PRISM January/February 2013
Person or Productâ€”What do you
Discerning the face of modern slavery Just eating: Environmentalism at the table
Be an abolitionist Refugees from (itâ€™s easier than you think) polygamy
When pastors abuse Return to (a vegetarian) eden
PRISM Vol. 20, No. 1 Jan/Feb 2013
Editor Creative Director Copy Editor Deputy Director Publisher Assistant to Publisher
Kristyn Komarnicki Rhian Tomassetti Leslie Hammond Sarah Withrow King Ronald J. Sider Josh Cradic
Contributing Editors Christine Aroney-Sine Myron Augsburger Clive Calver Rudy Carrasco Andy Crouch J. James DeConto Gloria Gaither David P. Gushee Jan Johnson Craig S. Keener Peter Larson Richard Mouw Philip Olson Jenell Williams Paris Christine Pohl James Skillen Al Tizon Jim Wallis
Issac Canales M. Daniel Carroll R. Paul Alexander James Edwards Perry Glanzer Ben Hartley Stanley Hauerwas Jo Kadlecek Marcie Macolino Mary Naber Earl Palmer Derek Perkins Elizabeth D. Rios Lisa Thompson Heidi Rolland Unruh Bruce Wydick
Subscription Information Renewing your subscription? Visit EvangelicalsforSocialAction.org/PRISMRenew Regular PRISM Subscription Only $30 a year. Type: US/Canada via air mail Good Stewards Subscription (PDF) Receive the same PRISM as everyone else but in your email box. Now free! International Subscription Receive PRISM via PDF only. Now free! Library Subscription Order PRISM for your library! Only $45 a year. www.PRISMmagazine.org P.O. Box 367 Wayne, PA 19087 484-384-2990/PRISM@eastern.edu Note: Standard A mail is not forwarded; please contact us if your address changes.
A Publication of Evangelicals for Social Action The Sider Center on Ministry and Public Policy www.EvangelicalsforSocialAction.org Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University
All contents © 2013 ESA/PRISM magazine.
Freedom for the Captives
3 Talk Back
Letters to the Editor
4 Music Notes
Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts
5 Art & Soul
© International Justice Mission
january/ february 2013
6 On the Front Lines of Abolition
Art (and the Gospel) for the Masses
Five contemporary slavery fighters discuss their weapons of choice: law enforcement, media, education, aftercare, and prevention.
34 May I have a word?
16 Fierce Compassion
Sharing the Shame
36 ministry matters
An American teenager and her mother discover spiritual kinship with an early 19thcentury abolitionist, a bond that opens their eyes to the evils of present-day human trafficking.
Sill Davis of Emmaus Ministries
18 refuse to do nothing
Bringing Jesus to the Streets:
38 Celebrate / Say What? 39 leading ladies
Being the right kind of nosy neighbor is one of the best ways to fight modern slavery.
22 Escape from Polygamy
Women and children fleeing fundamentalist Mormon communities find hope and a safe place to land among the loving volunteers of Holding Out HELP.
40 off the shelf
26 Saving Bathsheba
43 Word, deed & spirit
Blue Like Rock
44 washington watch
Mary and Money
45 a different shade of green Peace Begins on Our Plates
46 on being the church
48 Ron Sider
Should We Call It Sin?
When spiritual leaders sexually abuse the people under their care, the entire body of Christ suffers.
30 The Dangerous Lie That We Tell
A look at the choices we face when dealing with the church’s heretical promise of earthly euphoria.
“I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will take you by the hand and guard you, and I will give you to my people, Israel, as a symbol of my covenant with them. And you will be a light to guide the nations. You will open the eyes of the blind. You will free the captives from prison, releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.” Isaiah 42:6-7
Reflections from the Editor
Freedom for the Captives
Dealing with various forms of slavery around the world today, this issue of PRISM has been created to mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863, in the middle of his nation’s bloody civil war. Although woefully limited in its reach—it declared freedom for slaves in the “rebellious states” but ignored slavery in other areas of the country—it was a critical turning point for the nation. By the war’s end close to 200,000 black soldiers had joined the Union military so that for the first time both free and newly freed men fought side by side. While an exciting chapter in history, the Emancipation Proclamation is a sobering reminder of how the fight for justice is always flawed and never complete. It would be almost another decade before black men had the right to vote and almost another century before the Civil Rights Movement fought for full integration of the descendants of slavery in American society. Today, while slavery is illegal in every country, the global slave trade is bigger—and the price of a slave smaller—than ever. But as you’ll see in the following pages, awareness of the evils of slavery is also more widespread than ever, and everyday citizens are enlisted in the fight in record numbers. In fact, all of us can and should be active abolitionists—whether through prayer and financial partnership with groups on the ground, keeping our eyes and ears open to suspicious activity in our own neighborhoods, or training for more direct engagement in prevention, law enforcement, or aftercare. There’s a crazy story about a slave in Acts 16. Paul and Silas and a bunch of their pals were going to pray in the Roman colony of Philippi, a place where slavery was a legal and accepted feature of the culture, when they “were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future.”
We’re told that this slave “earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortunetelling,” but a p p a re n t l y she was so distracted by the presence of the godly group that she got up and started following them around and shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved!”—over and over and over again “for many days.” The spirit in her recognized these men as agents of God and just wouldn’t shut up about it. We expect the slave’s owners to be annoyed by the disruption of their fortune-telling business, but the first exasperation reported comes from Paul, who “became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!’ At that moment the spirit left her.” Why was Paul annoyed? After all, he was getting free—and truthful!—advertising from the spirit in this woman. And why wasn’t the exorcism motivated by love for the woman rather than irritation at the spirit? Why didn’t Paul take issue with the woman’s owners, who were taking advantage of the poor woman and profiting from the evil spirit that inhabited her? It wasn’t until later, when they “realized that their hope of making money was gone,” that the owners “seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.” The men were flogged, imprisoned, and eventually freed, but what about the slave woman? We never hear from her again. Like I said, it’s a crazy story. But it makes me think. As we Christ-followers walk through the world, are we easily recognizable as bearers of light? Is anyone announcing, “There go servants of the Most High who know the secret of salvation!” as we pass? Do we get annoyed at the evil that dogs our steps, at the
malevolence that inhabits the world so brazenly in the form of human trafficking and the satanic bullying directed at the most vulnerable members of our global family? Regardless of our motivation—whether it’s annoyance over personal inconvenience, such as seeing our neighborhoods uglified by prostitution and plagued by exploitative labor practices, or righteous indignation at the terrible injustice of oppression—do we turn and confront evil when we see it, or do we tolerate it as the inevitable white noise of a fallen world? I recently learned of a young American woman, barely out of her teens, who is awaiting the birth of a baby she plans to place for adoption. From what we know about her life, we suspect that she has been sexually trafficked. She doesn’t know who the baby’s father is, and we know that she has used drugs and already served time in prison. It is not hard to imagine the abuse and brutality to which she has been subjected in her young life. She’s HIVpositive and has cancer for which she cannot receive treatment while pregnant. Bringing this baby to term and making sure the child is placed in a loving home is likely her last chance to do something good in the world. She is dying, but in dying she offers her child a life. This broken young woman is a victim of terrible injustice, yes, but she is also a hero. And in my prayers, this week anyway, she is the face of Jesus for me. Let’s remember that our time, too, is limited in this world. What good thing do we want to leave behind in the world before we go? Accepting that, like the Emancipation Proclamation, our efforts will be imperfect and incomplete, in what way can we, like this young mother, incarnate Christ by making sure that someone—even one person—is safe from a life of abuse and exploitation because we sacrificed something to make it so? You’ll find no lack of ideas in these pages.
Kristyn Komarnicki is in awe of how God uses pain to teach us about his passionate love for us. She’d prefer that he taught us painlessly, but she’s smart enough to know that she’s not smart enough to come up with a better plan than God’s (although that doesn’t stop her from trying).
—Curtis W. Book Peace and Justice Coordinator MCC East Coast Relief Philadelphia, Pa.
The “Beyond Labels” issue was fantastic (and not just because my book was favorably reviewed in it)! It’s one thing to call for mutual understanding and reconciliation, and quite another to do it. PRISM’s retreat-style dialogue inspires me to design new forms of dialogue in my college classes, asking questions that can help students move beyond stance-taking to deep, authentic, embodied engagement with people different from themselves. Homosexuality is not, first and foremost, an “issue” to be settled or a “problem” to be solved. This PRISM issue highlights how sexuality is part of everyone’s life, a wonderful and wonderfully challenging dimension of our created, embodied existence. We all benefit from listening, articulating, wondering, and journeying together toward better understanding of discipleship and holiness. Kudos to PRISM for taking leadership! —Jenell Paris Professor of anthropology, Messiah College Mechanicsburg, Pa.
We write on behalf of Safety Net, a national coalition of LGBT+ and allied students and alumni of Christian colleges, in response to your issue on identity and sexual orientation. We’re grateful for your willingness to model a dialogue where people can be understood as people and not as opponents in an abstract debate. Despite your best intentions, however, we found this issue problematic. Unfortunately, PRISM/ESA does not seem to be the venue for real dialogue. With the exception of Justin Lee, we did not feel our voices as LGBT+ persons, and particularly as LGBT+ Christians, were represented. Serious dialogue is not unidirectional, and it’s disappointing that PRISM refused to include those who believe that biblical Christianity can include sexual intimacy for non-heterosexuals. We found Ron Sider’s gay marriage article a disturbing work of poor scholarship (especially since the American Academy of Pediatrics disagrees with his beliefs). That this argumentative essay was left unanswered silenced dialogue around the topic. For this reason, we’re grateful OneEastern secured a response from Dr. Turner to Sider’s article at OneEastern.com). Her response highlights our concerns with Sider’s article and cites studies and evidence unlike Sider’s claims. BJUnity (Greenville, S.C.) Cedarville Out (Cedarville, Ohio) OneEastern (St. Davids, Pa.) OneGeorgeFox (Newberg, Ore.) OneWestmont (Westmont, Calif.) OneWheaton (Wheaton, Ill.)
While I am aware that some in the gay community take exception to Ron Sider’s article arguing against gay marriage, I have a slightly different take on it. If the focus of this issue of PRISM is learning to accept differing viewpoints, then finding differing viewpoints represented shouldn’t really be that big a deal. What, we can think them but we can’t say them? If we as gays become vocal about what c Join the Conversation should not be said, we simply reverse heads and tails on the oppression coin, @ Email the editor at KKomarni@Eastern.edu rather than eliminating the coin altof Like us on facebook.com/PRISMmagazine gether. For that reason I’m glad there t Follow us on Twitter @PRISMMag1 was something in PRISM as articulate e Sign up for ePistle, ESA’s free weekly and forceful as Ron’s article. As Christians we need to be thoughtful, anae-news packed with provacative essays and lytical, and understanding of positions practical ideas. that are different from our own, even EvangelicalsforSocialAction.org/ePistle. when we disagree. —James Cates Fort Wayne, Ind.
