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Practical Justice: Living Off-Center in a Self-Centered World [Paperback]

Kevin Blue

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Balanced Yet Prophetic 16 Dec 2007
By Heather Zempel - Published on
Another home run in the new series of Likewise books from InterVarsity Press, Practical Justice introduces a balanced yet profoundly prophetic voice into the discussion of the role of the church and the role of the Christian to justice issues.

Kevin Blue, director of the Los Angeles Urban Project with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, states in the first chapter, "No one who encountered Jesus was able to just ignore him. All went away disturbed." Reading this book disturbed me to the point of actually pondering for a few short moments if I needed to stop being a pastor and go back to working on Capitol Hill in order to really advance the Kingdom of God in the world around me. Kevin speaks from lots of personal experience and years of thinking through these issues, and I find his voice to be a refreshing addition to the mix of personalities involved in these discussions. I especially like the three chapters that explored the idiom, "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime." Kevin demonstrates that both are necessary and gives practical advice for how individuals can participate in both steps of that process. More importantly, he includes a third vital component-- fixing the pond-- to address larger systems and structures that must be changed in order to make a more complete and permanent impact.

While Kevin seemed to slip in and out of teaching, encouraging, and preaching, in general, I enjoyed his tone and easy to read writing style. I feel like I know a bit about his heart and personality after reading this book. The chapter on race and class seems awkward in its placement in the book. And his advice that Christians should have no political leanings seems impractical and impossible for those of us in DC who worked (or a currently working) within places in government that have the power to fix the pond.

With the exception of those two minor things, I really enjoyed this book. Kevin is balanced in his approach and yet prophetic in his call to make a change in our generation. The practical steps he offers seem valuable to anyone at any point on their journey into understanding and working within justice and compassion issues. I also appreciate the value he places on making changes in our culture within the context of community and the chapter on not becoming what you hate.

Practical Justice propelled my thinking on this topic forward, and it gave me a new outreach idea for the community of groups that I lead. It would be a great book for a small group.
3.0 out of 5 stars Practical stories from the social-justice grassroots 14 Jun 2011
By Brandon Vogt - Published on
Kevin Blue has devoted his life to inner-city ministry in Los Angeles, and Practical Justice summarizes what he's learned. The book is raw; it doesn't gloss over the realities of this type of work. Kevin notes that he's been scammed multiple times and has also had his bike stolen. So, far from painting a pretty picture of justice-work, Blue honestly recounts the ups and downs, difficulties and joys of caring for the poor. He focuses primarily on urban poverty, racism, and class-struggles within America, but his concern and passion can be applied to many other justice issues.

Blue is a bit harsh at times in his critique of American suburbanism, and despite the title his book is not as practical as others in this genre. But beyond those shortcomings, Practical Justice offers a unique grassroots look at serving today's poor from someone actually in the trenches.
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent 4 Feb 2009
By Spudicus - Published on
I enjoyed the book a lot. As a freshman in college I started getting interested in this new Jesus that wants you to do stuff with your faith. This book was a great intro into the world of social justice. I found the suggestions offered throughout somewhat helpful, and at least a little challenging to me. There are lots of good quotes and ideas to be had, and I appreciate avoiding mere commentary and giving concrete ideas for directions to head.
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag 19 Sep 2007
By Hannah Rose Williams - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Make no mistake --- Practical Justice has a message that a lot of Westerners, especially Christians, should hear. Those who don't want to hear it may not like this book. Those who don't need to hear it, like me, agree with the message but find it rather repetitive. I get the impression that Blue's next book will be better.
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