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1. Why are you passionate about biblical justice?
There is much division in the world. We are divided by issues of religious belief and practices, racism, sexism, agism, you name it. I grew up in the conservative Evangelical church. It is my faith family and my heritage and there are many positive aspects of my tradition I happily pass on to my own children. Yet I admit to being soured by the fighting and division over issues such as women in leadership/ministry, worship styles, and what to do with homosexuals in our midst.
When I woke up to the reality of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the church was just beginning to talk about it and to be aware of the crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. When I learned how mothers and children, families just like my own were struggling in unthinkable poverty, disease and death, it broke my heart.
There are many things of which I am unsure. Many doctrines, practices, traditions, teachings that I will never be 100% sure of and, if others are honest, neither will they. I am not God. It set deep within me I might be wrong about a lot of things — but if I am spending myself on behalf of the poor and oppressed (Isaiah 58-59), I’m not wrong. There is no HIV or AIDS in heaven. There is no sex trafficking and rape of children in heaven. There is no labor slavery in heaven. On Earth as it in heaven.
I can work tirelessly on behalf of those struggling in extreme poverty, preventable disease, the evils of human trafficking, lack of education, political influence, property rights, and know I am not wrong. In my adult life, this truth has informed my faith and how I live it out. It is, quite frankly in the current tone of Evangelical sub-culture dialogue, one of the only things that makes me passionate about my faith. It brings meaning to my faith and the sometimes dark world we live in.
2. Injustice in our world can seem so overwhelming and discouraging. Ever felt that way? And how can we overcome discouragement & inertia and move forward into hopeful action?
Perhaps cliche, yet it runs through my head often: The reminder that working on issues of global social justice is not a sprint. It is a marathon. I have found a great way to not get burned out or discouraged is to surround yourself with others who are also passionate about bring change to our world and to our generation. The Body of Christ is so diverse and so are the ways every person can make a difference.
I am not a rock star or a celebrity pastor. I am a full-time mother who writes and speaks on the side. I have felt often I am only making a dent in the overwhelming needs of our world. I have felt like a sell-out becauseI live my comfortable suburban life and do not drop everything and move to Haiti. I have wrestled with it all.
Yet God keeps bringing me back to this super, undramatic truth: Do what is in front of you. So, I look around at my spheres of influence, the people God has put in my life, and I start there. I have learned to not force solutions and God is in the details. I educate myself and I educate others where and when I can. I model being a compassionate global thinker to my children. Women often control the culture in our own homes. Passing on a culture of compassionate action on behalf of those in need is no small thing.
I often say, “I am only one woman, who lives in one town, who goes to one church, and who has one voice — but together all our ones add up and we do make a difference.”
I am also inspired by the abolitionists of 200 years ago. Many did not live to see the emancipation proclamation signed. Many fought slavery when it was legal and believed to be the economic backbone of Western civilization. They were considered rabble-rousers, trouble-makers, dreamers, and unimportant. But they pressed on.
For 50 years they met in small groups, prayed, circulated materials, spoke at rallies, made crafts — did whatever they could to fight to end slavery.
Today modern-day slavery is illegal in every nation on earth and yet there are more slaves today than ever in the history of the world. Criminals have an elaborate system of moving people undetected across borders for the purposes of selling them into sex trade or labor camps. I may be a full-time mother from the middle America, but this is unacceptable to me. I can and I will do my part to eradicate slavery in my lifetime. Even if it seems I am yelling into the wind.
3. What are 3 meaningful things a person could do to take up the cause of biblical justice in their everyday life?
I fight modern-day slavery and consider myself an abolitionist. I would tell every person to:
1. Put the National Anti-Trafficking Hotline Number in your phone: 1-888-3737-888. This number is run by the Polaris Project and partially funded by our Federal Government. If you see something that doesn’t seem right SAY SOMETHING: a local massage parlor with locks on the outside, something sketchy at a bus or train station or airport, solicitors at your door who seem desperate, a cleaning lady or other service provider who cannot tell you how she came to the United States . . . DO NOT intervene or put yourself in harm’s way. Call the hotline number and report what you saw. This saves lives.
A friend of mine on Facebook was in Indonesia traveling. He witnessed a man pull a girl onto the plane while she screamed, holding the railings and desperately trying to not enter. My friend posted to Facebook asking what to do. I told him to call the Hotline number and he would not need to do anything. Before they landed in the US there was a case file opened and the authorities were “on it.”
2. Do not underestimate the power of education. Educate yourself. Read books, read mine. 🙂 Educate your children and your churches. Be the noisy neighbor, the squeaky wheel. Join local groups and organizations designed to educate and empower. I co-founded The West Chicagoland Anti-Trafficking Coalition in my community. We exist to serve the individual, the community, and churches and non-profits in the fight to end slavery. Find us and *Like* us on Facebook for updates and articles on the issue.
3. Do not underestimate the power of prayer. While writing Refuse To Do Nothing, I did many interviews and from high-profile non-profits organizations on the front lines of fighting slavery, to our Congressman in Washington DC, to the local church group, all stressed the essential need to pray. We are fighting the greatest evil of our generation. We can do and do and do … but without prayer and God’s help we certainly will accomplish nothing.
Did I mention to put the Anti-Traficking Hotline Number in your phone right now? 1-888-3737-888
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