It’s taken a couple of weeks to really digest all that your “Beyond Labels” issue had to offer, and I’m as full of gratitude to you now as I was when I first read it. It took enormous courage for PRISM to delve into the subject of sexual minorities in the church, particularly given that so many professed followers of Jesus Christ refuse to believe that there are any true gay Christians in the body of Christ. While I would have liked to have seen the perspective of a faithfully Christian same-sex couple, I commend you for the irenic and informative tone of the issue. I was particularly struck by the idea of revival coming to the Lord’s church through those in it who are seen as, and feel themselves to be, sexual minorities—lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and the transgendered. I know several LGBT Christians who love the Lord with all of their hearts. If their intelligence and devotion are a sign of where the body of Christ is headed, we all have reason to be thankful. Your article on the deceptions and fruitlessness of “ex-gay” ministries was particularly helpful. I’m quite certain, having first helped with one such ministry 28 years ago, that the leaders probably have good intentions. Unfortunately, their own internal struggles and attempts to compensate for them by inviting others to share a “freedom” they themselves have not realized is beyond unwise. It’s harmful and, I think, a blot on our faith. It’s time to seriously wrestle with whether or not the apostle Paul was writing in the New Testament about what we know now to be true of same-sex relationships, given that in his day there was no demographic, nor known at-birth orientation, that describes what we now call a “gay man” or a “lesbian.” Even when we can’t agree, or can’t come to our own satisfactory biblical conclusion, it’s incumbent upon us to go with what we do know, which is our duty in Christ to love those around us and trust that the Holy Spirit of Christ will guide them into what they need to know just as we who don’t experience same-sex attraction expect. Thank you for reinforcing that the Spirit is more than able and willing to guide all of us into conformation to the character of Christ—gay, transgendered, lesbian, or straight.
I appreciated the recent issue on homosexuality. I expect that the articulation of ESA’s position and the proposal of how to deal with it will have far-reaching consequences in the wider Christian community. Thank you.
—Keely Emerine-Mix Moscow, Idaho
This is socialist music—how did that become a bad word?— inviting people into an experience of the collective even as Wimbish sings intimate closet prayers.
Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts
Finished with their soundcheck under a big, white revival tent at the Wild Goose Festival last summer, the musicians left the stage and distributed themselves at tables amongst the 100 or so people who had come to see them. Like most of those people, I had never heard David Wimbish and The Collection until that moment. But for me, even with bigname Christian artists like Gungor and David Crowder and one of my all-time favorites, Over the Rhine, on the main stage, this set turned out to be the highlight of the entire festival. The Collection’s guitarist and flutist Tom Troyer came and sat right next to my two daughters and me. We’d met at the festival’s open mic the day before, so I figured he was just coming to say hello and wait for the powers-that-be to call the band to come play. But then, a few tables away, Wimbish started feverishly strumming his mandolin, and the 14 members of The Collection rose from their seats. Troyer gave a couple heralding hits with some drumsticks on our wooden table, and off he went to join his mates on stage. Such displays can sometimes come off a bit self-aggrandizing, but when there are 14 of them, it’s more like songs emerging from the people. And that’s the beautiful paradox of The Collection. See, you’ve got these 14 people playing an even greater number of different instruments: keyboards, bowed strings, rhythm strings, electric bass, glockenspiel, woodwind, brass, accordion, drum kit, and assorted percussion, plus 14 voices composing a ragtag choir. All these different sounds provide a palate for soul-stirring swells, explosive crescendos, and toe-tapping beats. By the end of the fourth song, my little girl and I just had to get up and start “Dancin’ in the Mud,” as the song title demanded. We joined two dozen barefoot 20-somethings who apparently felt the same way. Later in the set, Wimbish sang, “If you could just see a little mustard seed in me, would you make it grow into your kingdom?” And when the band built underneath his Avett-Brothers-like melody a simple guitar strum joined by banjo, accordion, gentle violin, and then a machine-gun snare rolling into some fat, rocking-chair bass plucks on the low end, it was like watching the kingdom growing right before our eyes. This is socialist
music—how did that become a bad word?—inviting people into an experience of the collective even as Wimbish sings intimate closet prayers. His lyrics fixate on human depravity and the gift of grace. “Dirt,” which, judging from the number of YouTube hits, appears to be the lead single off the band’s last selftitled EP, is a blacklist of biblical sinners—Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Solomon, David, Peter, Samson, Saul—before turning from a minor to a major key with the stories of grace that redeemed these anti-heroes. “All that I can see is that You can’t see the dirt in me,” Wimbish sings. And those of us in the great nebulous audience of the digital music era—we can’t see the dirt either. What we can see is musical genius, a rare gift, the image of the Creator in his creature. For all the socialism of “The Collective”—this is what people kept erroneously calling them at Wild Goose, and it fits my point better here—it all starts with Wimbish. He doesn’t just strum that mandolin or banjo or guitar and tell everyone to follow him. He played nearly every instrument on the recordings and scored them all so his friends could read and play their parts. On one song—just one song! —someone else recorded the drums, and another person the piano. So Wimbish imagined, practiced, and recorded dozens upon dozens of unique little melodies to serve the whole. How does one person have time to develop proficiency on all those instruments? He wants the music to be about the collective, but he has to lead. To me, that says something profoundly theological: We may feel called to diminish ourselves, to reflect God’s light back to God and to others, but we can’t deny our gifts; those, too, are mirrors to God, and their passive praise may be even more important than our active attempts at piety. “I had thought that I could change the whole world with my songs, but I can’t even make my mind up on who you are,” Wimbish sings in “Seeds,” halfway through the album. But then the EP concludes, at the very end of the very last song, “I’ll leave the [words] that sound like love ‘cause they must have come from heaven above.” And the whole band, with a big, joyous gang vocal undergirded by one of the biggest, most joyous instrumental peaks of the whole album, just keeps repeating those words: “They must have come from heaven above! Yeah, they must have come from heaven above! Yeah, they must have come from heaven above …” Yeah, that sounds about right.
Jesse James DeConto is a freelance writer based in Durham, N.C. He also writes, sings, and performs indie pop with his band, The Pinkerton Raid. Find out more at JesseJamesDeConto.com.
In the book Art and Soul: Signposts for Christians in the Arts, authors Hilary Brand and Adrienne Chaplin draw a parallel between modern-day art museums and religious shrines: “Go inside any gallery and the atmosphere is hushed and reverent. If you dare to touch any exhibit, so swift are the attendants’ reprimands that you could almost imagine a punishment of instant death... The irony, of course, is that as art museums become more like churches, so churches in their turn become more like museums.” In a world in which many look to art galleries as strongholds of truth and transcendence, while thinking of churches as receptacles for stale and outdated ideas, it’s rare to find a contemporary artist whose work is equally at home in both settings. Sadao Watanabe, however, is just such an
Watanabe liked to see his prints hanging “where people ordinarily gather, because Jesus brought the gospel for the people.”
like organic and mineral pigments dissolved in soybean milk, to create his color washes and printed on handmade papers. Despite living in a nation where Christians constitute less than 3 percent of the population, the young Watanabe was invited to church by a neighbor. Shortly after overcoming a severe case of tuberculosis, Watanabe accepted Christ and was baptized at age 17. Throughout his life, Watanabe’s faith heavily influenced—one might even say dominated—his art. Watanabe reportedly prepared himself to create his prints, each of which portrays a scene from the Bible, by meditating on the texts from which he drew his images. Watanabe’s deep personal devotion in combination with the distinctive mingei influence
The Woman of Canaan, 1962
artist. This Japanese printmaker’s work, which portrays exclusively biblical scenes, has been exhibited everywhere from San Francisco’s Episcopal Grace Cathedral to New York’s prestigious Museum of Modern Art—not to mention the White House, the Vatican Museum, the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. Born in Tokyo in 1913, Watanabe dropped out of school at an early age to become a dyer’s apprentice. At age 24, he encountered the work of master textile designer Keisuke Serizawa at an exhibit and was inspired by it. Watanabe eventually studied under Serizawa, who taught him traditional Japanese techniques like katazome (fabric dying) and kappazuri (block printing). As a result of the influence of Serizawa and other mentors, Watanabe became a part of the Japanese folk art movement, or mingei. In keeping with the philosophy behind the mingei movement, Watanabe used natural materials,
of his teachers helped him to produce images that are refreshingly un-gimmicky. In a Christian visual landscape so often littered with sentimentality and kitsch, the humble straightforwardness of Watanabe’s simplified figures, with their segmented bodies and limited color palette, provide a welcome break for the eye. Watanabe’s prints are characterized by graphic black outlines imposed onto thick momigami (kneaded) or washi (handmade) paper. The richly textured wood-pulp papers provide a striking contrast to the flat, stylized figures printed on them in black and highlighted with three or four colors at most. This combination produces an effect that feels more ancient than
modern, despite the fact that most of Watanabe’s prints were made in the ’70s and ’80s. The apparent simplicity of Watanabe’s prints, however, should not be mistaken for a lack of skill or forethought. Watanabe’s attitude towards his art was characteristically mingei in that it was meant to be “by the people, for the people,” and his highly accessible style reflects this. Though it may hang alongside that of artists like Ad Reinhardt or Ellsworth Kelly, Watanabe’s work refuses to shroud itself in the obscurity that makes so much modern art difficult for the average viewer to appreciate. Watanabe intentionally sought to create pieces that would portray gospel stories in a way the viewer would find intimately relatable. He once stated that he most liked to see his prints hanging “where people ordinarily gather, because Jesus brought the gospel for the people.” For Watanabe, the application of this philosophy meant creating art that was deeply rooted in his own culture, even if his culture was one that had historically rejected and even persecuted Christians. This meant art that, though celebrated internationally, was originally created by a Japanese man for a Japanese audience. It has been noted that Watanabe’s biblical characters often appear in a Japanese context: Many appear to be dressed in traditional Japanese garb like kimonos; his various portrayals of the Last Supper include food and table settings that resemble a typical Japanese celebration meal (complete with what appears to be sushi and sake). Whether one is Japanese or not, however, Watanabe’s articulation of the Bible through his own cultural lens communicates a message worth hearing for any Christian: The gospel is equally relevant to and at home in all cultures. The God who became human in a specific Middle Eastern nation—speaking a specific language and living by specific local customs—is just as willing to enter into the lives of his followers today, regardless of whether the wine they drink in communion is fermented from rice or grapes.
Art & Soul
Art (and the Gospel) for the Masses
Whitney Bauck is a photographer and art student at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill.
