In Peter's most recent trip down to Tegucigalpa, Honduras working with the organization AJS (Association for a More Just Society) Jamie Mcintosh shared a reflection on the call to justice for ASJ and beyond. Jamie is a member of the AJS Canada Board- Peter wanted to share this vision with a broader audience so we are posting it here!
Taking on entrenched injustice, abuse, violence, inequity and corruption requires deeper resources of faith, courage, sacrifice, wisdom, discernment, and endurance than most people would ever imagine, and more then any of us possesses on our own. We need the Lord's promise, His presence, and His provision. He gives all of these generously to those who seek fervently and first his kingdom, his justice, and his righteousness. He provides faith through hearing of his Word -- the very Word which spun this planet into orbit, and the very Word who became flesh to dwell among us, that we might behold his glory full of grace and truth. And after the Word became broken bread and poured out wine, he breathed upon us the power of the Holy Spirit, to lead us into all truth, to endue us with power, and to accompany us as we work the works of Him who sent us, while it is yet day.
We are possessed of a vision of a sociedad mas justa. A more just society. Lions laying with lambs. Children uplifted. Women and men protected and free to live lives of god breathed purpose and dignity. Of a Wolterstorff-ian rendition of "full human flourishing" in Honduras.
While ultimate victory is assured in eternal terms, on earth it may not end well for us. We may not meet with temporal success but with delay, denial, even devastation. We are triumphant, but not triumphalistic. Truly we may only be witnesses to injustice and bloodied signs that God is grievously offended by the oppression of His vulnerable poor, and that He remains gravely opposed to the schemes of those that would steal, kill and destroy. We may from time to time by His mercy catch and reflect glimpses of God's glory glimmering off the shards of our frail work, as we herald, beckon and bleed for His kingdom's advance.
Regardless of the outcome, we are called to engage, to love, to serve. In the ancient prophetic articulation through Isaiah, we are compelled to "Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan and plead for the widow." We are those possessed of a vision of another City, one in which the rights of the poor are respected, the faces of the abused are transfigured, the outcast are embraced, the downcast uplifted, and the resplendent dignity of the exploited is vibrantly restored.
We do not do this because of who we are. With the insight of Holy Scripture and the testimony of those who have gone before us, we recognize ourselves as "chiefs of sinners," and if left to our own devices destined to be charlatans and thieves, deserving of severities of justice for our sins yet find ourselves worshiping humbly before the wounded one who's disfigurement and splaying on the cross alone has made full atonement for our sin.
We need to recall Martin Luther King's call to self-purification even daily as well seek to administer a justice of which we ourselves are unworthy. Like Mahatma Gandhi's dictum "Our means must be as pure as the ends we seek." Even more deeply for us, we ourselves must be cleansed daily so we are purified for this work of grace. Honest and authentic humility reminds that we celebrate our status as broken, earthen vessels considered by God's grace faithful to be entrusted with conveying surpassing treasure to a world in desperate need.
We would also do well to glean from the insight of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who while under the torment of his captors in the Soviet Gulag, had the discomforting revelation that "the demarcation line between good and evil doesn't run between men and nations; it runs down the center of every human heart." This should not lead us to despair, for along with the slave ship captain turned abolitionist John Newton, we are as assured of two blazing truths: "That we are great sinners, and that Christ is a great Savior".
Looking forward to the City of God toward which we journey as fellow companions, we are mindful that some of the "great cloud of witnesses" met with astounding triumphs and tremendous advances of justice and peace, while others -- of whom we are told this world is not worthy -- met with persecution, devastation, loss and torture and martyrdom. This calls to mind the great sacrifice of those recently attacked and targeted for their defense of justice and pursuit of a better world (Sr. Dionisio and others more recently). Blessed are they who encountered this persecution in the service of "the least of these," for they have borne these things in the service of Christ himself.
What vision were they serving that would lead them to put their lives on the line? To risk all? Is the vision worthy of so great a sacrifice, service so sublime?
We have a dream -- each one of us envisions it uniquely, but several threads are common in the tapestry of justice. (Share strands of this vision and invite a few others to share their dream for a more just society.)
While it is right to envision and strive for the kingdom's fullness, even taught by our Savior to pray and to labor for the kingdom's advance and the reign of Christ to be realized on Earth as it is in Heaven --not in an age to come alone but even here and now. We do not know whether it is given to us to enter the land of promise, or but to ascend the mountaintop to see the glory in the valleys below, like Moses and Martin Luther King.
