Augsburg Fortress

A Spirituality for Doing Justice: Reflections for Congregation-based Organizers

A Spirituality for Doing Justice: Reflections for Congregation-based Organizers

Dennis Jacobsen brings his many years of experience doing congregation-based organizing for justice into conversation with unique spiritual reflections. Jacobsen has learned along the way that deeper reflection must precede organizing action. He says, "As I age, I have respect for those who faithfully enter the inner room of their soul to meet and love God. Social action is messy and disruptive and noisy." Jacobsen turns to his work creating and meditating on icons to connect biblical themes and Christian personalities to guide those who are preparing for congregation-organizing and faith-based social action. His unique perspectives help anyone engaged in such work go deeper in prayer and devotion before diving into the messy work of organizing.

This book follows his first volume, Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing, in which Jacobsen explored biblical and theological reasons congregation-based organizing offers a faithful way of living out the teachings of Jesus. In this new volume, he seeks to integrate spiritual practices (reflections on iconography, in particular) that he claims are foundational to congregation-based community organizing.

The book includes introductory chapters to describe his own spiritual practice around icons, several chapters on different figures and what can be learned or gleaned from them as one prepares for justice work. The final section provides a month-long daily office for doing justice, which participants may adopt in their life of prayer and faithful reflection.


  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506464367
  • eBook ISBN 9781506464374
  • Age/Grade Range Adult
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 224
  • Publication Date February 2, 2021


"Dennis Jacobsen has blessed Faith-Based Organizers and Leaders with this thoughtful and loving tool. His book aligns the call to love God, love our neighbors, and act on our thirst for justice. As a Gamaliel Organizer It has been an honor to share this journey with Rev. Jacobsen for over twenty years. I strongly recommend everyone fighting for a just world to make the four-week daily office practice an important part of their organizing toolbox. It has filled me with grace and hope."

Ana Garcia-Ashley, Executive Director, Gamaliel

"Dennis Jacobsen is not an academic writing about what others have done; he is a fighter for justice reflecting on his life. His icons presented in this book are not only beautiful in and of themselves but also express the faith that leads Dennis into the real world of laced with injustice, racism, poverty and pollution."

Gregory Galluzzo, founding Director, Gamaliel

"At a time of urgent need for social change and of deep spiritual hunger, this book demonstrates the inextricable connection between spirituality and justice. As a pastor who devoted his ministry to working for justice, Jacobsen models how spiritual practice grounded and sustained his involvement in community organizing, and how relationships formed in that work opened his eyes to God in all things and all things in God."

Raymond Pickett, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

"Dennis Jacobsen draws us into a world of graceful art, brutal inner-city realities, the majesties of nature, church and politics, and the lives of saints past and present. He helps us encounter the inscrutable God who calls us deeper into mystery through all of it. Jacobsen enters each of these realms with humility and a sense of awe, and he models a deep spirituality that is transcendent, incarnational, and deeply authentic."

David Liners, Executive Director, WISDOM, Gamaliel in Wisconsin

"Dennis Jacobsen chose to walk with God in his journey through life and what a life it has been. I have known Rev. Jacobsen for over 30 years and know him to be a deeply spiritual person, a man of God, a prayerful and caring human. He is also a warrior, mentor, agitator, leader, and model in the struggle for a more just world. This book articulates the source of his strength and his endurance."

Mary Gonzales, organizer, Gamaliel