Social Justice Handbook: Interview with The Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon PGE13

My guest for this episode is The Reverend Doctor Mae Elise Cannon. Dr. Cannon is an author of six books, a speaker, advocate, and the Executive Director of Churches for Middle East Peace.

Dr.Cannon is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). Her ministry and professional background includes serving as the Senior Director of Advocacy and Outreach for World Vision-US, the executive pastor of Hillside Covenant Church (Walnut Creek, California), Director of Development and Transformation for Extension Ministries at Willow Creek Community Church (Barrington, Illinois), and as a consultant to the Middle East for child advocacy issues for Compassion International.

She earned doctorates in History (Ph.D) and Spiritual Formation (D. Min). Her Ph.D focused on American History with the minor in Middle Eastern studies from the University of California – Davis, focusing her dissertation on the history of the American Protestant church in Israel and Palestine. Cannon’s Doctorate of Ministry in Spiritual Formation is from Northern Theological Seminary. Cannon holds an M.Div. From North Park Theological Seminary, an M.B.A. from North Park University’s School of Business and Nonprofit Management, and an M.A. in bioethics from Trinity International University. Cannon completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Chicago in History, Philosophy, Social Studies, of Science and Medicine.

I will have more interviews with Dr. Cannon about some of her books and her work with peacebuilding, especially in the Middle East. However, I wanted to begin with a conversation about her first book, Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World.

Most of us who are caring people want to live our lives is ways that help make our world a better place. We want to participate in and advance the causes of justice, compassion, and caring so that there are less of such things as poverty, homelessness, hunger, injustice, crime, violence, and war. Often, however, the daily demands of life absorb our energies and hinder us from being involved. In addition, so many of the issues that we care about are so complex we are uncertain about how we can be involved and whether our efforts will matter.

What Dr. Cannon does in Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World is to provide us with a resource so that we can know how to become involved in something that matters to us which we believe will help make the world more just, compassionate, and caring. As the subtitle indicates, small steps do matter and make a difference. Even though this work is now ten years old, I wanted you, as my audience, to know of this resource because of its continued usefulness in helping us learn about issues that concern us and becoming aware of specific initial steps we can take to get involved.

In the first part of the book, Dr. Cannon gives us an orientation about what social justice is and involves. My interview with her focuses on this part.

In the second part of the book (which is especially why I wanted you to know of this resource), she provides an encyclopedic list of social issues. For each issue she gives an introduction to the issue; resources, such as books and websites, for learning more about the issue; and then specific steps one can take to become involved with that issue.

You can learn more about Dr. Cannon, her books, how to contact her, and how to arrange for her come and speak for your organization from her website:

You can learn more about the work of Churches for Middle East Peace from its website:

Other books by Dr. Cannon on to which she contributed are:

Forgive Us: Confessions of a Complicated Faith

A Land Full of God: Christian Perspectives on The Holy Land

Just Spirituality: How Faith Practices Fuel Social Action

Evangelical Theologies of Liberation and Justice

Beyond Hashtag Activism: Comprehensive Justice in a Complicated Age

The music for this episode is from a clip of a song called ‘Father Let Your Kingdom Come’ which is found on The Porter’s Gate Worship Project Work Songs album and is used by permission by The Porter’s Gate Worship Project. You can learn more about the album and the Worship Project at