Item description for Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing by Dennis A. Jacobsen...
Overview "Doing Justice" is an introductory theology of congregation-based community organizing rooted in the day-to-day struggles and hopes of urban ministry. It draws from author's fourteen years of personal experience in community organizing ministries. 140 page softcover by Dennis A. Jacobsen.
Publishers Description Doing Justice is an introductory theology of congregation-based community organizing rooted in the day-to-day struggles and hopes of urban ministry and in the author's 14 years of personal experience in community organizing ministries. Drawing from the organizing principles of Saul Alinsky, Jacobsen weaves the theological and biblical warrants for community organizing into concrete strategies for achieving justice in the public arena. Designed to be used by congregations and church leaders, as well as by ministerial students, Doing Justice opens new vistas for community action in support of the poor, the disadvantaged, and the disenfranchised of our society.
Citations And Professional Reviews Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing by Dennis A. Jacobsen has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christian Century - 11/14/2001 page 32
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Food for Organized Thought and Action May 6, 2001
I think I speak for many people -- clergy and lay, organizers and the organized -- in decrying the dearth of good, digestible faith-focused written resources for organizing. We scrounge through magazines and periodicals; we "cut-and-paste" from other disciplines (theology, sociology, political science, history, psychology, etc.); we listen to big-name and not-so-big name speakers as they expound with (or without) competence on related topics; and we mutter, "Why doesn't someone write a book?" I am a Catholic priest who's been in parish ministry for the past twenty years, and these have been some of my frustrations. I know from conversations with many colleagues that I am not alone.
So, thank you Dennis Jacobsen! "Doing Justice" is the best book of its type to hit the press in those twenty years! Sure, there've been biographies ("Let Them Call Me Rebel"), case studies ("Streets of Hope", "Upon This Rock"), populist analyses ("Who Will Tell The People?", "You Can't Be Neutral On A Moving Train"), and much more that has been truly inspirational. But not since Gregory Pierce's "Activism That Makes Sense" (1984) and "Confident & Competent" (1987) has it all been put so neatly, compactly and engagingly under one cover. Not only that, but Jacobsen goes beyond Pierce in integrating what I regard to be both a welcomed and appropriate degree of theological consideration into his discussion.
I have heard Dennis Jacobsen speak on several of the topics covered in "Doing Justice" both in Milwaukee and in the context of Gamaliel Foundation activities. But reading those pieces together with his new (at least, to me!) material is really exciting! I was particularly moved by his handling of "Self-Interest" (Chapter 6), "Building and Sustaining Organizations" (Chapter 10), and "Community" (Chapter 11). In each of these sections, he weaves a profound message that incorporates organizing principles, theological challenge, and psycho-historico-political realism.
Rick Deines's "Studies Guide" as an appendix is pure bonus!!! Even without it, "Doing Justice" would be an excellent primer in organizing for seminarians, judicatorial and/or denominational clergy groups, ecumenical ministerial associations and alliances, and groups within congregations that are either already involved in or considering becoming involved in a community organization. It is also just plain good, refreshing reading for those of us who have been "in the trenches" (or in a rut!) for a while!!!
There are some parts of the picture that are still missing, though. Such related topics as "money", enemies (i.e., adversaries, or "the opposition") and the role of Foundations in the survival and success of the kind of organizing Jacobsen describes could well be the subject of what I truly hope will be his sequel to "Doing Justice."