Justice Requires Action: A Message from Executive Director Chris Purnell

Justice is ultimately made perfect or complete in the doing of things. Jesus talked about this when he said that the one who heard what he said and then actually put it into practice is like a wise person who built his house on solid ground.

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A Message from Executive Director Chris Purnell: The True Gift of the Season

There are times when I want the whole world to stop for just one second so that I can get my bearings. But change is ever-present, and the needs of the moment continue to batter my psyche. Whether I have relational stress because of getting together with family for the holidays, or financial stress because I’ve overextended myself, or environmental stress from living in a world that badgers me about the things I should care about during the holidays—our lives are made harder by media and people beckoning us to the shoals of dark distraction.

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Open Book With CCDA President Noel Castellanos

More and more Christians need to take responsibility by just being present to recognize that the disparity isn’t just God’s blessing. There is a lot of injustice that results in that. We need to think about, to really ask the question, what does it mean to be a great city? Or a great community? Does it mean certain people can make the city their playground or is it a place where everyone has an opportunity to participate and to be part of the rising tide of what’s going on economically?

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In His Image: A Message From Executive Director Chris Purnell

Where you come from can say a lot about you and what you care about. What you do for a living can be a helpful pointer to deeper things about you. But, as we know, this can go very dark very fast. Whenever we think that a person’s nationality, ethnicity, or some other category can sum them up in some simplistic way, we have veered off into some dangerous territory.

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Fight With Love: A Message From Executive Director Chris Purnell

Psalm 89:14 says “righteousness and justice are the foundation of [God’s] throne”—so far, so good. Nevertheless, the psalm goes on to say, “love and faithfulness go before you.” God is both just and loving, righteous and compassionate. And that is what he calls us to.

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Meet the Clinic’s New Board Members: Carol Hartman and John Gurchiek

Carol Hartman first learned about the Clinic after a fortuitous Internet search. “I was looking for a way to do some volunteer work that was faith-based,” she says. “I went on your website and clicked on a link to volunteer.” For years, she sought opportunities that would utilize her unique set of skills. “I’ve worked in the tax world since the beginning of my career both as a CPA and as a lawyer. And I was wondering how I could best use those experiences to advance the Kingdom.”

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Abide with the DACA Youth: A Message from Executive Director Chris Purnell

Even awful things are better with other people. Currently, many of our clients are worried about a future that looks uncertain and bleak. Our young immigrant neighbors who have been here since they were children and are wondering why they are now considered “illegal” have just lost some hope. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) provided many of our immigrant youth with the ability to get a driver’s license, a job, and to pay taxes.

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Remain in Him: A Message from Executive Director Chris Purnell

Chris Purnell

Chris Purnell

How are you feeling? If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably super-sleepy. A 2010 sleep survey analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that 30% of American workers are sleep-deprived. That number rockets up to 52% if you’re in the social assistance and health-care sectors.

Now, if that little trip down data-lane made you sleepy, don’t blame me. That’s your bad sleep habit rearing its ugly head.

Why are we so absurdly tired? That’s a question with a multiplicity of answers. We work the night shift. We checked a text before we went to sleep that made us antsy and perplexed. We have young kids who like to salute and then kiss the sunrise (Please, for the love of all things holy and good, go to sleep, sweet little ragamuffins.). We feel burdened at work. We watched a truly horrific-yet-beautiful episode of Game of Thrones and then entered an existential tailspin. The reasons go on.

For many of our clients at the Clinic, however, the weariness comes from being persecuted, from being dogged by very real enemies who want to destroy them. Like the two young South Sudanese men with whom I spoke last week and who now fear for their lives if they return home. They are normal eighteen-year olds. They like to play basketball, read, tell jokes—but they also have no idea where their families are, or if they’re even alive.

What struck me the most about these young men, though, was their faith. They trusted that God was walking with them each and every step of the way. They were connected to him—and they didn’t seem remotely wearied and bogged down. In fact, their delightful joi de vivre shined through with luster and vividness.

Which brings me to Jesus. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells his friends that they need to remain in him, connected to him, just as a branch must remain connected to a vine in order to bear fruit (John 15:4). Apart from Jesus, we cannot do anything—we get lost, feel hopeless, and get knocked off center. With Jesus, life begins to make sense—our purpose returns, our weak knees are strengthened, and life regains its center.  

Try this on for size. In his book An Unhurried Leader, Alan Fadling writes that we should take our to-do lists and write “with God” next to each item. “Go grocery shopping—with God.” “Talk to Bill about how he can’t microwave his broccoli and onion casserole in the public kitchen anymore—with God.” “Listen to your friend talk about her failing marriage—with God.” “Fill out your timesheets—with God.” This is one way to stay connected to the true vine, the vine who makes all of our endeavors, however grand or quotidian, become reality.

May you, as you face burdens at home, at work, and in your relationships, stay connected to Jesus. May you, tired and weary one, find the joy and beauty of life again as you do all that you have on your list—with God.

Until justice and peace embrace,

 

Chris

Abide - July

How Do We Love Thee? Let Us Count the Ways!

Happy Valentine's Day from Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic! This February, we're remembering all the reasons we love the Clinic, the work we do, our clients, volunteers, and supporters like YOU. Please enjoy this small sampling of why we're brimming over with love this Valentine's Day! And remember, just like it says in 1 John 4:19, "We love because He first loved us."

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