Getting at Roots of Injustice


Weeding the garden

Great Plains Conference Micah Corp interns weed in the Big Garden of United Methodist Ministries in Omaha, Neb.

Editor's note: In the United Methodist Great Plains Conference, 10 young adults are learning more about walking with God, strengthening their leadership skills, connecting with churches and working for social change as Micah Corps interns this summer. In this essay, intern Maddi Baugous compares social-justice work to weeding in a garden.

This summer I have been focused on learning more about food security and how we can help those who struggle with getting enough food for an active healthy lifestyle. One of the organizations we have closely worked with is the Big Garden through United Methodist Ministries in Omaha, Neb., which helps create community gardens. While serving as a Micah Corps intern, I got to see a variety of different programs and services the Big Garden provides from helping to start gardens to educating children on the importance of gardening.

These weeds were just like the different problems we are focused on learning about in the Micah Corps.

One day all of the interns were in a garden helping to pull weeds. While pulling the weeds a thought came to mind that these weeds were just like the different problems we are focused on learning about in the Micah Corps. For instance if I just pull off the leaves of the weeds, it may look pretty, but I know the roots are still in the ground, and if I come back in a few weeks the weed will still be there.

In our society this is often how we solve the issues of the world. For example, I can donate food to help someone for a week (pull off the leaves), but if I come back the next week there will be more of a need, more leaves to pull away. To fix the issues, we have to start at the root and work from the ground up.

Pull the roots

As Micah Corps interns, we try to find the ways to fix problems from their source. Sometimes it is difficult because some issues have deeper roots than others. Just like when we were weeding in the garden, some of the weeds’ roots were deeper than others, some have easier fixes than others.

When working for social justice it is important to see that often the best solution is not the easy solution. We need to pull the roots of the weeds, not just their leaves.

Consider becoming a gardener for social change by pulling at the roots of injustice. Check out United Methodist Committee on Relief-endorsed Bread for the World andUnited Methodist Women Action Alerts.

To learn more about what the Micah Corps is up to this summer, go and for their blog.

Editor's note: This article is reprinted from “Micah Corps: Getting at the roots of injustice,” Great Plains Connect, July 15, 2015.

Micah Corps

2015 Micah Corps

2015 Micah Corps interns clockwise from top right: Ella Sherman, Te Gatobu, Sarah Nelson, Ellen Sulser, Elysee Mahangama, Amy Kenyon, Maddi Baugous, Ama Agyabeng, Kevin Bukalo and Brookelyn Brown.

The Great Plains Conference United Methodist Micah Corps program is based on Micah 6:8: Do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. This summer intern program is designed to give young adults opportunities to:

  • grow in their spiritual walk with God
  • link faith with social-justice action
  • learn from social-justice experts in Nebraska, Kansas and Washington, D.C.
  • strengthen leadership skills, and
  • connect with Great Plains United Methodists across Nebraska and Kansas.

Wholistic discipleship includes direct service (charity), education and justice work. Interns do all three with a special emphasis on justice work. Most of the summer's experiences are framed around tearing down the walls of poverty, environmental degradation, violence, nativism and food scarcity that have been built up around the fish pond and figuring out who polluted it.