Glen Miles of Love146
O FRont of Abol IJMâ€™s Saju Mathew
Gaz Kishere of Love146
On the Lines lition Documentarist Benjamin Nolot
Modern abolitionists discuss their strategies and experiences in the fight against by Curt Devine global slavery
fter hearing about the horrors of slavery, William Wilberforce stood before Parliament and shouted, “Stop!”, and in 1807 the British slave trade was abolished. Two centuries later, human trafficking and sex slavery still plague more than 27 million men, women, and children in 151 countries, and modern abolitionists continue to stand up against this injustice. We talked with five experts about their experiences and the different strategies they use—intervention, prevention, and media—to combat slavery on the front lines. Saju Mathew could not ignore the burden he felt for victims of human trafficking. After working as a litigation lawyer in New Jersey for 14 years, he joined International Justice Mission (IJM) in 2008, where he led a flagship program in Chenniai, India, that partnered with police and government to intervene on behalf of those who are being victimized. In 2011 he returned to the US to become director of operations for all of IJM’s South Asia offices as they attempt to change local justice systems to protect the poor from the evils of slavery and trafficking.
How would you compare modern slavery with the kind we read about in history books? Mathew: For the people that are being victimized by it, it’s really no different. It’s essentially taking away someone’s freedom. In the past, slavery was something that was out in the open because it was culturally acceptable. Today it’s happening, but it’s not talked about and people look the other way. The practical reality is, it’s exactly the same thing—it’s just one person owning another person. IJM fights slavery by enforcing human rights through legislation. Can you tell us about this process? Mathew: IJM’s key approach is to make sure that the laws that are already on the books in developing countries are properly enforced. The challenge we see is that countries over time have taken the effort to put these laws in place, but unfortunately the mechanisms they have don’t deliver what they are designed to do. We respect the laws of the country, but we are just coming
“When I see more people getting involved and new legislation, I have hope for the future.” When did you first see slavery face to face? Mathew: I saw it right when I got to South Asia. I met an individual named Chinapian, and I just saw the fear and hesitation he had, the sense that he had no rights. His face was covered by a beard, his clothes were tattered, and you could see in his eyes that he hadn’t slept in days. He looked so haggard. He and his wife and children were forced to work and live in a rice mill. After we had done the rescue process, the government tried to get some background information from him. An official turned to him and said, “Tell me how old you are.” He had absolutely no idea. He looked to be about 30, but he had no concept of numbers or time. The official got frustrated, insisting that he give an age, so he blurted out, “I’m 10 years old, sir,” as his teenage daughter stood next to him. You could tell that he had no tools to successfully navigate through the world. I realized then how easily a person like that can be victimized.
alongside the government as a resource to assure that these laws would be implemented more effectively to prevent slavery, trafficking, and all human rights violations. Can you walk me through the steps of a rescue operation? Mathew: First, we gather the evidence. We want to make sure there is good documentation [of the crime] before the government officials come, so that they can act on it. IJM’s ultimate goal is to make sure that the law and the public justice system that are in place in countries function properly. We never go in without the proper government backing, because we want to make sure that the victims are protected. When the police raid a brothel on a rescue operation, we go along with them as a resource to offer expertise. Acting quickly and efficiently
is very critical. The next thing is to get the victim out of the dangerous circumstance and into a safer location, typically a police station or an official’s office. Often there is a fear mentality in the minds of these victims, so our teams of social workers make them feel supported and listen to their stories. We want to give them confidence to share how they have been victimized, and that is essential for police to have the right evidence to convict the perpetrators.
Mathew (on right) and another IJM staff member visit with children and families recently released from slavery. IJM partners with social service organizations to ensure all clients receive comprehensive aftercare. © International Justice Mission
Glen Miles (back row on right) and Love 146 colleague Jim Ehrman pose alongside army trainers and staff from Cambodian Hope with an anti-trafficking training poster.
What advice would you give to a young person who wants to take part in the anti-slavery movement but doesn’t know the next step? Mathew: If the desire is there to want to engage this issue, the first step is to get educated about various types of slavery and trafficking. Once you are knowledgeable on the issue, you have to spread the news. Everyone has a network of influence they are a part of, whether it’s a school, church, or dorm. Then, we need advocates working with local government representatives to be voices for new laws and proper measures. When I see more people getting involved and new legislation, I have hope for the future. Glenn Miles and Gaz Kishere of Love146 strive to stop child sex slavery before it starts. Working as the organization’s director of Asia prevention and European operations director, respectively, they use unconventional strategies to prevent injustice in dozens of countries. From rescue missions to awareness campaigns, there are many ways to fight child slavery. Why did you choose to work through prevention? Miles: There is a story about babies in a river, and it’s quite a good illustration for prevention. There are some people having a picnic, and they notice a baby floating in the river next to them. Somebody jumps in the river to rescue the baby, and then they notice more babies floating, so more people jump in to save them. Then one guy decides to run upstream, and the others ask, “Why aren’t you jumping in to save them?” And he says, “I’m going to stop the guy who’s throwing them in.” Unless we go to the source of the problem, we’ll never put a stop to it. We try to reduce the vulnerability of victims. A range of different things—like poverty, prejudice, and stigma— make children vulnerable to sex trafficking. Our projects focus on educating children and helping them find sustainable work so that they don’t have to sell their children.
Immediately following a rescue operation with local authorities, Saju Mathew, IJM’s director of operations for South Asia, and other IJM staff members coordinate transportation for slaves freed from forced labor. © International Justice Mission
Can you share an example of how this works in a country? Kishere: We identified Maldova as both a supply country and a transit country. When the Iron Curtain came down, their economy collapsed and the whole country became a fishing ground for human traffickers. We did some research and found that girls ages 13 to 17 were least aware of being trafficked. As a result of that research, we released Escape Magazine, a 40-page magazine that shows the dangers and strategies of traffickers in a way this age group would connect with. We received permission from top education officials to distribute them in 80 schools plus other communities. We had a letter come back from a 15-year-old girl from one of those schools. She was in a difficult situation where her father, an alcoholic, was trying to get her to travel abroad with her uncle. She was supposed to work and send money back to the family, but because of the magazine she recognized the significant indicators that she would be trafficked. She resisted and stayed safe. This is the kind of prevention we do with education. Continued on page 12
2011 Scott Robertson
How far we've come... 13th Amendment
(adjusted to today’s value)
Declaration of human rights “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.” December 10, 1948: United Nations General Assembly adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
...or have we?
Transparency in Supply chains act In 2010, the California state legislature
$40,000 Average price of a slave in 1809 was $40,000
13th Amendment to the US Constitution making slavery (and indentured servitude) illegal
Child-bonded labor enacts the California Transparency in
Imported goods made by childbonded labors are banned by the United States
2000 The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act is enacted to “provide the tools to combat trafficking in persons both worldwide and domestically...”
Supply Chains Act, requiring retail sellers and manufacturers over a certain size to publicly disclose what efforts, if any, they are taking to eliminate forced labor and human trafficking from their supply chains.
2009 $ 90
Average price of a slave in 2009 was $90.
Glen Miles, right, speaks with Love146 colleague Jim Ehrman and Imagine Goods' cofounder Aiyana Ehrman (ImagineGoods.org) in Soi Nana in Bangkok
Miles: In Cambodia we are working with the local army. We are challenging them to protect children from being trafficked across border areas, because they are key people who can prevent this from happening. Why is sex slavery able to persist so widely in the developing world? Miles: You have to remember slavery isn’t just happening in the developing world—it’s in Europe and the US. The average profit return on a slave is about $25,000. Because of this, along with the fact that the legal risk of human trafficking is very low, this problem is widely perpetuated. The profits now are larger than they have ever been. How do you prevent a girl who has escaped sex slavery from getting sucked back into the industry? Miles: This is a real challenge. In Cambodia there are many shelters where trafficking victims can get immediate care, but in the long term, unless you have a reintegration plan, most will go back where they came from. They can’t stay in a shelter forever. We provide them with soft skills, which are the things that help them function in society, and hard skills, which are the tools they need for jobs. But most of the healing they need really only comes through relationships, where people walk the journey of restoration with them. How common are threats from traffickers against Love146 and other anti-slavery organizations? Miles: I just had a conversation with someone who was horrifically tortured while he was involved in an intervention to rescue some victims. Whenever you are cutting off someone’s income, people are going to be upset. That’s the nature of the business. We are taking their product and affecting their profit margin. We aren’t at high risk, but that can quickly change. I’ve been in situations in the past where I’ve been threatened. It’s one of those things
“The average profit return on a slave is about $25,000...[PROFITS ARE] LARGER THAN THEY HAVE EVER BEEN.” that is just part of the job. Kishere: This is probably not a funny joke, but I’ll tell it anyway: If you aren’t getting death threats, then you probably aren’t having the impact on trafficking you think you are. Benjamin Nolot knew little about slavery when a woman approached him and said, “God told me to give you $10,000 to start an organization to fight human trafficking.” Since that time, he founded the organization Exodus Cry and produced a documentary called Nefarious: Merchant of Souls. The film, part of a three-part series, brings awareness to the reality of sex slavery and calls the world to action. Can you talk to me about the power of media and why you chose to fight slavery with a documentary? Nolot: It was a value we bought into early on as we started to combat this issue. We did a video in my friend’s basement that instantly got global exposure, so we saw the impact media can have in conveying a message. Our perspective is that multimedia is the premier communication platform of the 21st century. We wanted to harness that power because there is such a global need to draw attention to human trafficking. I’m often asked the question, “Are you a filmmaker or a preacher?” And my answer is yes. You filmed a lot of gripping scenes in this production. Was there a time you felt particularly challenged and questioned if you should proceed? Nolot: In the course of filming, we followed the tragedy of slavery down this dark, abysmal bunny trail. We found that there is no explanation for these abuses other than pure evil. So there were certain interviews that were so vile I didn’t want to include them in the film. To listen to traffickers describe the way they transported and abused girls, or to sit with a brothel owner
Become an Abolitionist ) Join or create a Love146 task force. Learn more at Love146.org/taskforces. ) Adopt a nation through Exodus Cry. Go to ExodusCry.com/prayer/adopt-a-nation. ) Become an IJM freedom partner. Learn more at IJM.org/FreedomPartner. ) Enlist your church or business in Children’s HopeChest’s “community-to-community” model of sponsorship and development. (HopeChest.org/engage) ) Host a screening of Nefarious (NefariousDocumentary.com).
