To Do Justice, Transformation is Required by Hazel Johnson

When I began seminary in 2016, I joined the Religion and Conflict Transformation certificate program. I was drawn to this idea that religion could transform conflict (that is how I read the program). It wasn’t until my first class within this program that I learned that it is not only religion that transforms conflict but it must be, for me, a transformed religion-a transformed theology-that, then, transforms conflict. This mini-revelation was birthed in and has been refined through my nearly 8 year involvement with Life Together. It was in 2011, sitting in the training room of 40 Prescott Street, that I began to nurture my ethic- if it is religion that got us into many of the conflicts we are in today, it must be religion-a transformed religion- that helps us find a way out of our conflict. 

It was through that lens that I began to place flesh on the once bone-like platitudes of my faith. It was in that context that I began to shape my theology, my spirit and my purpose. If I am of a Christian faith that believes that I am to do justice…not to merely marvel at it or applaud it, but to DO JUSTICE, to LOVE MERCY… to chose, above all things, love and mercy for myself and all of creation, and to WALK HUMBLY… to get out of the way so that healing can happen, lives can be changed and the world can be transformed- if I’m claiming to be a Micah 6:8 kind of Christian, then I must allow God to whisper something to you in spite of me. In this work of justice, communal healing, and transformation, I must always be checking myself and transforming my ideals and theology. I must be working on my own transformation if I am to work to transform others.

My tenure with Life Together over the years has given me ample space and opportunity to live out this theology. I have been so blessed to accompany and journey alongside so many beautiful people- each reminding me that it is not only through me that God can change people, transform hearts and heal communities. God is speaking to all of us! God has been made known and manifest in the many roles I have undertaken within Life Together and it is because of those beautiful moments, those deep spiritual challenges and awakenings, that I feel confident in my call to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.  

Hazel Monae Johnson grew up in California and Nevada. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Willamette University in 2011 and her Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology in 2019. During her M.Div., Hazel completed a Religion and Conflict Transformation Certificate program, created an Ethical Leadership Development Curriculum for emerging leaders, served two terms as the President of the Student Association and was inducted into the Boston University School of Theology Student Leadership Society.

Hazel has served Life Together in various capacities since 2011. Micah Fellow 2011-2012, Emmaus Fellow 2012-2013, Site Selection Team 2014-2019, Bridge Program Coordinator 2016, Prayer Partner 2016-2017, Affinity Group Facilitator 2018-2019.