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Sermons on Restorative Justice

Sermons and public reflections on restorative justice and faith.

Ruth-Heffelbower, Duane. No stumbling blocks to reconciliation
At the time of this sermon, Americans Duane Ruth-Heffelbower and his wife were teaching in Indonesia. In the sermon Duane Ruth-Heffelbower explores the ministry of reconciliation and challenges or stumbling blocks to reconciliation through an examination of this passage from one of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians- 2 Corinthians 5:17-6:10. He discusses the meaning of reconciliation from a theological foundation, actions and attitudes that impede reconciliation, and principles and actions that foster reconciliation.
Thorburn, Stan. The Ministry of Reconciliation.
Judge Stan Thorburn offers this sermon on relationships and the importance of reconciliation.
Payot, Jean-Pierre. Fécondité de la violence ou quand la parole de Dieu s’en mêle
Voici la méditation proposée par Jean-Pierre Payot aux aumôniers lors de leur rencontre à Rennes les 2 et 3 octobre 2003. Elle se présente sous la forme de ces notes très riches qui constituent une base solide sur laquelle nous pouvons fonder notre méditation et poursuivre une réflexion théologique. (extrait) (excerpt)
Booth, Cherie. Lent Talks: Cherie Booth.
I've been sitting as a part time judge for ten years now and for me the most difficult part of the process is the sentencing. The defendant faces me from the dock while I explain to him (and it is usually a him) why he's going to jail. He may listen carefully but I often wonder whether he feels any remorse for his crime or has any idea of the effect he's had upon his victims. This impression has been reinforced when I've visited prisons and spoken to inmates. It seems that neither the court process nor the prison experience is helping them confront their behaviour or its consequences. And, of course, we must never forget the victims of the crime. Too often they sit in the public gallery - feeling marginal to the case, even bemused by what's happening. They're often denied the opportunity to confront the defendant directly with what he's done, nor given the chance, where he's genuinely sorry, to receive a personal apology. All this can make it harder for them to achieve the closure they need - no matter how severe the sentence. And it's right and proper that tough sentences are handed down in court for serious crimes or persistent offenders. Imprisonment shows society's disgust at their actions and helps protect the public by keeping criminals off the streets. But it's clear that simply locking people up doesn't itself alter their long-term behaviour. In too many cases, it only shelves the problem. (excerpt)
Stassen, Glen H.. Living the Sermon on the Mount: A Practical Hope for Grace and Deliverance.
In Living the Sermon on the Mount, theologian and award-winning author Glen H. Stassen helps us to see that the revolutionary ideas in the sermon on the Mount about loving and caring for each other, living in peace, and acting justly are not unattainable ideals but a recipe for wholeness and healing in our human relationships and deliverance from the vicious cycles that we get stuck in. (publisher's description)
Humphrey, Jack. Sample sermon focusing on restorative justice.
Howard Zehr, in his "Little Book of Restorative Justice" says, "The field of restorative justice has grown so rapidly and in so many directions that it is sometimes difficult to know how to move into the future with integrity and creativity. Only a clear vision of principle and goals can provide the compass we need as we find our way along a path that is inevitably winding and unclear." As Christian congregations who may have concern for these issues and a desire for involvement in the process, are there guidelines from Scripture, and especially from today's readings [Isaiah 65:17-25; 2 Thessalonians 3: 6-13; and Luke 21:5-19] to help us to discover a God directed focus? (excerpt)
Bulmer, Garth. Restorative Justice: A Reflection of the Reign of Christ
In this sermon, the Reverend Canon Garth Bulmer reflects on restorative justice and Restorative Justice Week, beginning with his own experience as a prison chaplain as a young man. That experience changed his life and shaped his ministry. Thus he considers in brief the nature of restorative justice; issues and problems related to the use of incarceration; restorative justice and liberty, equality, and fraternity; circles of support and accountability; and restorative justice as a contemporary model of the reign of Christ.
Berzins, Lorraine. 'Criminal justice': What does it mean for a people who believe they are called to overcome evil with love?
Speaking at a Restorative Justice Week gathering in Canada, Lorraine Berzins explores what it means for Christians to respond to evil in love in view of the hard realities of crime. As she says, we want a compassionate and merciful justice for ourselves when we do wrong, but we often want a swift and strict justice for others when they do wrong, especially when they do wrong to us. The criminal justice system reflects and expresses this latter sense of justice, a retributive justice applied to people construed as different from us. Yet Berzins questions this retributive approach to justice and crime. She argues that our way of doing justice needs healing. She relates her own experiences as a social worker and minister in prisons to explain and illustrate the changes in her perspectives, and she weaves into all of this what it means to love those who do us wrong as God loves them and us.
Harvey, Kay. Today, many sermons will have the same theme: criminal justice
A report on Criminal Justice Sunday, declared to be October 13, and the activism of faith communities involved with restorative justice.
Turner, Martin. David -- Restored at a Cost.
This sermon uses 2 Samuel 12:1-25 to discuss the consequences of harmful actions and the difficulties of restoration.
Van Ness, Daniel W. Today salvation has come
In December 2001, Daniel Van Ness preached a sermon at Wesley Church in Perth, Australia. The text was Luke 19:1-10, in which is recounted the encounter between Jesus and Zacchaeus, a Jewish tax collector in Israel for the Romans. As a tax collector, Zacchaeus was almost certainly corrupt and despised by his own people as a collaborator with the Roman occupiers. Yet Jesus befriended Zacchaeus and enabled him to repent and to change xe2x80x93 a transformation that led to Zacchaeusxe2x80x99 paying restitution and to restoration of community peace. Van Ness then describes Prison Fellowship Internationalxe2x80x99s Sycamore Tree Project. It is a project based on this New Testament story. In this project xe2x80x93 which involves a prepared curriculum that reviews biblical teaching on crime, confession, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, and reconciliation xe2x80x93 offenders meet and listen to victims of crime to understand the effects of crime.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. A pastoral message: Living with faith and hope after September 11.
The terrorist attacks of September 11 against targets in the United States led the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to issue a pastoral letter on November 14, 2001, to assist members of the Catholic Church and others in understanding and responding to those events. Employing theology, Scripture, ethical principles, and pastoral care, they examine issues such as the following: religious elements in those attacks; legitimacy in using military force to respond to the attacks; and the pursuit of justice and peace, especially after September 11. An appendix includes excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the bishops’ earlier statement, The Harvest of Justice Is Sown in Peace, to outline the Catholic Church’s moral tradition concerning war and peace.
McElrea, FWM. A Christian Approach to Conflict Resolution
In this paper, McElrea considers restorative justice as a New Testament or Christian approach to conflict resolution.
Davis, Fania. Ghandi's Justice and Restorative Justice
Remarks Delivered At The 10th Annual Howard Thurman Convocation. Church of the Fellowship of All Peoples 2041 Larking Street,San Francisco, California 94109. October 16, 2005
Van Ness, Daniel. Forgiveness. Good Friday Meditation.
In this Good Friday meditation, Daniel Van Ness reflects on forgiveness, love, and restorative justice.
Van Ness, Daniel. Today salvation has come
In December 2001, Daniel Van Ness preached a sermon at Wesley Church in Perth, Australia. The text was Luke 19:1-10, in which is recounted the encounter between Jesus and Zacchaeus, a Jewish tax collector in Israel for the Romans. As a tax collector, Zacchaeus was almost certainly corrupt and despised by his own people as a collaborator with the Roman occupiers.
Thorburn, Stan. The Ministry of Reconciliation
Judge Stan Thorburn offers this sermon on relationships and the importance of reconciliation.

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