Nolot, right, praying with a former trafficker in Israel
they are uniquely sexual individuals, but nothing could be further from the truth. Ninety-six percent of women working in the sex industry have been sexually abused as children. It’s a vast majority. Also, the average age of girls entering prostitution is 13 years old. Those two factors alone are very alarming. If sexual abuse is almost universal among girls in the sex industry and they are entering the industry underage, can you really qualify the choice? At the age of 13, does a girl with sexual abuse in her history really make the decision? Victor Hugo said it best, ”We say that slavery has ended, but this is not true. Slavery still exists, but it applies only to women, and its name is prostitution.” How do you hope the film will affect society? Nolot: The power of Nefarious is that we didn’t set out to make a film about God theologically redeeming people. We just encountered this in the
and listen to him explain how he believes he is helping young women, or to talk with children who have been sold by their parents—it’s heart wrenching. This entire production was done from a deep desperation of wanting to see change, not to just make a cool media project. There is a scene in the film where you approach a Western man trying to purchase a Cambodian child. What were you feeling at the moment? Nolot: A friend told me the day before that there was a chance we could run into a pedophile or a pimp in the village we were going to. So me chasing this guy through the streets, it was such a spontaneous reaction. I just wanted to shake him over and over again until that feeling wrecked him. Before we parted ways, I yelled in his face, “Don’t ever come back here.” It’s such a strange cocktail of emotions. Part of me wanted to crush this guy, and another part of me felt compassion for his brokenness and sickness. It really made me question what kind of society we live in that produces men who want to fly across the world to violate children. Many people view prostitution, sex trafficking, and slavery as three different crimes. Would you say they are one and the same? Nolot: In my mind they all involve an exploitation of vulnerability. If a child works on a fishing boat for 20 hours a day, seven days a week, getting paid a pittance, it is no less slavery just because he had a choice. It’s exploitation, and the same goes for prostitution. We live in this old-boys-club society that wants to believe that prostitutes have chosen the sex industry because
"to sit with a brothel owner and listen to him explain how he believes he is helping young women, or to talk with children who have been sold by their parents—it’s heart wrenching."
Preparing to film in Amsterdam
process. We met this girl who was on her deathbed. Her body was filled with absinthe, and her liver was failing, but Jesus encountered her in a dream. Now she believes she is the most beautiful girl in the world and is free from all exploitation. Only Jesus can do that. So part of our purpose in doing the documentary was to bring healing to victims of all sexual abuse. We made this film for them, to show them that deliverance is possible. Also we hope that the documentary will change laws, laws that understand the victimization of sex workers and put a stop to it. We want to strengthen the existing abolition movement, while catalyzing a grassroots group of people who haven’t begun to fight. Lastly we hope to raise up people committed to giving and praying for the end of all human exploitation. Tom Davis worked as a well-paid youth pastor in a comfortable church, but then everything changed. He led a short-term missions trip to a Russian orphanage and learned the shocking truth about child poverty, neglect, and human trafficking. Now, he runs the innovative orphan ministry Children’s HopeChest as CEO and attacks human trafficking on multiple levels. How easy is it to purchase a child in the developing world? Davis: It depends on the country, but it’s pretty easy. We’ve gone undercover in places like Moldova and Russia to find underage girls for sale. At hotels, normally the concierge or the front-desk worker is in on it. The taxi drivers are in on it. They take you to the place, and they get a cut. It’s
"It’s evil, it’s dangerous, it’s everywhere. But the success stories keep me going."
Tom Davis connects with hundreds of North American churches each year, inviting them to partner with orphans around the world.
unbelievable how these networks have infiltrated every aspect of life. You go to main cities, you tell them what you want, and they’ll take you where you can get it. In a Russian hotel where we were staying, a night guard told us the elevators were broken and that we would have to wait for them to be fixed. He said, “I know some young girls who would like to meet you.” He took us into a bar area, and there they were. The elevators had nothing wrong with them, but he deceived us. He wanted to divert our attention to these underage girls, who were clearly trafficked. This kind of thing happens all the time. It’s a network. Children’s HopeChest takes a unique approach to fighting human trafficking by connecting churches and businesses in America with safe houses abroad. Can you talk to me about this process? Davis: It’s as close as you can come to adopting without adopting. We are trying to do a community-to-community model, meaning we help churches, businesses, and online-blogging communities to sponsor families and orphanages overseas. This provides a way for people who are like-hearted to do more than just write a letter to a kid. We try to use all methods of media to connect people with orphaned children. We’ll take communities of people
to orphanages two or three times a year, but through community web pages everyone receives updates about their children on a regular basis. To prevent human trafficking, we provide homes and ministry centers as a place for girls to go. In Russia for example, kids come out of orphanages at age 15 or 16, and 60 percent of the girls are trafficked. But in the regions where we work, that number is less than a quarter of a percent. Why? Because we get to know all the kids, provide housing, tell them the dangers, and get them into universities. Much of this happens through the community sponsorships. Do you feel in over your head trying to confront this issue? Davis: Absolutely. Because it’s evil, it’s dangerous, it’s everywhere. But the success stories keep me going. It’s the 11-year-old girl who we recently rescued out of a brothel in India. That’s why we exist. If we keep a handful of kids out of trafficking every year, then it’s worth it. How has your faith influenced your role in the anti-slavery movement? Davis: My faith tells me that people have value, that we are all created in the image of God. That includes you, me, and the little girl who is trafficked and forced to serve 20 people a day. She has value and worth, and God created her for something much better. Additionally my faith tells me that as Christ-followers, we are called to be the hope of the world. God has given us a mandate to go into places of dark injustice and overturn the cycle of events that occur. God isn’t left wondering why there are so many justice issues in the world that aren’t being taken care of. He has given the ideas and strategies into the hearts of his people on how to bring justice, but we must step out in faith. When we do that, the wrongs can be made right.
Curt Devine writes about faith and social justice issues to give a voice to the voiceless. He currently resides in Washington, DC, where he is pursuing a master's in international media. Find more of his stories at CurtDevine.com.
Children's HopeChest President Tom Davis shares a laugh with children in Swaziland, where the organization helps US churches partner with local CarePoints to lessen children's vulnerability to trafficking by providing food, education, healthcare, and Christian discipleship .
Fierce Compassion How a history lesson about abolition became a life-changing book by Jo Kadlecek
1895 a young Scottish American woman moved to San Francisco’s Chinatown to care for orphans and girls rescued from slavery. She planned to stay a year, teaching sewing and helping as she could in the house set up by missionaries. Instead, she spent her life there, taking charge of the mission, leading dramatic midnight rescues in brothels, and speaking throughout the country on behalf of those sold into slavery and prostitution. She—along with the two dozen or so rescued Chinese girls she lived with—even survived the great California earthquake of 1906. In 2012 a young Chinese American woman walked down the aisle of her high school auditorium in Ann Arbor, Mich., and graduated with honors. A few days later, thanks in part to an internet fundraiser, she flew to San Francisco’s Chinatown and celebrated both her graduation and the launch of her first book, the story of a young Scottish American woman who cared for Chinese girls in the early 1900s. Three months later, she moved to Haiti for half a year to care for children in an orphanage, many of whom had been affected by the great earthquake of 2010. Fierce Compassion: A Biography of Abolitionist Donaldina Cameron,
co-authored by mother-daughter writing team Kristin and Kathryn Wong, is a compelling account of an otherwise forgotten Christian advocate who spent her life freeing some 3,000 Chinese girls and women brought to the US as sex slaves. In an age when human trafficking has warranted international outrage from human rights activists and Christian ministers alike, Cameron’s story links us to the horrific issues of slavery and the inspiring efforts of past abolitionists. It is clear upon meeting 18-year-old Kathryn Wong that Donaldina Cameron’s life has inspired much more in this young woman than the writing of a book. In the young Wong, Cameron has found a kindred spirit across the decades. Wong is as confident speaking to a group of women twice her age about slavery in the US as Cameron must have been. And to talk with her about her life’s goals, about the gap year she is taking before college to serve in Haiti and in France, is to get a sense of a vision and a depth that reflects the “fierce compassion” of women long committed to Christ’s mission of setting captives free. Women like her mom. Kathryn, the oldest of four children, started writing Cameron’s story with her mother after her high school history teacher
Kathryn Wong snuggles with child in a Haitian orphanage (opposite) and rejoices with her mother, Kristin, at the publication of their new book.
suggested they take her junior year history project “a step further.” Kristin had written a book once before, a memoir about adoption called Carried Safely Home. Shortly after their marriage, inspired by reading Ron Sider’s Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, she and her husband, Phil, said that they recognized “adoption as one way to live out God’s mandate to care for the widow and orphan.” Twenty-three years later, they have two daughters (Kathryn and Clara) by birth and two sons (Ben and Josiah) by adoption from Vietnam. When Kristin stumbled across some footnotes about Donaldina Cameron and shared them with Kathryn, they both knew they wanted to learn more. The school project only whetted their appetite, and they decided a self-published book would provide them the freedom and direction they’d need to tell the story, given Kathryn’s busy schedule in school and Kristin’s commitment to homeschooling her other children. So they began a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter. com with the goal of raising $3,600 for researching, travel expenses, and publishing costs. Instead, they raised almost $4,300, and their story-telling adventure went from a class assignment to a fully detailed chronicle that includes firsthand accounts from Chinese girls, historic context, and personal journal entries from Cameron herself. More than once, the Wongs flew to San Francisco, visited Chinatown as well as the mission (now called the Cameron House), and Pala Alto, where Cameron spent her final years. They scoured local archives, primary documents, and news clippings while interviewing some of the last remaining friends of Cameron, who died in 1968. “I loved the feeling of being a detective putting all the pieces together and learning more and more about the people and stories of intrigue and rescue,” Kathryn said. “What was surprising, though, was the feeling of privilege that came with being a detective on the trail of Donaldina Cameron. To walk in her footsteps, to be just one person removed from my heroine, to read her praises in the newspaper—few things have made me feel more awed and honored.” The book project also added more purpose to Kathryn’s last two years of high school than she ever expected. Given the amount of time she spent writing, researching, speaking, interviewing, building relationships, and learning about new cultures, Kathryn came away caring “very deeply for a place and a people, the Cameron House and the Chinese living in San Francisco today, whom I rarely gave a thought to before starting this project. Now I think of them almost daily, and The Cameron House is like my home away from home.” It was hardly an easy journey, though, as Kathryn and her mom dug deep into one of American history’s darker chapters. Girls and young women were being bought, sold, and brought to Chinatown, forced into prostitution and brutalized if they failed to perform domestic duties. Chinese men had been recruited to build America’s railroads, working and living in deplorable conditions, and were barred from bringing their families, for fear of a Chinese “overthrow.” With the repercussions of the Chinese Exclusion Act, legislation passed in 1882 that legalized racism and forced Chinese men to “assimi-
late,” Cameron and her workers found an “environment that increased the demand for women and encouraged illegal, brutal slave traffic.” The climate, rife with tension, created constant animosity, danger, and disdain. “Throughout much of the 1900s, Chinese girls were abducted and their bodies were sold. These girls were our age—the ages of me and my peers,” Kathryn said. “They were stripped of all human dignity and raped dozens of times each night. And this wasn’t just happening far away in the land of China, (but) here in the land of the free.” The more Kathryn and Kristin studied the times in which Cameron lived, the more they realized the importance and relevance of her story and felt compelled to bring her example into the modern discussion of human trafficking. They saw in her a lived theology for freeing the oppressed and a personal devotion to a far greater mission than anything she could have imagined, regardless of its costs to her safety, health, or personal life. As they went on to write on their website, FierceCompassionbook.com, “Cameron barged into brothels and uncovered hidden trap doors to find the terrified teenage girls held behind them. She stood up to threats from criminal gangs. She cared night and day for her foster daughters, tending wounds, wiping away tears, and gradually helping slave survivors live on their own.” For two years, the daughter/mother team kept digging, and they kept writing—even in the midst of personal challenges, family obligations, church and school commitments, self-publishing dramas, and preparation for college. Kathryn even went a step further and designed the cover and pages of the entire book. The day the books arrived, another chapter began for them, one that represents countless conversations as they take the book to conferences and campuses, where together they speak about Cameron and the staggering terrors of slavery today. “I think first it is a compelling story about fascinating people who lived in an often forgotten chapter of American history,” Kristin said. “We wrote it because we so wanted more people to know about our remarkable heroine. But it’s relevant because with human trafficking, abuse of women, race relations in America, immigration law, we wondered, what happens when these issues intersect and collide? What might God’s people do about it?” Kathryn hopes the book itself will do what Cameron’s life did for her—inspire others to speak out. “Out of respect for the thousands of victims, we should be aware of what transpired. We should be enraged by what transpired,” she said. “We should be full of thankfulness and amazement that one woman was willing to follow God’s call on her life and smash this brutal trade.”
