March 14, 2015 Editor

Spirituality Evaluation of Restorative Justice

Sixth International Conference on Restorative Justice, “Best Practices in Restorative Justice”, June 4, 2003

WN: I attended and presented at a few such Conferences over the years, especially in the years I worked for Mennonite Central Committee (MCCC): 1989 to 1998.

an excerpt:

I thought I’d look at a Christian Spirituality of Restorative Justice through the recent publication of a book that directly addresses this issue.

Beyond Retribution: A New Testament Vision for Justice, Crime, and Punishment ([Christopher] Marshall, [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans] 2001) is a stirring instance of rereading the Judeo-Christian founding texts to provide a basis, not for continued scapegoating violence in the Western secular state (which still has intact many trappings of a bygone religious era!4 [In Scapegoats, the Bible, and Criminal Justice: Interacting with René Girard ([Akron: MCC U.S. Office of Criminal Justice/MCC Canada Victim Offender Ministries.] 1993), Vern Redekop asks: “Is it possible that what we call a criminal justice system is really a scapegoat mechanism?” His response is: “In a secular democratic society, nothing is as sacred as the law code and the justice system which enforces it. The buildings in which laws are made are the most elaborate and the courts in which decisions are made about points of law are the most stately. Formality, uniforms, and respect surround the agents of law.” He concludes: “It is possible to think of the criminal justice system as one gigantic scapegoat mechanism for society (pp. 1, 16, and 33).”, and illustrates convincingly.]), but for a profound redirection of traditional interpretation of those texts away from violence, “beyond retribution”, towards, biblically, shalom, reconciliation and forgiveness.5 [A similar orientation is found in the publication The Spiritual Roots of Restorative Justice (Hadley, [New York: SUNY Press.] 2001), to which this writer co-contributed the chapter on Christianity. It is also reflected in God’s Just Vengeance ([:Crime, Violence and the Rhetoric of Salvation], Gorringe, [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.] 1996). It is germane to point out that the impetus for these publications was the already established tradition from the Christian faith community of rereading its sacred texts in a nonsacrificial way, in the direction of Restorative Justice.]

Please click on: RJ & Spirituality Evaluation, June 2003


Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Kairos means a highly significant historical moment. We are in one this year (2020), given:

— a worldwide pandemic

— worldwide anti-racism protests

— an attempted coup by U.S. President Trump–that affects the entire world.

The very busy kairos post you may wish to click on is:

Cornel West Says ‘Neo-Fascist Gangster’ Trump and Neoliberal Democrats Expose America as ‘Failed Social Experiment’

Thanks for clicking on the post. I encourage you to leave a comment at bottom of this or any post, and of most pages. See Sitemap for a full list by titles and dates, under “HOME“; or see  BLOG for thumbnails you may view from current to previous; or check ARCHIVES below each post for groupings by year and month. You may also see Related Posts below each post. There as well, you may choose to rate posts/most pages. At bottom of each page is also a “SEARCH” box. My commitment is to respond if comment is approved. I can learn something for sure! Hopefully you may too…


Wayne Northey

Care to follow posts?

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox (unsubscribe any time):