March 17, 2015 Editor

The Spiritual Roots of Restorative Justice – Christianity

WN: This paper was jointly written by Pierre Allard and me. It arose from a book publication by the same title as above (minus “Christianity”). The actual paper as it appeared in the book in part may be found here.

The paper as I believe sent to the publisher’s is below.

An excerpt:


“It is not as though Christianity has been tried and found wanting. It has been found hard and left untried2 [Ravi Zacharias. “Diagnosing the Modern Mind”.].”

As we begin our journey into the understanding of the spiritual roots of Restorative Justice within Christianity, we are reminded of a symposium held in Vancouver in March 1997 on ‘Satisfying Justice’. The topic given to one of us (Pierre) as a presenter was ‘Faith and Crime’. The day before the presentation, Pierre remembers feeling uneasy as he listened to an aboriginal speaker recounting the abuses suffered in the residential schools and the healing journey begun by his people. In the evening, as Pierre reflected further on his uneasiness, he became jealous, angry and finally solved the enigma. His feelings of jealousy and anger were due to the fact that the aboriginal community is conscious of having lost a treasure and has engaged on a return journey. The Christian community, on the other hand, is not even conscious of having lost a great treasure and is therefore not engaging, for the most part, on a journey of rediscovery. In the area of criminal justice, Christianity has been found hard indeed and left untried for so long that it hardly remembers the time when justice could only be thought of in terms of a ‘restoring justice’.


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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.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.