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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Jesus' justice agenda

His call was to embody the love of God

I am a man-child born to an oppressed people. Baptized a Lutheran at 7 years old, my family roots were planted in Pentecostalism. I came of age in the 1960s and 70s, watching, praying and participating in the movements for justice and self-expression that were the context of those times.

I answered a calling to theological training and the ordained ministry, and in the 1980s I began to develop a deeper understanding of who Jesus of Nazareth really was and who Jesus the Christ truly is in my reality.

Even while I was discovering that we experience Jesus in our own context, I was also learning that Jesus of Nazareth was a flesh-and-blood person—a man-child born to an oppressed people with family roots in Judaism. He came of age during tumultuous times in his own context and, no doubt, watched, prayed and participated in movements for justice and self-expression.

Jesus answered a call to embody the love of God with his life, death and resurrection. And he embarked on a ministry that continues to help people develop a deeper understanding of who God is and can be—no matter what our context.

This is not meant to compare myself with Jesus but to identify with him. We are all born into a particular context, fed by particular influences and led to see and say things in particular ways because of the shaping and perspectives we have received. Jesus of Nazareth was no different.


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