Christian Legal Aid Retreat
On April 1, 2022, members of the Christian Legal Aid community and others gathered for an online CLA retreat. This year we heard from Rev. Dr. Robert Chao Romero and Pastor Nick Tidwell speak on the theme "Here I Am, Lord."
Please enjoy these recordings from the event.
"Under the Broom Bush (1 Kings 19:3-8):
Spiritual Food for the Pro Bono Attorney"
Like Elijah fleeing to Horeb and finding shelter under a broom bush, many of us as pro bono attorneys find ourselves exhausted by the journey which sometimes feels like too much. Inspired by Elijah's encounter with the angel of the Lord who brought him food and drink to sustain him in his lowest moment, this talk explores the theological themes of "Galilee" (Mark 1:14) and "integral mission" (Colossians 1:15-20) as spiritual food for the pro bono attorney. Professor Romero reflected on our calling to serve those facing injustices, including thoughts based on the history of Latino Christians who did missions while under oppression from political violence, and on his Chinese evangelist grandfather who fled to the U.S. after persecution from Communist China. He spoke on the need for a "holistic Gospel," both a verbal proclamation of the Gospel and embodiment in works of compassion, justice, and loving neighbor.
Rev. Dr. Robert Chao Romero is Asian-Latino and has been a professor of Chicana/o Studies and Asian American Studies at UCLA since 2005. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA in Latin American History and his J.D. from U.C. Berkeley. He is also an ordained pastor and an InterVarsity Press author. With a background as an attorney, he is interested in immigration law and policy. Prof. Romero has published 15 academic books and articles on issues of race, immigration, history, education, and religion, including Brown Church: Five Centuries of Latina/o Social Justice, Theology, and Identity, and The Chinese in Mexico, 1882-1940. He is a former Ford Foundation and U.C. President's Postdoctoral Fellow, as well as a recipient of the Louisville Institute's Sabbatical Grant for Researchers. Prof. Romero's father is from Chihuahua, Mexico and his mother is from Hubei, China. He is the maternal-grandson of the Chinese evangelist Calvin Chao, who Christianity Today called “the Chinese Billy Graham.”
"Purposeful Pro Bono Post-Pandemic"
Navigating into a new world in light of COVID-19, Pastor Nick Tidwell's talk focused on the importance of: 1) prayer, 2) preparation, 3) people, and 4) purpose in serving Christian Legal Aid clients. Pastor Nick shared practical advice about serving in Christian Legal Aid, specifically about the importance of prayer for our clients and for our own hearts to be softened, proper preparation especially in transitioning out of the pandemic, having compassion for the people we serve, and remembering the Kingdom Purpose of our service.
Pastor Nick Tidwell is a pastor, attorney, and founder/president of Compassionate Counsel, a Christian Legal Aid ministry serving in multiple locations in and around Nashville, TN. He also serves as Executive Pastor of First Baptist Church of Gallatin, Tennessee where he assists with administration, discipleship, preaching, and teaching. Nick also serves as a committee member for the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission’s Faith-Based Initiative Committee. While at UT Law School, he served as president of the law school’s Christian Legal Society chapter, assisted with the Pro Bono Homeless Project. Nick holds a BBA from Stephen F. Austin State University, a MA from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a JD from the University of Tennessee College of Law. He and his wife Kristin have three children ages 12, 9, and 7.