Jo Kadlecek is the senior writer and journalist-in-residence at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass.
by Kimberly McOwen Yim
“The best defense against modern-day slavery is a vigilant public. Be a nosy neighbor.” —Kevin Bales, The Slave Next Door
Book cover design by Cindy Kiple (Nick Purser/Getty Images)
old they will have good-paying jobs when they arrive in the United States, thousands of immigrants, both legal and illegal, get tricked into forced labor annually. Traffickers often deceive these people by offering half-truths, saying the individual will work at a restaurant or in a hotel. Once these people begin working, they are held captive either through never-ending debt or simple physical immobility. Without knowing the language or having someone to trust, and under constant threat of physical violence, these workers silently go about working in the background of public businesses.
In homes Although 80 percent of human trafficking cases in the United States between 2008 and 2010 were sex trafficking cases, not all modern forms of slavery are related to sex trafficking.1 A more subtle form of slavery found in our backyards is the enslavement of domestic help. “One of the most insidious forms of trafficking—the enslavement of domestics and nannies—occurs under our very noses. Here you must be vigilant,” write Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter in The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today.2 Often working up to 16 hours a day, victims of domestic servitude make up the second-highest form of slavery in the United States.3 Most are foreigners and work under threats of violence. Afraid to run away, they often work in isolation due to a language barrier or lack of interaction with others. Domestic slaves live quietly in fear—fear of deportation, fear of beatings, fear of the well-being of other family members, or fear of humiliation. This fear keeps domestic slaves hidden and submissive. Such was the case in one of the first accounts I heard of in my neck of the woods in Southern California. This case occurred more than 10 years
Where to Look for Slavery
Here are some common places and situations where slavery is known to flourish: ☛ landscape and gardening businesses ☛ households in which domestic home workers are present ☛ large-scale agricultural operations ☛ construction sites ☛ casinos ☛ garment factories ☛ hotels (especially in housekeeping departments) ☛ nail salons ☛ migrant or transitional communities ☛ zones known for prostitution ☛ strip clubs ☛ massage parlors ☛ domestic violence situations
ago, before the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was voted into law, and therefore our courts had to wrestle through the rescue and rehabilitation of a child domestic slave. Shyima was one of 12 children, originally from Egypt, when she was sold to another Egyptian family at the age of 8. This family eventually moved to the United States and settled in a gated community in Irvine, Calif. Shyima slept on a mattress on the floor of the garage and was not allowed to go to school. She spent each day cooking and cleaning and caring for the family’s three children from morning until night. Her captors told her they would kill her family if she tried to flee or if she told anyone about her situation. They also told her law enforcement would beat her and take her to jail. So rather than trusting the police for help, she feared them. For two years Shyima lived as a domestic slave in the United States, rarely stepping outside the door of the house where she worked. Eventually an anonymous tip—possibly from a neighbor—was called in to child protective services, and law enforcement got involved.4 Years later when Shyima was an adult she was interviewed for a training video to teach others what domestic slavery might look like. She said not knowing the language, fear of law enforcement, and physical and psychological threats were what kept her from running away. “Who would I run to? What would I say? There was nobody for me to trust,” she explained. Thankfully, Shyima’s story is a hopeful one. She was adopted by a loving family, enrolled in school, and eventually graduated from high school. Now she is attending college with the dream of becoming a law enforcement officer. She has a special interest in rescuing other trafficking victims. Many stories have been uncovered recently about domestic slaves eventually finding freedom. Some risk it all and run, but many are rescued because of the action of a nosy neighbor. These nosy neighbors are Good Samaritans who reach out to help when something just doesn’t seem right. “Slavery often comes to light because a member of the public sees something odd and speaks up,” write Bales and Soodalter.5
In fields In the United States most workers are protected by the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. This law gives workers the right to organize and protects against unsafe work environments, fixed wages, and health issues. It applies to all kinds of work—but not farm labor. Because of reasons steeped in Deep South politics, farm laborers and household servants were excluded from full rights.6 As you can imagine, this has had tremendous impact on agricultural work standards in the United States, where competitive prices and cheap labor can quickly lead to forced slave labor. Abysmal working conditions in the tomato fields of southern Florida led to the formation of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). Southwest Florida is the state’s most important center for agricultural production, and Immokalee is the state’s largest farmworker community, with many of these workers coming from Mexico, Latin America, and Haiti. Formed in the 1990s to organize for fair wages and to combat other labor violations, the CIW began to discover wellnetworked slavery operations. The organization continued to fight for fairer wages and labor practices, but it also began to uncover, investigate, and assist in the federal prosecution of slavery rings preying on farm workers.
Look for the signs! Following are some signs that someone might be a human trafficking victim. Any one of these signs should be enough to raise concern and a reason to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline or local law enforcement. A person might be a human trafficking victim if he or she: ☛ is not free to come and go as he or she wishes ☛ is not free to change employers ☛ is afraid to discuss himself or herself in the presence of others ☛ does not control his or her earnings ☛ is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips ☛ has few or no personal possessions ☛ is not in control of his or her own money or has no financial records or bank account ☛ is not in control of own identification documents (e.g., ID, passport, visa)
Working with the Department of Justice and the FBI, the CIW has helped to prosecute seven major cases, freeing over 1,200 people from captivity and forced labor on Florida’s tomato farms.7 Through its efforts the CIW has brought the terrible state of human rights in much of US agriculture today to public light. Although slavery is not the norm in agriculture today, there must be a more concerted effort in addressing the demand side of the US food market. Major food-buying corporations are profiting from extremely low— often artificially low—cost of produce. In the summer of 2012 International Justice Mission partnered with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for a campaign they called Recipe for Change. Recognizing that for decades slavery and other human rights abuses have existed in US tomato fields, IJM and CIW assert that our local supermarkets can help end slavery in the tomato supply chain. Supermarkets can join with other companies such as McDonalds and Subway by participating in the Fair Food Program. (Editor’s note: See PRISM’s May/June 2012 cover story for an in-depth look at fair food activism.) Developed by the tomato pickers themselves, the Fair Food Program establishes a zero tolerance policy for slavery, child labor, and sexual abuses on Florida’s tomato fields. Corporations that join the Fair Food Program agree to pay a small price increase (1.5 cents more per pound) for fairly harvested tomatoes and promise to shift purchases to the Florida tomato growers who abide by these higher standards—and away from those who won’t. Although many fast food companies have already joined the Fair Food Program, some of the largest US supermarket chains have not. IJM’s Recipe for Change campaign is asking anti-slavery advocates to petition supermarkets to do their part and join the Fair Food Programs. As of December 2012, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods were the only two major supermarket chains that had joined. This campaign is an excellent example of how, with a little bit of knowledge, the consumer has immense power. By going to IJM’s website, you can send a message to the large US supermarkets asking for their participation in the Fair Food Program. You can sign up to receive e-mail updates on the
☛ is not allowed or able to speak for himself or herself (i.e., a third party insists on being present or interpreting) ☛ has an attorney that he or she doesn’t seem to know or to have agreed to receive representation services from ☛ works excessively long or unusual hours ☛ is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work ☛ owes a large or increasing debt and is unable to pay it off ☛ was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his or her work ☛ is living or working in a location with high security measures (e.g., opaque or boarded-up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras) ☛ exhibits unusually fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, nervous, or paranoid behavior ☛ reacts with unusually fearful or anxious behavior at any reference to law enforcement ☛ avoids eye contact ☛ exhibits a flat affect (e.g., doesn’t display emotion, seems blank or empty, unresponsive)
progress of the campaign and download a petition that asks others in the community to join in. In addition, a family action kit is available on the IJM site that includes information, games, and stories for the whole family to learn and participate in the work of justice for agricultural workers.8
In restaurants David Batstone, an ethics professor in San Francisco, first encountered the reality that slavery existed in his backyard after eating at one of his favorite restaurants outside of Berkeley. Not long after dining at the restaurant, he read in a local paper that a woman who worked there had died due to a gas leak and lack of ventilation in the apartment attached to the restaurant. Threatening to reveal their illegal status, the owner of the restaurant had forced a number of people to work for him without pay. This revelation prompted Batstone to look further into the issue of modern-day slavery, and in 2007 he launched Not For Sale, a campaign whose purpose is to put a final end to slavery. My friend Tracy recently asked the woman who cleans her house, Elise, how she immigrated to the United States. Tracy learned that Elise originally came over on a work visa to work in a restaurant in Orange County, Calif. When she began work, the manager took her documents and told her she’d get them back after she’d worked there for six years. Tracy voiced her concern and asked many more questions, but Elise told her it had worked out okay for her and her husband; they had worked at the restaurant for six years and were both able to become legal citizens. “But I do fear for the others still there,” Elise said. “The manager has become more strict, and it is not a good place to work.” Tracy asked Elise if she would consider telling the police about what the manager was doing. She explained that it was illegal and that under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act her friend would be able to get some help, even if she came here illegally. Elise told Tracy she didn’t trust the police. “Where I come from the police often do nothing, or they make it worse,” she said. Knowing that she would not be able to convince Elise to report what she knew, Tracy contacted the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force.
