More than a few of us went to sleep in a bed of complacency during the Obama years. Now it’s time to wake up. And Praying for Justice is just the book to help us survive that rude awakening, pull on our big-kid pants, and get moving.
By Ellen Michaud
Written by George Fox University faculty members Anderson Campbell and Steve Sherwood, Praying for Justice came to life three days after the 2016 Presidential election when Steve Sherwood was “glumly” riding an exercise bike as he contemplated the future for those who are poor and those who would be marginalized under a Trump presidency—“people of color, undocumented immigrants, victims of sexual assault or harassment, Syrian refugees, the unborn, and LGTBQI.”
Just ranting on social media about the abuse these people were about to have visited upon them if Trump fulfilled his campaign promises wouldn’t do much, Steve realized. So he decided he’d post a verse of Scripture and some meaningful quotes once a day for the four years in which Trump would hold power—with each verse or quote focused on social justice and God’s constant concern for those who were suffering. He would not let those who were vulnerable, and our obligations to them as a people of faith, slip from our awareness.
Arriving a short time later at work, Steve ran into fellow faculty member Anderson
Campbell and shared the idea. It didn’t take long for the two to realize that the project would entail a good bit of work, and that more than just Steve’s social media friends might want to read what was written. So the two guys joined forces and posted a simple invitation on Facebook for others to join them.
Within a couple of hours, several hundred enthusiastic people had signed on, and the project had evolved into a book—a lectionary of daily readings that would open with a quote from the late Salvadorian activist priest Oscar A. Romero. The lectionary would begin with a verse of Scripture on day one of the Trump presidency, continue for four years, and end with a verse on Trump’s last day.
Three weeks later, 1,400 Scripture verses and over 200 quotations from theologians and ministry practitioners had been gathered, organized, checked, rechecked, and were on their way to the book’s printer, Barclay Press. In what is no small feat in the publishing world, the book was ready by Inauguration Day.
Despite its serious intent to draw our attention to those who are most vulnerable and ask ourselves on a daily basis what we’re doing about their situation, Praying for Justice is not without humor. The entry for the last day of the Trump presidency, Tuesday, January 19, is a quote from Jeremiah 15:21 (NASB):
…I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and
I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.”
Net proceeds of Praying for Justice will go to Church World Service to help resettle refugees and advocate for immigrant and refugee rights in the United States.
Praying for Justice: A Lectionary of Christian Concern (Barclay Press, 2017) by Anderson Campbell and Steve Sherwood with Paula Hampton