At times, our thoughts may echo those of Archbishop Desmond Tutu who lived through so much of the inhumanity of Apartheid, the ravages of HIV/Aids, and the crushing violence and poverty still afflicting his homeland of South Africa when he said: "Sometimes you just want to whisper in God's ear: 'We know you are in charge, but can't you make it a little more obvious?'"
Indeed, we take our place alongside the persistent widow who kept pestering the unjust judge with her just claims. We accompany the prostitute who in Solomon's court pled for her baby's life to be spared even if it meant allowing her adversary to raise the little one. We move from complicity with injustice to become its adversary, even like Moses moving from the privileges of life in the court of Pharaoh to side with the enslaved Hebrew people, crying for their liberation, or as Bartolome de las Casas who went from living off the avails of indigenous slavery through his encomienda in the Island of Hispaniola, to spending three decades of his life contending against it becoming known in the language of the times as "the defender of the Indians".
And we do this mindful that we are "ministers, not Messiahs." In the bright shadow of the martyred Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, we recall that we serve as "prophets of a future not our own."
So let us arise and build this City, knowing that its foundation is ancient, its Cornerstone eternal, and that we in God's loving hands are being fitted together as living stones in its walls within which the vulnerable can find heaven's own shelter, the refugee protection, peace, dignity, embrace, honor and joy.
So we have gathered together to advance this kingdom as servants of the most high, and servants of and alongside those cast low. This is our sacred honor and high privilege. May heaven help us. Solo Deo Gloria.
follow Jamie on twitter @jamiemcintosh
- Nov 11 2016 Illiana High School Groundbreaking
We celebrated on a gorgeous day, alongside our friends at Illiana Christian School, as they broke ground on their new campus! We are honored to be a part of this exciting project and look forward to continue working together!
- Oct 26 2016 Peter is featured on the GR Business Journal!
Peter Baldwin, president of AMDG, was recently featured on the Grand Rapids Business Journal! Follow the link to find out what inspired him to become an architect! View Site
- Jul 15 2016 Michael Jen returns to AMDG!
We are so excited to welcome Michael Jen back to AMDG! Michael is an AMDG alum, having interned prior and during his high school years. After graduating from high school, Michael went on to study at the University of Michigan to earn his Bachelor’s degree in architecture and later earned his Master’s degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Michael loves buildings, but more importantly, he loves the relationships that buildings facilitate. Whether between the people designing, constructing or living in them, Michael enjoys building relationships through architecture. Outside of the office, Michael loves a good book, sports, and is a bit of a traveler, having been to five continents and worked in buildings and publications in six! Welcome back to AMDG Michael! Go to page
- Jun 6 2016 Richard Jaeger joins the AMDG team!
We are excited to introduce a new member to our AMDG family! Richard Jaeger, a native of southern California and graduate of California State University, Long Beach, joins us as a Senior Architect with 20 years of experience in commercial, municipal, higher education, retail and residential architecture. He has a passion to create beautiful and functional architecture to make a positive influence in people's lives. Apart from his strong design and technical skills on the field, Richard also enjoys playing his guitar, recording music and taking on small remodeling projects around his house. We are glad to have you Richard and we look forward to your time at AMDG!
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- Mar 29 2016 John Whitten joins the AMDG team!
We are happy to introduce John Whitten as a new member of the AMDG team!
John is a graduate of the School of Architecture at Montana State University with a Masters in Architecture. He joins the team as a Senior Designer with a diverse portfolio of work ranging from education, commercial, and athletic facilities. His passion for design lies in public spaces focusing on human centered design with special attention given to accessibility. When he’s not on the drawing board, John enjoys spending time with his family sailing, skiing, and volunteering.”
Welcome John! Go to page
Timothy Christian has approved the building of a new junior high school and athletics arena to be completed in 2017. The new project was approved by the Board of Education unanimously, maintaining that the project continues their promise of providing their students with "the best learning environments possible and improving [their] athletic programs." We are excited to be a part of this process and look forward to the work ahead!
- Nov 5 2015 Celebrating Start Garden
It is always exciting to collaborate with a great client and team on a challenging project. For us it is truly rewarding to see Start Garden growing start ups within the new space and all it offers. In celebration of this project, we would like to thank Start Garden for the opportunity to collaborate with the Start Garden team, Lorenz & Company, Triangle Associates, and the rest of the team on such a remarkable project! Check it out!
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Out of 279 nominations, Amanda Winn, among 39 other individuals, was recognized by the Grand Rapids Business Journal's Forty under 40 for her work on the Children's Healing Center. We continue to be amazed by her accomplishments and couldn't be more proud! To see her full profile, follow the link below!
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- Oct 5 2015 Beckham is home!
The entire AMDG team is celebrating Beckham's being home and having reached the ripe old age of his original due date! Go to page