☛ exhibits unexplained injuries or signs of prolonged or untreated illness or disease ☛ appears malnourished ☛ is under 18 years of age and is providing commercial sex acts ☛ is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp or manager ☛ shows signs of physical or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement or torture ☛ has been “branded” by a trafficker (e.g., a tattoo of the trafficker’s name) ☛ claims to be “just visiting” and is unable to clarify where he or she is ☛ exhibits a lack of knowledge of whereabouts or does not know what city he or she is in ☛ exhibits a loss of a sense of time ☛ has numerous inconsistencies in his or her story ☛ is hungry or malnourished and inappropriately dressed based on weather conditions or surroundings ☛ shows signs of drug addiction9
She was put in touch with a law enforcement agent who took down all the details. A few months later Tracy followed up to see how the case was coming. “Let’s just say it was a very good tip,” the officer said. He couldn’t tell her much more, but Tracy now understood that she could do something— that sometimes a small act such as a phone call could make a difference. Modern-day slavery is happening right under our noses and yet we often don’t see it. Do we know what to look for? What questions do we ask? What do “doesn’t seem right” and “something odd” look like? On page 19 is a list of everyday places where slavery has been documented in the United States, as well as signs that someone may be a human trafficking victim. As you read through the list, keep in mind the places and people around your town who work in these types of environments. You may want to mark or copy these pages for future reference. Also, please put the National Human Trafficking Hotline number in your phone and address book: 888-3737-888. It’s true that we are busy. We run to the carpool line, pick up dry cleaning, go to the grocery store, and we often don’t notice the many people we encounter as we go through our days. Despite this, we all have time to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline number if we notice something suspicious. When my friends and I first learned of the millions of people enslaved in our world today we wished we were young again, when we thought we could take on the world. We were fired up and wanted to correct injustice. But we grieved because we thought there was not a thing we could do. We wanted supernatural abilities to fight the bad guys. We may have even wanted to punch a bad guy in the face. We wanted to personally rescue a child out of slavery and hold her in our arms and tell her everything would be okay. We wanted to save people from this life of terror. After all, we lived blessed lives. We needed to do something. But as Bales reminds us, “joining the fight against human trafficking means accepting that we each have a job to do and that our job might not include being the action hero.”10 Once we got over the desire to find a grandiose response to the injustices of slavery and to punch bad guys in the face, we moved forward in the small, meaningful actions that are needed every day. We came to realize
In addition, a young person might be caught up in sex trafficking if he or she... ☛ has unexplained absences from school for a period of time ☛ is unable to attend school on a regular basis ☛ repeatedly runs away from home ☛ makes references to frequent travel to other cities ☛ exhibits bruises or other physical trauma, withdrawn behavior, depression, or fear ☛ lacks control over her or his schedule or identification documents
we could help right where we were, right in this season of life, right in our neighborhoods—we are the cement in this modern abolitionist movement. We continue to be busy; however, today we live our lives intentionally aware of our surrounding and our neighbors. Slavery still exists in my backyard, but I know now I have resources and power to fight it.
Kimberly McOwen Yim is the founder of Abolitionist Mamas in San Clemente, Calif. She has worked with Women Who Stand, an advocacy group affiliated with World Relief, and writes and speaks on issues related to human trafficking worldwide. This feature is an excerpt from the forthcoming Refuse to Do Nothing: Finding Your Power to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery by Shayne Moore and Kimberly McOwen Yim, © 2013 by Shayne Moore and Kimberly McOwen Yim. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press (PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515; IVPress.com).
Take action ❶ Put the National Human Trafficking Hotline number in your phone: 888-373-7888. If a person or situation came to mind while you were reading the list of signs of human trafficking, call now and report it. ❷ Tell one friend about the anti-trafficking hotline and ask her to put it in her phone. ➌ Ask yourself: Are there places in your own community that you now wonder might be places where people are forced to work?
Escape from Polygamy by Andrea Cumbo
Holding Out HELP offers a new life to families fleeing fundamentalist Mormon households
onia Tewell hung up the phone and jumped into action. She and her husband pulled together all the sheets and blankets they could find and made up the beds in their basement. They stocked the downstairs refrigerator. Half an hour later, the doorbell rang, and on their stoop stood the family they were expecting: a woman with her mother and three children, fleeing their own home and ready to begin a new life here in theirs. The women and girls were all dressed in simple, handmade cotton dresses, the boy in jeans and a plaid, button-down shirt. At their feet was a box of books and two trash bags full of hastily gathered possessions—all they had been able to bring from the fundamentalist Mormon community they had just risked everything to leave. Just an hour earlier, with the children safely at a friend’s home, the woman had been packing up their things when her husband came home to find that she had changed the locks. He got his tools and began to take the door off its hinges. By the grace of God, a friend was driving by at just that moment, a large man who was willing to confront the husband while she called the police. The officers could not keep the husband from entering the house, but they could hold him at bay while the wife gathered her things and left to get the children. Now she was here on the Tewells’ stoop, facing a new and uncertain future.
When the Tewells were first asked if they’d be willing to host people want-
ing to leave fundamentalist Mormon communities, Tonia was a comfortable stay-at-home mom and not looking to shake up her life in any way. But she recognized an opportunity to make good on the promise she’d made God years earlier when he gave her more time than expected after a diagnosis of terminal cancer. The full living quarters in the basement, prepared when she was battling her cancer in anticipation of the need for live-in care, was available to house the family. So after much thought and prayer, the Tewells said “yes.” This “yes” ultimately led to Tonia founding and serving as executive director for Holding Out HELP (Helping, Encouraging, and Loving Polygamists), an organization that helps people transition from lives in closed communities to life in the broader world. Tewell refers to these people as domestic refugees. “They don’t know how our world works,” she says. Like refugees from other places in the world, these people are entering a new culture, bringing with them very few resources and navigational skills. Holding Out HELP provides basic life skills training since many of these refugees, mostly women, have never before had to do such basic tasks as opening a bank account or finding a place to live. Their transition into the world proceeds in a particular order. First the organization receives a phone call, through their secure hotline, from someone who wants to leave a closed community. Then they confirm that the person is sure they are ready to go. (Most people who express doubt end up going back to the community.) Holding Out HELP then finds them a host family to live with until they are stable, usually for three to six months. “These places are kind of like stops on the Underground Railroad,” Tewell explains. While living in host homes, all the children and adults are assigned a mentor of their same gender who will meet with them once or twice weekly to set goals, help them find services, and provide assistance in navigating the new world. Mentors also fill the important role of sounding board, as 95 percent of those they serve suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. After the individuals are established with a home and a mentor, they can
Like refugees from other places in the world, these people are entering a new culture, bringing with them very few resources and navigational skills. then proceed down the path of counseling, job training, education, or any combination of the three. Eventually individuals move into a transitional home for up to a year. They pay only the utilities and insurance, and funding is available for even that if needed. The final step of the process is for the refugee to move into low-income housing and then pay it forward by becoming a volunteer with Holding Out HELP. The organization does not stop their work there but continues to support these refugees with things like passes for public transit, computers,
used vehicles, and educational expenses. Until they are ready to operate fully on their own, Holding Out HELP is there to guide and support. One hundred percent of the financial contributions given to the organization go to providing food, clothing, shelter, medical care, legal support, and transportation for people leaving polygamy. Holding Out HELP is not an evangelical ministry in the traditional sense, but the organization follows hard after God by meeting needs as outlined by Jesus in Matthew 25:35—feeding, housing, and clothing. Their mission is to provide a safe place to land where these refugees “can work out their own thinking and faith.” At present the organization has 300 refugees in its system, and the numbers keep rising. Approximately 30 host families open their homes to refugees in Utah’s Salt Lake Valley, while many others are also available out of state. The organization receives between one and three individuals or families a week who are seeking transitional assistance.
Tonia Tewell (left), Meri Brown of Sister Wives (center), and a volunteer during Holding Out HELP's 2012 5k fundraiser
“The need is greater than it has ever been,” Tewell says, “and we are helping more people than ever.” According to Tewell, the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) is “imploding.”
A closed community
FLDS is the largest closed, polygamist community in the country and is made up of nearly 10,000 members, although an exact count of its membership as well as other information about FLDS practices are difficult to come by, because the community isolates itself so thoroughly from the outside world. FLDS split off from The Church of Latter Day Saints in the early 20th century when the mainstream church made pronouncements against the practice of polygamy. Since then, FLDS members have had their own leader, known as The Prophet. At this time their leader is Warren Jeffs, who is serving life plus 20 years in prison for aggravated sexual assault. One of the central tenets of FLDS teaching is that men are to take multiple wives (at least three, according to some sources) in order to receive the highest form of salvation. Most FLDS members do not own their own property but instead live in houses and operate businesses formally owned by the church, although this ownership is currently being disputed in court. Most of the children in the church are homeschooled on the large FLDS compound that spans the state line between Colorado City, Ariz., and Hilldale, Utah. FLDS now divides its followers into categories—the “most righteous,” who have passed the intense loyalty tests of the new United Order that Jeffs has established from his prison cell, and those who have been deemed “unworthy.” Church teaching forbids the two categories of people from living in the same house, being in the same room, or even speaking to each other. Families are being ripped apart by these divisions, as well as by the many confirmed and alleged reports of sexual assault on the women and children in the church, and FLDS is losing members in higher and higher numbers.
Controversy and compassion
In 2010 Tewell and the ministry team were asked to appear on Sister Wives, a reality TV show focusing on the Brown family, which consists of one Mormon husband, four wives, and 17 children. At first, Tewell explains, “We said absolutely not.” But the producer
kept in touch and explained that the network wanted to speak to some of the ministry’s refugee youth, and that they intended to pursue the youth with or without the organization’s help. “After negotiating for over a year,” explains Tewell, “our board felt that Holding Out HELP could better protect our youth if we were in control of what was filmed, so we said yes. We also felt it was important to allow the viewers to see the other side, when polygamy doesn't work. Although exhausting, it was a growing process for us all.” When the Brown family heard some of the organization’s stories, they expressed the desire to help the refugees, since they, too, oppose abusive polygamist marriages. Holding Out HELP received national attention last fall when “sister wife” Meri Brown participated in their annual fundraising event, a 5k run. Elissa Wall was also at the fundraiser run. A chief witness in the prosecution of Warren Jeffs, Wall escaped an abusive marriage that she entered at age 14. When asked how she felt about Brown’s participation in the run, she told the Salt Lake Tribune, "I’m thrilled she’s here. We’re all here for the same reason—to support the community." "Most of those that work with Holding Out HELP do not believe that polygamy was what God intended, and we are very open about that," says Tewell. "However, so that those in need can find a safe place to land, it is imperative we don't take sides or get in the political debate. The nonjudgmental, unconditional love approach is changing lives. Our board is made up of devout Christians who follow the first and second commandments of loving God with their hearts, minds, and souls and loving their neighbor as themselves. We don't believe it is for us to judge. This journey is so difficult for the families—if they came out of the FLDS only to find themselves pressured to believe in what we believe, they would run for the hills. Instead we live out our faith through serving these precious people. You should come to our church someday and meet all the people who have left. It is beautiful to see how free they are now." And the healing is happening. The mother and her children who showed up on the Tewells’ doorstep in 2005 are thriving. She has received a masters’ degree in education and is now developing curriculum and heading up a local school. The children are healthy and happily adjusted to the larger world—all because a couple opened their doors to people they did not know. All because they gave them food and shelter, embraced them, and said, “You are safe, and you will be loved.” There is no better evangelism than that. To learn more and to help support the work of Holding Out HELP, go to HoldingOutHELP.org.
