Sunday, April 6, 2008
I hope to start posting more frequently again soon, but we'll have to see how that goes. In the meantime, if you want to keep up with the latest news of the Carolina Clapham Circle, and especially if you live close enough to join us, sign up on the form to the left, and I'll add you to the e-mail list.
Monday, February 18, 2008
In a chapter on the Clapham Group, Hildebrand notes a dozen characteristics of this group that accomplished so much in the abolition of legalized slavery in the 1800s:
They set clear and specific goals
They researched carefully to produce reliable and irrefutable evidence
They built a committed support community. The battle could not be carried on alone
They refused to accept setbacks as final defeats
They committed to the struggle for the long haul, even if it took decades
They focused on issues, not allowing opponents’ vicious attacks on their person to distract them or provoke them into similar response
They empathized with opponents’ position so that meaningful interaction could take place
They accepted incremental gains when everything could not be achieved at once
They cultivated grassroots support when rebuffed by those in power
They transcended single-issue mentality by addressing issues as part of [the] overall moral climate
They worked through recognized channels without resort[ing] to dirty tactics or violence
They proceeded with a sense of mission and conviction that God would providentially guide if they were truly acting in His service.
I don’t know if they had the wisdom to incorporate these characteristics right
from the start, or if the characteristics came from lessons learned in the public square, or if the group simply stumbled upon them as they went, but they certainly are the kinds of characteristics that can help win the day. May our group, and all modern-day abolitionists, develop these characteristics as we fight this battle.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
There’s something about distorted guitars and basses that I really enjoy. But more than that, when someone is screaming lyrics at the top of his lungs, it makes me think, “Hey, this guy really means this.” And when those lyrics glorify and honor God, that’s pretty cool.
Recently I’ve come across a group called Pillar. They’ve been around for years, but I had never really noticed them before. I’ve purchased a few of their songs and one video from iTunes, and I like what I’m hearing. One song, “Frontline,” seems to apply not only to Christians in general but also to those of us who want to make a difference in the fight against human trafficking. The chorus says:
Everybody, with your fists raised high
Let me hear your battle cry tonight
Stand beside, or step aside
We’re on the frontline
You should hear lead singer Rob Beckley screaming those lyrics—it’s inspiring. Well, I suppose if hard rock turns you off, you may not find it so inspiring. But I know that the members of the Carolina Clapham Circle feel that, if we’re not on the frontline already, that’s where we want to be. We’ve felt a call from God that makes us believe that’s where He wants us, too, and I pray that we’ll be obedient and ready for the fight. Let me hear your battle cry!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
There is one place in the world where there is an aggregate, an accumulation, of human suffering—that is, in the heart of God. God then takes some of those heartaches and funnels them down into the hearts of His servants so that they might sense His burden and proclaim His message. This holy anxiety is an indispensable prerequisite to significant communication.
I think this holy anxiety is also a prerequisite to significant action, and when I look at my friends in the Carolina Clapham Circle and at other Christ-followers who are fighting human trafficking, I think we’ve experienced exactly what Zacharias was talking about. God has given us a glimpse of the suffering of slaves, and this compels us not only to proclaim a message of freedom but to work for it as well.
I also like what Zacharias said about God’s funneling some of humanity’s heartaches into our hearts. If we try to look at all the world’s suffering, our concern remains intellectual—it doesn’t become a burden. Sara Groves has a song on her cd “Tell Me What You Know” that says “At two you’re at abstraction.” I think she means that when we see one person’s suffering, it hits us a lot harder than when we see masses and statistics.
So God often gives us a picture of one person—maybe a girl in a Cambodian brothel (see the award-winning video at Love146) or a man who was enslaved in Brazil’s charcoal industry (see excerpts from the “Bound by Promises” video). The image stays with us, and we can’t stand the thought of that individual being enslaved.
I hope God will give you this kind of burden and that you will join the fight to eradicate slavery and restore its victims.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Lederer talks about the case that drew her to this cause as well as her own faith journey. Along the way, the article gives some basic facts about human trafficking in general and about sex trafficking in particular. And near the end of the article, Lederer makes a couple of interesting points. First, she talks about the role of the church:
“I’m convinced faith-based communities all around the world are the only ones qualified to provide long-term care for trafficking survivors. It’s the area of biggest need concerning sex trafficking, and I think it’s a perfect area for the church to take leadership.”
Second, she talks about the Christians who are involved in the fight against human trafficking, and her words remind me of my fellow Carolina Clapham Circle members:
“I’m hopeful because so many good people are beginning to work on this issue. We’re building a critical mass; it’s a new human-rights movement. And it’s filled with Christians and others who understand we have to be shoulder-to-shoulder to fight an epic battle with these new contemporary forms of slavery.”
I’m hopeful, too, when I see the caliber of people who are fighting against human trafficking. But most of all, I’m hopeful because I know God hates oppression and is powerful to save, and if He is calling us to fight this battle, He will equip us for what we need to do.
Monday, January 14, 2008
• Making contacts in India
• Working on construction of safehouses
• Being invited to speak at a women’s conference
• Looking for ways to network and learn about the problem on an upcoming mission trip to Cambodia
• Corresponding with legislators about strengthening state laws
• Locating a human trafficking curriculum that can be used by church groups or others
• Getting coverage of this issue into a local newspaper
Our special guest was Sandra Johnson, director of Triad Ladder of Hope, a shelter in High Point, NC. Sandra has been fighting human trafficking for several years and has worked alongside both the FBI and ICE, in addition to presenting training sessions for law enforcement and others. Sandra encouraged us to help facilitate training for law enforcement, hospitals, housing inspectors and others in our own communities. And even in just the past few days, we’re already starting to do just that! I hope we can keep Sandra and her staff booked solid with training opportunities.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Some are holding press conferences. One group obtained space on buses for public service posters about human trafficking. Some groups are holding training sessions, candlelight vigils or exhibits of art created by trafficking survivors.
Let’s do all we can to raise awareness. The traffickers have been able to hide in the dark for too long; the more people learn about this issue, the more our ranks will grow as we seek to rescue and restore victims, prosecute traffickers and finally abolish slavery forever.