everyday justice

October 9, 2009

In the introduction to Everyday Justice, Julie Clawson states her wish that this book didn’t need to written. But, it did need to be written. And though I asked to review this book for IVP, I wished I didn’t have to read it. But I needed to read it.

As our world is more connected than ever before, we are more aware than ever of what is happening around the globe. And with this knowledge and awareness comes a growing responsibility for how even the small choices we make have a large collective impact on every continent. I’ve heard a lot in recent years about this in various conferences, browsing blogs, or reading a sign in a store about Fair Trade.

In Everyday Justice, Julie has researched how our North American lifestyles create injustice for others. Each chapter focus on something that we consume or interact with almost every day: coffee, chocolate, cars, food, clothes, waste, and debt. She reveals the injustices that are connected to each of these, an argument for why each of these should matter to Christians, and offers thoughtful responses on how we can make responsible choices about each of them. As you might expect, the information in the book is both troubling and helpful.

On a personal note, I can add that Julie is a friend. She and her family live within a few miles of us and we’ve been to each other’s home for meals and birthday parties. Julie is interested and passionate about rearranging her life for these issues, but she uses what she has learned not to critique others, but to invite them to respond with her. This tone comes through in her writing — Julie writes as one who struggles with all of this as well. In spite of the stories and stats, it is no small task to rearrange our lives around these issues.

This isn’t a timeless book…I’d like to hope that much of it will be irrelevant in ten years or less. But it is a timely book that has pulled together several larger topics into a helpful and concise introduction. It’s a book that needs to be widely read. But most important, it’a a book that needs to be widely responded to.

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