Book Review: The Justice Project

I recently received the book, The Justice Project, in order to read and review it.  The book boast an all-star cast of contributers from Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Peggy Camplolo, Rene Padilla, Lynne Hybels, Bart Campolo, and others.  There are also many contributors who I had not heard of, but was thankful for because they represented various ethnic backgrounds and locations.  This book is not just written my white, western men, but seeks to find more of a global approach to the idea of justice.

The book consist five sections (The God of Justice, The Book of Justice, Justice in the USA, A Just World, A Just Church) where each section consist of small chapters or articles on various topics that would fall under each category.  I appreciated that there was an attempt to view justice from both a liberal and conservative lens as well as creating space to challenge many presupposed ideas of justice for someone, like me, who grew up in a conservative, evangelical home/church.  There were several noteworthy chapters and thoughts throughout the book, but I will not go into detail here. 

My critique of the book is that no one topic gets fully fleshed out.  Yes, the entire book speaks of justice but so many of the chapters could have been turned into 2 or 3 chapters- or maybe even an entire book.  Just as you get your appetite whet for what the author is saying, the chapter ends.  In this way, there is little flow in the book from idea to idea other than the articles being grouped under one of the five sections.

I’ve been thinking about how I would use this book, other than personal reading/study.  In a group setting, it might be more useful to pull an article around a topic rather than trying to read the entire book.  It could also be used for study around the five sections and talk about the ways in which the articles work in the sections.

Overall, I thought this was a good effort by McLaren and company, even if it fell short of my expectations.  Regardless, the Church must continue to wrestle everyday with what it means to “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.” 

About Steve LaMotte

Husband of Andrea and father of four amazing children. Pastor at Avenue United Methodist Church in Milford, Delaware.
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