“We don’t believe it is for us to judge,” says Tonia Tewell. “This journey is so difficult for the families—if they came out of the F LDS only to find themselves pressured to believe in what we believe, they would run for the hills. Instead we live out our faith through serving these precious people.”
Andi Cumbo (AndiLit.com) is the author of God’s Whisper Manifesto, which tells the story of her small farm in the mountains of Virginia and her dreams for it to be a place for respite for artists.
TOOLS FOR ENGAGING OUR WORLD UNDERSTANDING SPIRITUAL WARFARE FOUR VIEWS
James K. Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy, editors 978-0-8010-3936-2 • 224 pp. • $19.99p “There are many ‘four views’ books on the market, but this one on spiritual warfare is one of the few that ably addresses important issues of global Christian theological and practical concern. No seminary education is complete without it.”—Amos Yong, Regent University School of Divinity
THE MYSTERY OF GOD THEOLOGY FOR KNOWING THE UNKNOWABLE
Steven D. Boyer and Christopher A. Hall 978-0-8010-2773-4 • 272 pp. • $19.99p
THE ECONOMY OF DESIRE 978-0-8010-3573-9 • 224 pp. • $19.99p “There is no getting around the cry for a just Christian economics in Bell’s argument, nor the vision for a virtuous capitalism participating in the divine economy of salvation. Bell’s passion is prophetic, and this book screams out to be read in the new era of austerity that all of us are entering now. A revolution is needed, and it has to begin with a right disciplining of desire.” —Graham Ward, University of Manchester
”This book is both an invitation to contemplation and an exercise in humility. Boyer and Hall bring together theology and spirituality in a way that will help both seasoned travelers and new pilgrims on the road of faith.”—Timothy George, Beeson Divinity School
A HOBBIT JOURNEY DISCOVERING THE ENCHANTMENT OF J. R. R. TOLKIEN’S MIDDLE-EARTH
Matthew Dickerson 978-1-58743-300-9 • 272 pp. • $16.99p “If anyone should still doubt Tolkien’s applicability and relevance to the twentyﬁrst century, this is the book to put in their hands.”—Thomas Shippey, author of J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
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Saving Bathsheba by Rachel Marie Stone 26
April Mansilla (AprilMansilla.com)
Abuse at the hands of a spiritual leader damages victims in body, mind, and spirit The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18 “How much responsibility did Bathsheba have in that affair? After all, she was bathing where David could see her!” I have heard this line, and others like it, many times in the course of my evangelical upbringing and education—the David and Bathsheba story used as an example of “why women should be modest” and “how temptresses can bring down godly leaders.” But that’s not what the story is about. It’s a story of a woman being sexually abused by a man in power. Samantha Nelson of The Hope of Survivors says that this “blame the woman” emphasis is all too typical: “Seminaries could do a better job teaching pastors not to abuse power. It seems like the emphasis is more the other way—on warning pastors away from ‘predatory’ women.” Nelson’s former pastor used the story in a very different way. According to him, if David could be “a man after God’s own heart” despite being an adulterer and a murderer, then certainly he, her pastor, could be forgiven for abusing her sexually and spiritually, which he did for several years. After recovering from the abuse and earning credentials in Christian counseling, Nelson cofounded with her husband, Steve, an organization called The Hope of Survivors, “a worldwide ministry of compassion providing support, hope, and encouragement to victims of clergy sexual abuse and misconduct.”1 An important part of The Hope of Survivors’ work is to educate people about clergy sexual abuse, which is often misunderstood as simply an “affair.” “The devastation of this abuse is that it is so poorly understood, and survivors are subject to all kinds of insensitive behavior—such as being asked, ‘Didn’t you like it?’ Because of the power imbalance, this can never be a consensual relationship,” says Nelson. “A teacher or a doctor cannot enter into a consensual sexual relationship with a student or a patient. Neither can a pastor with someone under his care.” It’s not that affairs don’t happen, Nelson tells me, but her ministry sees far more instances of pastoral abuse. “We see a lot of predatory pastors. It’s more often the case than not that a pastor will have abused more than one person. Sometimes there’s a young, inexperienced pastor who crosses a line, but generally we see a lot of repeat offenders who pick out vulnerable people and groom them for
All God’s Children All God’s Children tells the story of a boarding school for missionary children in West Africa and the abuses the children endured there at the hands of missionary staff. It took the children decades to acknowledge the effects the abuses had on their lives. When they finally dared to break the silence and speak out, the church denied all allegations and refused to help. But through years of persistent activism the survivors and their parents finally compelled the Christian and Missionary Alliance to conduct an investigation and acknowledge the abuses. The investigation of the Mamou Alliance Academy was the first of its kind but has since inspired investigations at other schools of many different denominations. Learn more at AllGodsChildrenthefilm.com.
abuse.” Women who have been abused previously or who are enduring health problems are sometimes targets for abusers. Abusive pastors often work by engaging in a counseling relationship with potential victims. A pastor in New York, Reverend Latham,2 told me about two abusive pastors in his small church’s history. “A certain pastor—a Reverend Elliot—in the 1930s and 40s had, according to one of our oldest members, a reputation for ‘fooling around’; he even had a second entrance built onto the back of the parsonage for his counselees to go in and out of.” This pastor’s reputation, according to Latham, was repeatedly confirmed by separate testimonies. “An elderly pastor from Long Island once told me a story about my predecessor: There had been a big Baptist rally, and, as the [all-female] choir was singing, Elliot said, ‘How do you like some of the young ones? When they come to me, I don’t know whether to pray with them or lay with them!’” Another abuser came to the little church years later, nearly destroying it in his abusive wake. He also worked, Latham told me, by “doing a lot of counseling. In this way, he got people to reveal their secrets and was then able to threaten people with the revelation of those secrets.” Reportedly, the pastor threatened to discipline and excommunicate one woman’s entire family if she would not perform oral sex on him.3 “One of the saddest aspects of clergy sex abuse,” writes Christa Brown, a lawyer, author of This Little Light, and founder of StopBaptistPredators.com, “is that it not only inflicts the grievous trauma of sexual abuse but it simultaneously yanks a powerful resource for healing.” Faith, says, Brown, “will often serve as a resource for dealing with all manner of life’s travails,” but often not for those who have been abused by clergy and by other people in positions of religious authority. That’s the situation for many of the survivors of the decades-long abuse perpetuated by the missionary staff at Mamou Alliance Academy in Guinea, Africa. Some of its alumni were the first to speak publicly about the physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse that occurred there—and in other Christian and Missionary Alliance schools that the children of overseas C&MA missionaries were required to attend. Their story is documented in the film All God’s Children (see sidebar on left), and a number of them point out how the abuse caused them to lose—or come close to losing—their faith. One remarks that he would need “a Damascus Road experience to be saved.” Another, Rich Darr, who eventually became a minister in the UMC, says that for years he “could not walk into a church...[without experiencing] tremendous anger.” Some researchers point out, perhaps rightly, that male clergy are no more likely to commit abuse than other males,4 but pastors who abuse violate what Nelson calls “a sacred trust” that makes the abuse all the more devastating. In Catherine Marshall’s novel Christy, the character Alice describes how the man who raped her at 16—a traveling Quaker minister—“groomed” her for abuse using his clerical office:
Survivors of pastoral abuse aren’t simply turned off from people in positions of religious power— they are turned off from faith communities when those communities fail adequately to engage their wounds with compassion and understanding.
That year when I was 15 there was a certain amount of experimentation, what he called “the laying on of hands.” Some of it I thought odd all right, questioned it in my own mind. But the man was so much older than I. And we children had been taught to think of these “traveling Friends” as such divinely chosen oracles of the mind of God that almost every word they spoke was supposed to be inspired.5
It is precisely that reverence that makes healing so difficult for survivors. Indeed, it can be hard even to open the door to healing in situations where idolization of the abuser—or of the abuser’s office—makes finding the truth difficult. It took 10 years of writing and calling Christian and Missionary Alliance offices before the survivors of abuse at Mamou Alliance Academy were heard; even after an Independent Commission of Inquiry found that physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual abuse had occurred among “a significant number” of children at Mamou for at least two decades, one of the alleged abusers—a man who reportedly raped a student—remained on C&MA staff. There was, they said, “nothing they could do.”6 When I talked with Christa Brown, she noted that when survivors of clergy sex abuse speak of their inability to connect with faith communities after abuse, “they usually speak more about the faith community itself rather than solely about the minister who abused them.” Failing to hear and address the concerns of survivors, failing to initiate a process for investigation and healing, and simply failing to apologize all have the effect of revictimizing survivors. More recently, the blogger Libby Anne7 raised the concern of organizational complicity—or, at the least, indifference—in the wake of The Voice of the Martyrs’ executive director’s suicide. Tom White took his own life as he was being investigated for molesting a 10-year-old girl, but Voice of the Martyrs’ statement does not apologize; rather, it says “none of those in leadership at VOM, including our board of directors, were aware of these allegations at the time of Tom’s death.”8 Baptist Bible College in Pennsylvania has suspended naming a new athletic building after former Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) president Wendell Kempton, not because Kempton himself was accused of abuse, but because he appears to have poorly handled a case of missionary-perpetrated sexual abuse. ABWE terminated Donn Ketcham in 1989 after a confirmed report of child sexual abuse but made no further investigation. Some also suspect Kempton of neglecting to investigate another possible case of missionary perpetrated abuse.9 “It is a huge blind-eyed mistake,” says Christa Brown, “for faith communities to seek to explain the harm of clergy sex abuse by focusing only on the clergy-perpetrators. Faith communities must take a hard look in the mirror and begin to see the ways in which they themselves inflict egregious additional wounds through complicity and through a failure of compassion.”10 Survivors of pastoral abuse aren’t simply turned off from people in positions of religious power—they are turned off from faith communities when those communities fail adequately to engage their wounds with compassion and understanding. The often misused story of David with Bathsheba offers an interesting perspective here: When, in 2 Samuel 12, the prophet Nathan confronts David with what he has done, he promises that the violence David has perpetrated will “never depart” from David’s house. “...You did it secretly,” says Nathan, “but I will do this thing [enact violence against David’s household] before all Israel, and before the sun.” It’s then that David confesses, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Leaving aside the enormously problematic question of retributive justice, it appears that what made David’s sin possible was secrecy, and what brought forth his confession of guilt was the threat of exposure. For the sake of justice—and for the sake of healing—faith communities must acknowledge that compassionate attention and full apologies are needed. This means that, for example, The Voice of the Martyrs should issue an apology regardless of whether or not they were aware of Tom White’s al-
“Faith communities must take a hard look in the mirror and begin to see the ways in which they themselves inflict egregious additional wounds through complicity and through a failure of compassion.”
