesting that we don't spend a lot of time lifting up the way of Jesus."
"What if we could flip the script on this whole thing and what if we could dare to be a people who would love first and ask questions later?"
"What if there is something bigger, and better, and more important than trying not to be carried by six friends to your grave. What if instead of trying to just stay alive, we could figure out how to truly live?"
"Could we dare to be a people of preemptive love? Could we love first and ask questions later?"
"The simplicity of some of our mantras, and mottos, and quips, and ideas they get a lot more complex and a lot more nuanced when you're actually living it and you're not just doing some arm chair pontification about it."
"This idea of ask questions later got us here but it wasn't going to get us there. We actually knew the questions by this point. The questions came at us hard. We had to figure out how we were going to live this next chapter. We had come to the conclusion that the world is scary as it's ever been, what would we do about it?"
"When the world is scary as hell, we're going to redouble our commitment to be a people who love anyway."
"When we only lift up the name of Jesus and we don't lift up the way of Jesus, we can get the impression that somehow things are just supposed to be comfortable, things are just supposed to be nice, things are supposed to be easy. And this love anyway mantra has become the thing that we need as a community to get us through some of the hardest things that have ever been thrown at us."
"As the bombs are falling, could we love anyway?"
"And they kidnap your friend, can we love anyway?"
"You will see soldiers pointing their guns at you. Do not be afraid. They are people too,"
"Police officers, you may see people pointing their guns at you. Do not be afraid. They are people too,"
"We will see people on trains and buses, who are wearing different clothes and speaking different languages. We need not be afraid, they are people too."
"Somewhere between 'be safe' and 'have no fear' is where most of us live....bring your fear to the table. We can be afraid. And don't let anyone shame you for your fear. But try to figure out how to rise above the fear.... The only way to ever get above the fear is actually to press through the fear. You have to go closer to the thing that scares you most. You have to go closer to the bombs and the bullets. You have to go closer to the people that would hurt you and hate you. You have to dare to draw near to each other to understand each other. To feel each others' pain, to hear each others' stories, to hear each others' perspective. To love anyway in the face of the things that scare us most is the thing that refines us and pushes us through to the other side."
"You can still love anyway. You can still press into the confusion. You can still press into the things that are not working for you. You can still press into the things that are not yet made whole. And love anyway. It's only by pushing through it that we're ever going to find a way above it. And on the other side of fear, on the other side of the things that scare us most, is the most beautiful world our hearts know is possible."