Thursday, 16 October 2014


A couple of years ago at a restorative justice conference in Edmonton, fellow speaker, Dave Gustafson, said to me that Sawbonna reminded him of the paraclete. It was not the first time I heard that word, it was the first time I hustled immediately to a dictionary. Paraclete is as teacher, counselor, advocate. I liked the idea then, as I like it now. Sawbonna = Paraclete. Sawbonna is invitation to re-language. To re-language justice: social, restorative, and criminal. Re-languaging is not the same as negating, discarding, or rejecting. Re-languaging, as is the terrain of theopoetics, is a way of unlearning and to engage ever-deeper with not merely new thoughts and ideas about justice, but with and because of new emotions, experiences, and expressions about justice. Stanley Romaine Hopper, theopoetics pioneer, in his work, What is Called Thinking, drawing on Martin Heidegger's work offers, "we moderns can learn only if we always unlearn at the same time...we can learn thinking only if we radically unlearn what thinking has been traditionally." Harking back to Dave's words that Sawbonna reminded him of the paraclete, I was gently nudged into celebration. Sawbonna/RJ partaking in respect, responsibility, relationship, and wonder, is theopoetic. I feel the love and beauty of my Dad, Theo, celebrating Sawbonna with Glen and I. Celebrating the re-languaging of justice. Of joy. This is Poetic Justice. And this is Sawbonna.

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