Friday, April 24, 2020


Hey hey… U guessed it. It’s U-day, and the fine upstanding, unsinkable, upbeat, uncensored (and unbalanced of late due to foot injury - oh and on that note, ulcerated and under-utilized) Urban Bard (a.k.a. the Flaming Liberal) has unleashed this upon us:

Restorative Justice

I know. I know. Only one U in there and it’s not even at the beginning. Also not much of a challenge since restorative justice is so ubiquitous in my life. But here’s a brief story which I think says something important:

Soul Man and I addressed a small class at Redeemer University. Let’s face it, it was his presentation and I was little more than his driver. On the trip there it occurred to me that I might be asked why it is I do what I do; volunteer my time with such pariahs of the community; such monsters. I gave it some brief thought and found no immediate answer and was distracted by something else.

After the presentation I was asked that very question, and by a particular girl who had been coming across as being perhaps less than comfortable with our perspectives. It was phrased “Why would you want to work with these people?”

The irony occurred to me immediately. This was Redeemer; as in Christ the Redeemer. Was redemption really a foreign concept here?

This may seem strange, but working in this community, in order to keep the greater community safe for children (for that IS the prime factor here) has not felt like the morbid chore that many people seem to assume. It in fact feels like a privilege!

In an environment that is draped in shadows of victimhood and flawed justice and brokenness and where great barriers loom against healing and trust and happiness and normal relationships and normal pursuits and mental well-being, where one of the nations largest institution flounders in vain attempts at insight and justice… where we celebrate each small victory with profound lovingness and where even in the rarer moments of failure and in the very rare moments of tragedy, all hands report on deck and immediately care for one another; and where the lines between offenders and volunteers have been made irrelevant…

… in a place where every day, humanity has all the cards stacked against it, it is a privilege to find in this place that somehow or another, every day, humanity wins.

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