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Confronting the Elephants in the Room

May 8, 2024

Pursuing justice can be messy. When we see a need and want to respond, there are often challenges and hurdles in our way. What’s more, once we get started, sometimes things can go horribly wrong. That’s what season 8 of the Do Justice podcast is all about – exploring the difficult side of our justice journey and learning from those who have gone before us. 

The Do Justice podcast is an initiative of World Renew and the justice ministries of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. It is intended to be a conversation starter for people wishing to pursue justice in and through the church by exploring ideas and perspectives, sharing better ways to engage in justice work, reminding listeners of their motivation, and helping listeners grow in faith. 

This season of the podcast includes seven episodes with guests sharing stories related to mental health, housing, disability advocacy, refugee sponsorship, pastor burnout, and more. 

“We know the journey of justice is messy, full of pitfalls and roadblocks. And sometimes it feels like we’re all avoiding the question everyone is thinking,” said Chris Orme, the podcast host. “When it comes to justice, we can experience gaps between our convictions and the way we can live them out. This season’s podcast is all about naming those elephants in the room and having conversations about them.” 

What if becoming an accessible church is beyond our financial reach? What if we open our doors as a warming shelter, and our building is vandalized? What if we rent an apartment for a refugee family, and it takes their paperwork three years to come through? What if you are already tired in your ministry, and moving forward with an initiative feels like one thing too many? What if the people you help never even say thank-you? 

The Do Justice podcast explores what happens when guests are vulnerable enough to risk talking about these things and can admit the gaps that exist between their articulated values and the ones they live out.

“We know God uses our humble, jar-of-clay efforts – and when we run out of steam and turn to him, that is where God is most glorified,” Orme continued. “Sometimes these are stories of joy, and sometimes, lament. And sometimes the death of something can provide the opportunity for the creation of something new.” 

In the first episode of season 8, released Apr. 30, Orme interviewed Dan Veeneman and Marcel DeRegt of Gateway Community Church in Abbotsford, B.C., about the realities of operating an extreme-weather shelter for homeless people. 

“This type of ministry goes outside the box of what church ministries look like. You are dealing with people who overdose. You're administering Narcan. This past season we had one of our guests pass away in the shelter in our gym. We are dealing with drug paraphernalia on our property, continually,” said DeRegt about some of the challenges the church faces at their shelter. 

“It's a messy ministry when you look at the surface. But when you dig a little bit deeper, you see the grace of God. You see human depravity, and you see how the grace of God can just get in there and begin to change ever so slowly,” he added. 

Listen to the full podcast or subscribe to the series here or wherever you get your podcasts.