Listening Space: An authentic conversation on race, tragedy, and healing

As I sat across the table from my friend Caron, each of us nursed a coffee, hers a dark roast, mine a cold brew. And we talked about pain and hope. Pain at recent tragedies affecting the nation – the fatal police shootings of young African-American men that seem to recur with startling regularity, spurring a racial divide that our current politics only seems to widen. But also hope in what Dr. King called “the American dream” – not material prosperity, but the essential promise of equality, freedom, and justice for each and every person in this country.

My friend at the table was Rev. Dr. Caron M. Allen. As we talked quietly in a coffee shop in downtown Colorado Springs a few weeks ago, my heart quickened at the unusual authenticity of this conversation: a thirtysomething white guy and a sixtysomething African-American woman talking honestly, face to face, about race, tragedy, reconciliation, and healing.

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Radical Christian legal theory, Part 2: Justice for the poor

Thinking about law through a Christian lens means focusing on the poor. “[The Lord] has sent me to preach good news to the poor,” Jesus declares in Luke’s Gospel:

to proclaim release to the prisoners
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to liberate the oppressed,
and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

(Luke 4:18-19) These words not only launched Jesus’s ministry. They defined his mission. The poor, the oppressed, the stranger, and the outcast – the “least of these” (Matt. 25:40) – were closest to Jesus’s heart precisely because they were at the margins of society.

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Radical Christian legal theory, Part 1: Law, Gospel, and foolishness

It’s not often one can say a law review article affected them profoundly. But for me, that’s true of Christian Legal Theory” by the late Harvard scholar William Stuntz.

This post is the first in a series on Stuntz’s article. My goal: to illuminate Stuntz’s ideas for a broader audience, to shed some light on the question that Stuntz poses in his opening sentence: “Why should anyone think about law in Christian terms?

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