Thursday, January 31, 2013

Rise Up

It has been a couple of weeks since my original Common Ground post. Last week as I was working on my 2nd post for the series I came down with an infection and just now beginning to feel normal. Stayed tuned for the next post to come next week in the Common Ground series. For today be inspired by how you can impact the lives of millions caught up in the Human Trafficking Industry and then pray, asking God what you should do to help end this travesty.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because he has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor:
He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovering of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty them that are bruised,
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
Luke 4: 18 - 19
When I think about Human trafficking in the context of this verse the following phrases jump put at me:
Release to the Captives & Set at liberty them that are bruised
The season of Lent is almost upon us and this is the time in the christian calendar when many followers of Jesus prayerfully meditate on what they will give up or sacrifice for 40 days in preparation for the Crucifixion of our Lord. The title for todays post is "Rise Up". Can rising up be consider a sacrifice for lent? To rise up, can that mean to give up? On first glance no but if we look deeper you might see what I see. We currently live in a polarized country. Pick a topic and people have strong opinions. In the climate we live in it can sometimes become easy to remain quiet. To step back, not engage and watch others engage in the "hot topics" of our day. With our current climate I think that "Rising up" can be consider a sacrifice. To speak out about human trafficking and sex trafficking is risky business. Anytime we take on a social issue and give voice to it there are consequences, while they vary, there are consequences; loss of influence, loss of friends, backlash from co-workers. It can go from minor to major. So will you consider rising up and giving voice to the issue of human trafficking? Will you talk to co-workers, people at church and friends? Will you join Jesus and set the captives free and give liberty to those who are bruised?
Jesus gave us his life, can't we give our voice? Go to Exodus Road and see how you can support their work in South East Asia
The Help Us page is lengthy and has endless options for how you can get involved. Giving money is just one of numerous ways we can have a positive impact on Human Trafficking and helping people to leave that way of life.
Below is a video of the song 27 million. It is about Human trafficking and where I pulled the title for this blog. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Exodus Road

To the followers of my blog, I am excited to tell that I have now been added to a list of bloggers who will right on behalf of an organization called, The Exodus Road. The Exodus Road works in the trenches of South East Asia to rescue girls from the trafficking industry.

Once a month I will post on the topic of human trafficking. The focus will vary but will include either a story and/or how you can get involved to help stop the tragedy of human trafficking.

Most of you know my passion when it comes to the issue of Human trafficking. Take time to read here.

I am excited that I can be a voice to those who have no voice and educate others on this travesty and how we can together end this atrocity.

And while you are at your computer, go check out their website and see the results of their work and how you can help support it. The Exodus Road

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Common Good (Part 1)

"This is the rule of most perfect Christianity, its most exact definition, its highest point, namely, the seeking of the common good...for nothing can so make a person an imitator of
Christ as caring for neighbors."  --John Chrysostom (ca. 347-407)
Two weeks ago I posted my response to the massacre at Sandy, Prayer in Schools, Video Games, Gun Control, Fear, Grief and Love. That same week I read an article on the Huffington post about making resolutions from a place of love. In this article was the quote above and three words caught my eye, "The Common Good." From this stand point I will begin a series on this topic, "The Common Good." I will address some of the issues in my article on Sandy Hook as well as other topics that are currently in the forefront of America right now. My goal is for us to explore what it means for us to live a life that serves the common good. Some topics to be address are:
Church and State
Health Care
Gun Control
Human Trafficking
and possibly more.
I invite you on this journey with me as we look to the scriptures ad acquaint ourselves with stories of people in our country and around the world and really talk about and discover what does it mean to live a life that serves the common good. I hope each week people will share their thoughts on this blog. I believe that communication can be a catalyst to the change we would like to make within ourselves that will in turn effect the communities in which we live.
So what do you think of the topics I listed? Are there any others you would like to see addresses? I look forward to reading your comments.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Word for 2013

It appears the new fad for a new year is to have a word for yourself. I don't know if this is in addition to the traditional New Years Resolutions we all tend to make, then break or if it replaces the resolutions. I am going with the latter and have chosen a word for myself. Keep reading and you will find out mine. And just maybe you will chose a word for yourself.

Isaiah 40:1 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

The first week and a  half of 2013 have not been problem free. The first week brought on an inconvenience with my Health Insurance company, my satellite not working, then I came down with a head and chest cold. After I felt better from the cold I read a blog @ Gabbing with Grace where I learned about "My word" and read what Grace's was. At the end of her post she asked her readers to post what their word was. So I got to thinking, what would be a really good word for me? As I thought about the events of the week already "resilient" came to mind. After the week I have had already I think I picked a good word. See already, since choosing my word, I have had to deal with getting cable set up for my TV, then having problems with the new cable service and finally coming down with a stomach virus. I am 80% better in terms of being sick and the cable box was replaced so no more problems.

I chose this word because after 40 years I know myself pretty well and I tend to surrender when several things go wrong at one time. I felt it was time to do things differently. To no longer rely on my past habit of feeling sorry for myself and caving in and accepting things just how they are. This year will be different. With the Lord's help I will be resilient and keep moving forward when difficulties happen. What is your word? Will you have a word for 2013?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Prayer in Schools, Video Games, Mental Illness, Gun Control, Fear, Grief and Love

“At the root of war is fear: not so much the fear men have of one another as the fear they have of everything. It is not merely that they do not trust one another; they do not even trust themselves… They cannot trust anything because they have ceased to believe in God.” - Thomas Merton

It has been 3 weeks since the massacre at Sandy Hook and I have heard every phrase in my title as the solution to the problem of violence in our country. (Excluding the Fear, Grief and Love part. More on that later)

Let me go on record and say that NONE of these things will cure the problem of violence in our society. Any measure we take on any of these may curb it but they will never eradicate violence in our culture. Let's look @ each one briefly.

Prayer in Schools: Does anyone really believe that no one in that school on that day did NOT pray. Prayer is a powerful thing and I use it daily but we have this thing called free-will. God, out of his love, gave us free will. We all can choose good or choose evil, some will choose evil even in the face of prayer.After Jesus was born 1,000's of young boys were killed at the hand of King Herod. Putting prayer in school will not change people's free will.

Video Games: As a former teacher I do believe the games our young children play are way to violent and graphic and leave nothing to the imagination. With that said, if video games are truly the cause then we would have many more massacres than we do now. Playing a violent video game simply does not make someone become a mass murderer.

Mental Illness: Mental Illness is a critical issue in our country and it rightly deserves our attention. Better access to mental heath services are greatly needed for those who can not afford it on their own. It is also not the reason we have mass murderers. Did you know that studies done show that not all mass murderers have a mental illness. Just because someone has a diagnosed mental illness does not predispose them to becoming a mass murderer.

Gun Control: The 2nd Amendment of our Constitution guarantees Americans the right to bare arms. Short of abolishing the 2nd Amendment it would not eradicate violence in our culture. Going back to free will. Even if you make something illegal someone will find a way to get what they need. The shooter @ Sandy Hook; they were not his guns, they were his mothers which she owned legally. As much as I hate guns any actions on control, even if successful, will not curb the violence in our country. Though I do not believe everyone arming themselves is the solution either.

So what do I believe? What is the solution to stopping and preventing these massacres from occurring in our country? As a Christian, I believe the only thing that will stop the reoccurring violence is when Jesus returns. Scripture tells us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace and that when he returns he will reign on earth. So I believe, that violence will not end till the Prince of Peace returns, and we will fear no more.

Fear is the biggest problem of the human race. (As said in the opening quote) In Scripture alone the phrase, "Do Not Fear" is said over 300 times; Old Testament and New Testament. The fact that angels and Jesus repeat this phrase demonstrates how innate fear is within us. I believe that if we want to curb the violence in our culture we have to look inside ourselves. We have to look at our fear, search it out and dispel it. Fear controls us and we allow it too by feeding it. Since the shooting at Sandy Hook gun dealers have been unable to keep ammunition on their shelves. That is fear people, plain and simple. When we search out our fear we have to be willing to face our own grief as well. Just as we are quick to fear we are quick to suppress. Grief is like a taboo word in our society. We are supposed to "suck it up" and keep going. Grief, fear and anger that is not dealt with explodes eventually. Now while you and I may not massacre little children we can all think of time when everything came to a head and whoever was in front of us got the brunt of it. Lastly, if we are going to have courage to face our fears and our grief then we must embrace love. Love for ourselves and for our neighbor. Burden's are much easier to carry when we share our fears and griefs with each other. We discover that we are not alone and we know and feel the love of another person

Nothing will change till we start with ourselves.

What do you fear? What are you grieving or avoiding? Share in the comment section and let us love one another and support each other amidst our fears and grief.