The Office of Social Justice has released the first of a new series of podcasts, featuring interviews with a range of people who work to bring about justice in various ways to people in the church and to those around them.
In the first episode, Kate Kooyman, host of the first season of the Do Justice podcast, explains why OSJ has put together this series and provides an overview of what she hopes listeners will take away from the podcasts, which will air on Tuesdays through July and August.
“I’ve realized how important it is in today’s world that we, as Christians, … open our hearts, lives, and minds to get the perspective of people we don’t really hear from,” said Kooyman, who is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America and has worked as an education team leader for OSJ.
As people seeking to walk in the footsteps of Christ, she said, we must broaden our perspectives, especially on the issue of race, and these podcasts can help to do this.
“We ought to have ears to listen to the perspectives of people we don’t always hear from,” said Kooyman.
If we want to know more about the effects of such topics as racism, we need to battle the racism in our hearts and minds by taking intentional steps “to encounter people who are other” than we are said Kooyman.
“We tend to surround ourselves with people who think like we do. When we do this, it can shrink our idea of who God is.”
The new podcast, she added, offers a chance to listen “to critically important voices of those who show advocacy and resilience in the face of injustice.”
In helping to create the podcast series, Kooyman said, was able to learn more about the lives of people battling racism, as well as people advocating to rise up and address such issues as climate change.
"Speaking with so many inspiring voices in the Christian justice world has been such a privilege. I hope our conversations are as meaningful to listen to as they were to create."
The series of podcasts includes the following:
Episode 1 features Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and coauthor of the book Faith Rooted Organizing. Salvatierra currently serves as a consultant (training, facilitating, organizing, and leading strategic planning) for a variety of national/international organizations, including World Vision USA/World Vision International/Women of Vision, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and the Christian Community Development Association.
Episode 2 features Sandra Maria VanOpstal, executive director and cofounder of Chasing Justice. She is the preaching pastor at Grace and Peace Church in Chicago. The author of multiple books, VanOpstal is an adjunct faculty member at North Park University. She is a sought-after speaker and activist, whose passion for people living on the margins is easily felt by those who hear her speak.
Episodes 3 and 4 focus on J.J. TenClay, who spent four years in Italy as a missionary for the Reformed Church in America, working with migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. TenClay returned to the United States in July 2018 and is now the Refugee Ministries Coordinator for RCA Global Missions. She said she is thankful to have seen the image of God reflected so diversely in the faces of people to whom—and with whom—she served abroad.
Episode 5 features Steve Mulder, field coordinator for the CRCNA’s Climate Witness Project, and Anneke Spoelman, Steve’s 15-year-old grand-daughter, who attends the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Public Museum High School. Spoelman and Mulder were part of a delegation sent by the CRCNA to Kenya and Uganda to meet with World Renew personnel and the subsistence farmers they support.
To listen to the podcasts, go to https://anchor.fm/do-justice.