Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Time to Rebel

The late '60s and early '70s were a time of serious rebellion. For several years, I resisted that youth-oriented movement. Then, even my single mother rebelled against conservative standards and encouraged me to do the same. So eventually I did. No one ever told me that there was something more devastating about an illicit affair than getting pregnant or catching an STD. Becoming "one flesh" with someone you can never share a life with impacts your soul. No one ever talks about that concept, so it took me a long time to figure out what that meant, and why the Bible is the one place that mentions it. According to the Bible, becoming "one flesh" is supposed to be the byproduct of love within the context of marriage.

Now most of society has rebelled against that biblical standard. It's a rebellion that has grabbed hold of our culture so much that it's become the norm. On college campuses, in movie theaters and even in many homes, the doctrine of promiscuity is portrayed as not only permissible, but desirable. Television shows, music videos, and advertisers all promote the doctrine of instant gratification. Parents frequently model the way to this self-absorbed thinking. What does that have to do with human trafficking? Even more, what can anyone do about it?

First, the problem. Under the auspices of Transform World, Transform LA has identified 5 societal challenges that started spiraling out-of-control in American culture ever since that time ironically known as "The Summer of Love." (It was a time of anything but real selfless love.) These 7 challenges include:
  1. Ideology
  2. Relationships
  3. Orphans
  4. Poverty
  5. Human Rights (including the right to life, liberty, and dignity)
As the rebellion has grown and people have adopted new norms (such as Roe v. Wade 1973), the value of life itself has changed in a way that's created a climate ripe for human trafficking.

Traffickers frequently  trap modern-day slaves through the ideology of easy sex. If you're going to have casual sex, why not use it to make money? Some girls have even learned to sell their own virginity to the highest bidder.

 .

And, if the girls themselves can do it, why not their brothers or mothers, or cousins or . . . strangers. Societal ideology no longer has any boundaries, no safeguards that protect the most vulnerable--our children.

Future blog posts will take on these challenges in more detail. But in general--one thing is clear. When the norm is this unhealthy, it's time to "Rebel Against Rebellion." That idea came from the first chapter in Ed Stetzer's book Subversive Kingdom: Living as Agents of Gospel Transformation.

Transform LA would encourage every Christian to consider how Stetzer's message could lead toward the solution of the first five societal challenges. He said: "The world's illegal rebellion is illegitimate. It certainly feels real, of course--IS real--but it doesn't change the reality that God is still Ruler of everything" (p. 5). 

Non-Christians may also want to consider the implications of Stetzer's message. If there is a God, and He is Ruler of everything--shouldn't we rebel against the ways that denigrate His authority--ways that result in turning valuable human beings into modern-day slaves?

A rebellion instigated an unhealthy standard that needs transformation in every sphere of society. To rebel against rebellion could significantly lead our culture to a healthier world, one where our children and grandchildren can be valued as human beings. Can we do it? No, but God can. The solution starts with personal transformation in each and every one of us. That's the 6th societal challenge: Christ's Missional command to go express the good news of Jesus Christ and to help people follow Him.
 
There's one more. The 7th challenge is Celebration. As we see Christ's transformational power expressed in individual lives, our society will start being transformed in ways that will start eliminating the problems that lead to human trafficking. Isn't it time to get involved and take the steps necessary to make a difference?







Thursday, May 9, 2013

Moms. Ducks. Raves.


Guest post by Rob Myers of Plur Life Ministries. A few TLA comments at the end.







Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  
"On a recent Sunday morning, Colleen encountered a mother duck leading  her 9 ducklings across a 4 lane highway near Palm Springs. This mother (who must've been on drugs) seemed totally unaware of the danger she was putting herself in, and her babies as well. With no thought to the traffic, the mom jumped off the curb and began her journey with the little ones following behind in a row. Colleen stopped, put on her flashers and fortunately, so did all the other traffic.

Disaster averted, or was it?

As Momma duck hopped up the opposing curb, the drivers all got back to their lives and the traffic began to flow. Colleen hesitated long enough to notice that the babies were unable to make it up the curb and were stuck in the gutter. Try as they might, they were not making it, and the mom didn't know what to do.

Colleen made a quick u-turn and put her car along the curb. She got out and approached the ducklings. Mom was not happy about it, but Colleen reached down and scooped up a handful of duckies and popped them up on the curb; momma duck flying back and forth at Colleen and making a scene. One more scoop and all the baby ducks were frantically running away from Colleen and off to follow momma to the nearby pond.

Rave moms take time out of their lives to help hurting kids in trouble, to show them not only the love of Christ, but the "agape" love that all moms should give, but unfortunately, not all do. Some ravers have great families, and are just wayward kids, but the vast majority we have met come from very broken homes, and similar to the mother duck, their moms (and dads) just don't get it.

Oh, if only moms would realize their power.

Every time an overdosing or lost kid is upset, scared, or freaking out, all our rave moms have to say is, "It's okay honey, I'm a mom," and the kid INSTANTLY calms down. Every time.

When a gang had a girl surrounded on the street in the middle of the night one of our moms walked into the circle and said, "I'm  a mom," and they parted to let her walk out with her arm around the girl.  

Over and over we have heard the words, "I wish I had a mom like you." 

What's more powerful than drugs, knives & guns? Dare I say, it's the agape love of a Christian mom.

So I say to our rave moms: I love you, and you have my utmost respect and admiration.  May your Mother's Day be the best one yet, and may thousands of other moms follow your lead.

And to all the other moms out there: Harness that power and raise Godly kids -  and even if your kids are wayward, never stop loving and praying for them.  There is always hope.  

You have more power than you think." 

Until heaven is crowded,

Pastor Rob
_________

Pastor Rob is right, Moms have tremendous power. They can listen, encourage, and cheer their kids on or they can tear them down, inflicting wounds that last a lifetime. One 97-year-old woman, told me a few years ago, with tears in her eyes, that her mother never let her grow up. 

Girls wanting to be grown up often attend raves hoping to find Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. They may find a counterfeit for a few fleeting moments," but in the process many vulnerable girls put themselves at risk of becoming prey for human traffickers.

Most of us moms do the best we know how. Still, we are flawed human beings and often fail. Only the grace of Jesus Christ can bring the depth of peace, love, unity and respect we long for at any age. Find out more from Pastor Rob at http://www.plurway.com/