Many commentators have observed that the church in the U.S., especially among younger Christians, seems to be waking up to social issues such as poverty, human trafficking, unfair labor practices, housing issues, and other areas. But rarely do I here people noting, as Strom does, that the roots of these problems often have to do with a lack of legal representation, and that the solutions will frequently come from legal action.
Strom had achieved a high level of success in the legal profession when God opened his eyes to "how self-focused I was, and He helped me see the needs of others in pain around me." He began to see that many of the problems of the poor cry out for legal solutions, so he began what would become Administer Justice, a group of volunteer lawyers who assist people in need with legal matters of all kinds.
Gospel Justice is full of stories of people whose lives were changed with the help of the compassionate, knowledgable assistance of the Administer Justice staff. It's shocking to realize how many people suffer in ways that could be prevented or remedied if they had legal representation. This is not a theological treatise or law review article, but Strom brings in enough theology and legal knowledge to give the reader ample inspiration to use one's legal skills to help the poor, to apply to law school, or at least to seek out a legal group to volunteer with or donate to.
We have seen medical missionaries for generations. Bible translators, church planters, and evangelists all fit nicely into our picture of what a missionary looks like. We are familiar with service to the poor: soup kitchens and food banks, homeless shelters, and clothing ministries are commonplace. Strom has presented a new picture, at least new to me, of one way to be a missionary, one way to serve the poor. Providing legal services for the poor and marginalized goes beyond what traditional ministry among the poor has done by creating opportunities to address structural issues and root causes. Justice indeed. I should have gone to law school.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy.