Justicing all the way to the Conference

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Justicing all the way to the Conference

If you live in a bit of a vacuum you may not have heard of the Justice Conference in South Africa that is happening next week Friday and Saturday. If that is the case – and even if it’s not and you’ve seen this before – give this a watch:

The Ripple Effect

i have been involved in a lot of camps and conferences in my life that have been incredible moments or times, but only two really stick out as having long-term ripple and wave effect. Most conferences you have a great time and learn a lot and feel transformed and then a week later it’s kinda forgotten and life carries on. Not that significant changes haven’t occurred cos i find a lot of those happen via a moment or a talk or a conversation at camp [And Baptist Summer camp for me holds many of those, especially lifetime friendships which continue today, as do Scripture Union and SCA/SCO camps]. But usually a week later people aren’t still talking about the camp or conference but are continuing on in their changed lives.

Newsong Festival was something that was different. Years later I still hear people talk about the life change that happened in those few days. It was a Christian band and talk conference that happened for seven years I think in the early 2000s. I had the privilege [and pain] of running the last two and definitely there were things that happened there that transformed lives and kept people speaking about it.

But Justice Conference South Africa, that happened last year in March for the first time was something different, for a number of reasons. Firstly, when the contributor names and pictures went out to advertise the event there was a distinct lack of middle-aged to old white American guys as speakers, or just old white men in general. i can think of at least two conference brochures i have seen for conferences taking place in South Africa in 2018 where the entire speaker list is white people, majority male. Paint it how you will, but i just cannot wrap my mind around any justification for that.

But last year The Justice Conference had around 61 contributors across plenaries, workshops and panel sessions and something like 7 of them might have been white. Which is not an anti-white statement at all but rather a recognition of a conference that actually represents – on the stage – the country. That for me is so powerfully exciting.

And it showed. More than any other camp or conference i have been part of the ripples continued a week later, and then a month after that, and then a year later groups were meeting, church leadership teams were inviting reflection from outsiders, topics were being discussed and preached on and seriesed. i have never witnessed such a deep ongoing impact that continues to resonate around the country and literally changed the way some church congregations do and think of church. This is special.

Justice in the Justicing

One thing most people won’t see is how much Justice has taken place just in getting to the conference.

With big events like these it is often easier to just do everything yourself or maybe have those few people you can trust who will catch your vision and run with it. But from listening cooperatively for a joint vision, for themes, for topics of conversation and more; to choosing a venue [Mitchell’s Plein] which brought with it it’s own set of challenges [running a conference in a not conference venue brings a LOT of paperwork!] but was also saying we want to host this in an area that has been devoid of so much needed justice; to the diversity [in age, gender, theological background, race, denomination or faith style] of the team brought together to run this thing; to finding a worship team that will be mindful of the continent this thing is taking place on and not simply flood the stage with Hillsong and Bethel echoings; to the partners we align with and so much more. Justicing has taken place all along the way in so many different ways and forms, both large and small, that there is much to be learnt from this team.

justice quote bible

If you live in Cape Town, there is still time to register, but you need to do so soon so that you don’t miss out on the free meals that accompany on time registration. Head over here to do that right now. i look forward to seeing you there.

By |2018-10-05T10:54:04+00:00Oct 5th, 2018|activities, pain and Hope, positive ideas for change|4 Comments

About the Author:

Brett Fish is a lover of life, God, tbV [the beautiful Valerie] and owns the world's most famous stuffed dolphin, No_bob (who doesn't bob). He believes that we are all responsible for making the world a significantly better place for everyone.


  1. Tracey Oct 20, 2018 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Hi, I missed the Justice conference unfortunately but like the topics discussed. When it comes to rape, I have a few questions. 1. Is it only rape if its physical force used against someone? As per the general mindset when people think of rape. Can it be rape if you are drunk and sleep with a guy? If the guy is sober, then maybe he took advantage of an intoxicated female and that would be rape? If he’s drunk too then I suppose it does take two. If seduced while both are sober then I guess not. It should consider the state of mind of both. 2. Burden of proof. This is a tough one as the scenario above could have played out and then the woman accuses the man of rape and like that college guy in USA got 6 years and then she said she lied. He wasted 6 years in prison. A woman can regret sleeping with a man after a few days and then if he doesn’t return her call, she could accuse him of rape. So burden of proof is a tricky one. Are more rapists out there than we think? Yes. Can women lie? Yes. Changing the burden of proof would convict more rapists but many innocent men would also end up in prison. An innocent man in prison is equal to how many real rapists on the outside? Is an innocent man in prison for 15 years (due to misidentified line out, or a lookalike or malicious woman) a terrible thing? Yes. Is rapists out and about terrible yes. So where is the tradeoff. I think innocent until proven guilty is the only way. The solution is to have good men accompany women in dangerous areas especially at night. Tax alcohol double of you must as it is a huge cause of rape. Use that money to educate men to see women as their mothers, sisters, possible future wives.

    • brettfish Oct 22, 2018 at 8:41 am - Reply

      Hi Tracey,

      Thanks for stopping by – i think rape is quite a complicated topic but i love this really simple video that helps to breakdown consent [which is maybe the hugest factor – you can’t give consent if you are drunk for example] in terms of determining what is rape or not: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQbei5JGiT8 – a good question on the whole legality might be if it was changed to favour the accuser would we see an increase in false accusations [and i don’t know if there is any way of knowing] cos at the moment it does seem like so many rapes go unreported and rapists walk free compared to the very very very small amount of people who are falsely accused. So that is a tough one and i guess you hope you have the right people in the courts making the decisions but money and power also play a huge part [who can afford the better lawyers?] and so it really is quite a messed up situation… i do think we need to do better at believing those who have been raped and taking them seriously and creating spaces where victims can get help without being shamed again as is often the case in terms of how procedures happen in so many places…

      Lots of work to do here…

  2. Kevin Oct 22, 2018 at 9:00 am - Reply

    I think if both people are drunk then it can’t be called rape if thimgs just happen. The guy might also not be thinking and sleep with a woman he wouldn’t normally. So could he say the woman raped him? All too often women seduce men who are drunk. Do you think it’s possible for a woman to be a rapist or even a seducer? Women don’t need to rape men in the way that one would think, but really take advantage of a drunk man or seduce a rich man. So many situations where women get off from these crimes. Look at how many women sleep with men and break their hearts. So many women are very mean to men. How many of these women seductresses are still out there seducing (raping) men. But society will not believe men at all. Also in child custody cases, the women is favored over the man. Men must also go to die in wars. So regarding the semester, guys have been given a bad rap too. Would you agree? Also we have to go off to work and support the ladies (traditional culure). I think as a social warrior you must include men rights too. I agree that men should not rape women and other way round. Maybe a contract must be signed before. If a beautiful woman tried to seduce a man, and the man was drunk, it would be a higher chance than a man seducing a woman. So women have the advantage. Just because women are physically weaker they make up for it in seduction and can exploit a man’s high desire. So be careful out there as women want it just as much as we do.

    • brettfish Oct 22, 2018 at 9:45 am - Reply

      Kevin, i’m afraid the stats just don’t back up what you’re saying at all. Yes, there are men who are raped and yes there are women who rape [and both of those are as bad as any time a woman is raped, we are not trying to create a hierarchy here] BUT the numbers of women who are raped are overwhelmingly greater than men and once you add in trafficking and prostitution and war crimes and gang initiations and more it is just overwhelmingly leaning against women which is why the main focus is placed on them. It is not either/or but both/and but at the same time we need to look where the majority of the crimes are taking place and that is where the majority of the work must be done. Being a woman in the world – and then add woman of colour to that – is one of the least powerful and most oppressed people you can be.

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