Notes and tweets from the 2014 US Justice Conference

Christians’ involvement in their local communities was a focus of The US Justice Conference, held February 21st and 22nd in Los Angeles and four satellite locations including Portland’s Multnomah University. As a partner conference, the Portland event featured a pre-conference with speakers and exhibits plus a live feed of the speakers from the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.

Ken Wytsma (@kjwytsma), President of Kilns College of Theology and Mission in Bend, Oregon and founder of the Justice Conference, kicked off the central theme for the conference: “The Voice of Justice”, amplifying the admonitions of Proverbs 30 on behalf of those who have no voice. “Our moral vocabulary in the church has changed,” said Wystma. “Pop culture changes, deep culture doesn’t and we need deep conversation about things that matter to God. With social media, we trade only conclusions back and forth, which is not a conversation as to how these conclusion were reached.”

Portland’s Justice Conference emcee was Tony Kriz (@TonyKriz), whose areas of concern are faith, culture, church plants and justice. Kriz ensured that Wytsma’s call to deep conversation brought a sense of purpose and collaboration to the 300 local attendees and exhibitors. “No one at the Justice Conference will be lonely,” said Kriz, “as we ask and try to understand the expectations that bind us all together.” Kriz’s warmth and spirit of discovery made the local conference a success. (Here's a link to Weston Ruter’s background essay on Tony Kriz.)

N.T. Wright (@profntwright), speaking from St. Andrews in the UK, declared that, “Justice is anchored in both Creation and New Creation, and that from the Psalms, God is coming to judge the world (Psa. 96-98) and put it all right. There is a royal agenda to care for the lowly (Psa.72).”

Donald Miller (@donaldmiller), author of Blue Like Jazz and founder of The Mentoring Project, encouraged “taking a redemptive perspective to suffering,” a process of redeeming one’s negatives, an idea Miller attributed to Dr. Viktor Frankl. “Most people try to avoid suffering, but those that accept it as a reality and seek to redeem it live a more meaningful, impactful life,” leading each of us to a “new paradigm” where we will feel as if we have been given “an authority to do incredibly beautiful things.”

Portland’s Rick McKinley (@ImagoDeipdx) of Imago Dei Community spoke from Los Angeles about how Christians are compelled to move out into the world in a ministry of reconciliation. “Such a unity, while an art form in Portland, is a necessity to sustain Justice over a long period of time.”

Other national speakers included Bernice King (@BerniceKing), youngest daughter of the late Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Eugene Cho (@eugenecho), founder of One Day’s Wages and lead pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, Bethany Hoang (@bethanyhoang) Director, Institute for Biblical Justice, Jim Wallis (@jimwallis), founder and president of Sojourners, Justin Dillon (@justindillon), artist entrepreneur and founder of Made in a Free World and Lynne Hybels (@lynnehybels), author and co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church.

Portland pre-conference seminars discussed the concerns of homeless children and youth, justice in immigration processes, spiritual formation and growth of multi-cultural church communities, leadership diversity in Christian worship, well-being strategies for the disabled, foster care and adoption programs, Native American justice issues, church plants and church cooperatives reaching all neighbors, women in adult justice ministries, help for victims of sex trafficking and sexually assaulted youth, and bearing witness to Christ within contemporary culture.

Next steps include our joint understanding on how to proceed: (1) How to focus the narrative or dialogue as to these national justice issues so that individual lay men and woman know to participate. (2) Assuming the conference participants were, for the most part, church members; How then does the justice content of these National Conference speakers as well as the practices highlighted by pre-conference seminars become (if not already), integrated into local church programs and processes. The Messiah Scrolls Project was an exhibitor to the Portland site of this National Conference. This Project's contribution to this narrative or dialogue development is the Messiah Scrolls online, first century church origins study, including formation of original justice issues to arise in a church setting, hosted on this web site.

In April 2014, The Messiah Scrolls Project will release a study pertaining to Leadership by the Evangelical Mega-Church and its authority to concentrate and expand fulfillment of the Great Commission as Christ commanded: growing disciples, implementing discipleship, achieving spiritual formation, establishing healthy mental/physical lifestyles and fostering missional justice programs, locally and internationally. Email to the if you would like an advance copy of this study.


Don Chatelain, Director of The Messiah Scrolls Project (


The National Justice Conference speakers' Twitter account names are included in the article above as well as within Messiah Scrolls' Tweets from the conference below; so you can, if you wish, "follow" them:

‏@MessiahScrolls Feb 25
#Justice #Portland Thx 4 a gr8 Conference To New Wine @nwnws @MultnomahU & To our Emcee @TonyKriz sharpening R event focus #justicepdx2014

‏@MessiahScrolls Feb 22
@EugeneCho at #JusticePDX2014 Don't #separate #Gospel from #work of #Justice, which reflects #Heart & #Character of God #ChristCulture #pdx

‏@MessiahScrolls Feb 22
@justindillon at #justicePDX2014 #Conference = #Justice not a #science but an #art #form but need #embrace ur #vulnerability 2 #others #pdx

‏@MessiahScrolls Feb 22
#Churches confront #sexualviolence 1/31/14 #USAToday @TKrattenmaker attending #JusticePDX2014 #ChristCulture #pdx

‏@MessiahScrolls Feb 22
Good am from #JusticePDX2014 #BethanyHoang: #Justice begins in #Heart of God & is #core of #Gospel:#nyt #dbw #pdx #millennial #ChristCulture

‏@MessiahScrolls Feb 21
From #Justice Conference @ #MultnomahU #MessiahScrolls interviewed 4 pm today on PulseofPortland KKPZ1330 am #justicePDX2014 #pdx #Portland

‏@MessiahScrolls Feb 20
#ReinholdNiebuhr: #Moral #individuals R driven 2 #work 4 #socialjustice #Evangelical? Lost R moral edge? #justicePDX2014 #ChristCulture #pdx

‏@MessiahScrolls Feb 20
#Justice #Conference starts 2morrow @ #MultnomahU in #Portland OR #MessiahScrolls = #exhibitor Will #tweet #updates 2 U #justicePDX2014 #pdx