- Christa Brown
Future Hope The Hope of Survivors is celebrating its 10th anniversary. While their website has thousands of hits per week, they are contacted by two to three survivors a week, or more than 100 per year. Many of these are assigned to volunteer support. Samantha and Steve Nelson hope to build a healing center—like a retreat—a place for survivors of pastoral abuse to reconnect with God and their spouse; a place for physical, spiritual, and emotional healing. No such dedicated space yet exists anywhere in North America. Learn more at TheHopeofSurvivors.com.
leged crimes. It might mean that the Southern Baptist Convention (and other denominations and associations) would establish coherent processes for investigating pastoral abuse, as Christa Brown has repeatedly advocated. Hope and healing for perpetrators of abuse is possible, says Samantha Nelson, but her ministry has found it difficult to work with them. “We have tried to include offenders as part of our ministry, and it hasn’t worked well. Most are looking for some kind of excuse.”11 For as many as use King David’s story to excuse themselves and to blame Bathsheba, fewer, it seems, are willing to make as full a confession as David. Perhaps worse, too few faith communities seem as willing to speak into situations of abuse as boldly as Nathan did. Lord, have mercy.
Rachel Marie Stone (RachelMarieStone.com) is the author of Eat With Joy: Redeeming God's Gift of Food (just out from InterVarsity Press). She currently lives with her husband and two young sons in Zomba, Malawi, where, as a mission co-worker with the Presbyterian Church (USA), she teaches writing at Zomba Theological College and studies approaches to maternal health from a faith perspective.
by Emily A. Dause
long the route of my first half-marathon, the well-meaning organizers had posted signs with sayings to encourage, or at least cheer, the runners. Although my fellow runners and I appreciated the thought, it struck me that the messages did little to actually help our bodies perform at the level needed to run over 13 miles. One sign in particular caught my attention: “In every wall there is a door.” Before this past year, I would have believed the cliché. I may have even generalized the saying to my “faith journey.” I would have related it to how God will resolve every situation (read: to my satisfaction). Furthermore, while he was at it, God would endow me with an incredible serenity accompanied by a sense that all in life fits exactly as it should. Suffice it to say, that is no longer my reaction. I realize now that when we hit life’s walls, sometimes there is a door, and sometimes there is not. When there is a door, the way it takes us is rarely what we expect or prefer. I grew up attending churches that fit comfortably into the typical evangelical mold. There is much I could write about what was good and right in what these churches taught. However, my purpose here is to highlight the dangerous lie that we, as Christians, communicate to each other and to our neighbors. The lie takes many forms, but at its root is this message: If you are a Christian and follow [insert steps], you will achieve a sense of longlasting, inexplicable fulfillment. In A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller describes the lie as a “promise for earthly euphoria,” something of a new incarnation of the health and wealth gospel. There is a key difference between this euphoric promise and the twisted messages of generations past. This lie of earthly fulfillment shies away from claiming physical prosperity, instead focusing on an emotional gratification. I heard a disturbingly perfect example of this lie packaged in a 60-second radio advertisement aimed at secular listeners. The ener-
getic voice was that of a metropolitan evangelical mega-church pastor. He asked listeners if they ever felt guilty and weighed down by life and whether they ever wished they could push the “delete button” on their past and their burdens. He proceeded to enthusiastically explain that Jesus has a “delete button,” and if they accepted Christ, he could delete the scars of their past and present. An internet search quickly turned up similar messages, in which the pastor proclaims that Christianity gives us the secret to success in life and that being in relationship with Christ is like winning the ultimate lottery of peace and happiness. As a member of the 20-something age group—that elusive demographic leaving the church in droves— I have experienced how destructive this fantasy can be in my own life and in the lives of my peers. While the lie does not affect my generation uniquely, its influence does seem more pervasive here than in older generations. This phenomenon may be due to the church’s desire to match worldly messages,
The Dangerous Lie That We Tell
which mass media make shiny, concise, and persistent. If this is the church’s goal, however, all we have managed to do is fight lies with lies. The lie, however, is not limited to radio sound bites or to a particular pastor or church. It stems from sermons explaining that because the trappings of this world are not bringing you fulfillment (popular culture, alcohol, take your pick), you should become a Christian (‘ask Jesus into your heart’) in order to finally feel lasting joy and meaning in your life. It emanates from Sunday school lessons promising you will always be physically safe and protected as long as you remember to pray and memorize your verse of the week. It flows out of youth retreat sessions in which attractive young men with trendy hair gel solemnly describe how broken and desperate our nonChristian friends must be in comparison to us, because we are Christians. Then, we grow up. We find our doubts and questions do not decrease; they multiply. We feel more confused, not more fulfilled. We begin to experience deep emotional pain. We encounter physical trial and witness inexplicable tragedy. When we look around us, people of the world sometimes seem happier and more content than we are—not desperate or broken as we anticipated. Personally, I reached the point where reading Christian authors nauseated me and opening to a familiar Bible passage dissolved me into hysterical sobs. (My counselor said these reactions were a sign of my growth, which made me think maybe he was the one who was nuts.) In the wake of realizing the contradictions between what we have been told and what we have experienced, we have a choice to make as to how we will react. Herein lies the danger. We can have essentially one of four reactions to the lie that says becoming a Christian guarantees you earthly fulfillment:
The most beautiful truth is that God knows we are broken people, and he accepts us in that state.
Choice #1: Accept the Lie, Deny Reality The lie is what you have always known and is possibly a foundational part of your conversion. You find it more convenient and suspect it is less painful to ignore your doubts, ignore the contradictions, and simply continue living and believing in the same manner as you always have. This choice, however, is dangerous for several reasons. First, it can cause you to make unwise decisions. This may take the form of accepting a job or role simply because it is applauded by Christians, even though you know it does not suit you. As a 20-something, denying reality often means prolonging an unhealthy dating relationship or even marrying someone who cannot match you as a life partner. Your reasoning: If the other person is a Christian and you are a Christian, then God must want you to get married, and he will make everything okay, right? Speaking from my own experience, I spent close to two years in a serious (but immature and unhealthy) relationship with someone because I believed I was supposed to marry him. After all, I could check off all the Christian boxes on my list, and I was pretty sure God had told me I would marry him. I am grateful that situation is behind me. However, many young Christians are pursuing and entering marriage based on the false principle that striving after anything with a Christian label guarantees not only that you are follow-
ing God’s will, but also that as a result of your striving, you will be satisfied. Second, believing Jesus is going to solve all your problems is not helpful to you or to others who are truly struggling. Often this means you elevate your desire to cling to a flawed belief above others’ needs. I once overheard a conversation between several women after a church service, discussing a mutual friend and church member whose parents had just been killed in a tragic motorcycle accident. One of the women commented that the group of friends needed to ensure that the tragedy did not cause the bereaved friend to turn her back on faith (read: the church). Another woman kindly but firmly interjected that supporting the grieving friend should be their priority. Jesus’ first concern was—and ours should be—people, not maintaining an image. A third danger in living this lie is that it misrepresents Christianity to unbelievers. Acting out the distortion perpetuates the fallacy that Dan Allender and Tremper Longman pinpoint in The Cry of the Soul: Christian circles act as though “you are godly if you can handle difficult trials with a detached and apparently unruffled confidence.” If others believe your act, they do not think they can become Christians, because they could never be as stable and peaceful as you seem to be. If they do not believe your act, they label you a hypocrite. Or they believe your act and decide to become a Christian, then go through the same process of disillusionment you are now experiencing. Choice #2: Accept the Lie, Condemn Yourself You believe the fulfillment ideology is true. After all, Romans 8:28 says that “God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” and you have heard the verse quoted in sermons as proof that things will work out for you as long as you are faithful. By your standards, however, things are not working out, which means there must be something wrong with you. You are either doing something wrong or something about you is intrinsically wrong. Other Christians are doing just fine, so why has God not fixed you yet? However, the fact that there is something uniquely wrong with you is shameful and strange, so you hide it. You act the part and put on the perpetual smile that you believe comes by other Christians naturally. I spent years on this path, nodding at the right times, giving the expected answers, and following the rules, all the while secretly “knowing” I was unfit. The pretense was the equivalent of a slow spiritual and emotional death. If you choose this reaction to the lie, you will probably become depressed or so frustrated and despondent you move on to choice #3. Choice #3: Reject the Lie, Reject Faith This reaction is all too common. Failing to find a way to reconcile the church’s teaching with your experiences, you leave your church and eventually your Christian faith altogether. Likely you will seek a faith system or a way of living that acknowledges pain and suffering and seeks healing. Your new life may not satisfy either, but at least you have escaped the disequilibrium for the time being. As one young woman confided after choosing to abandon her Christian faith, “I’m not happy without God, but I am relieved of the dissonance between church and reality.” Choice #4: Reject the Lie, but Tell the Truth As I realize the dangers inherent in the lie, I am saddened by its impact while at the same time ashamed at how often I have perpetuated this false promise for earthly bliss. There is no easy fix; if I pretended there were, I
would be replacing one lie with another. Life is messy, so there is no “neat” solution. However, there is a place to start in dispelling this lie: Tell the truth. The truth is that we are broken people. We struggle, we sin, and we encounter trial. I heard Shane Claiborne say that the world is not waiting for the church to be perfect; the world is waiting for the church to be honest. With other Christians, we need to enter into genuine relationships that share our faults, feelings, and questions in an atmosphere of caring, not judgment. Before unbelievers, we need to expose ourselves as the ones who are broken and desperate. In The Reason for God, Tim Keller explains that God shows us grace and does not require us to be clean in order to come to him. As such, we can expect the church to “be filled with immature and broken people who still have a long way to go emotionally, morally, and spiritually.” In contrast, so many people believe they cannot be Christians because they are not “good” enough. How have we managed to encourage that belief when Jesus’ first disciples were unschooled fishermen and tax collectors? The truth is that the Bible showcases broken people. We can look to major biblical figures and recognize, not brush over, the ugly parts of their stories. The Old Testament, full of scandal and terribly dysfunctional families, paints a picture far from heartwarming and perfect. The story of Judah’s daughter-in-law, Tamar, serves as an example. Tamar’s husband, Judah’s eldest son, dies. God kills Judah’s second son for shirking his responsibility to produce an heir with Tamar. Fearing for his remaining son’s life, Judah does not fulfill his obligation to give his youngest to Tamar in marriage. Left with no other options to produce an heir and thus no way to provide for her own security, she disguises herself as a prostitute and seduces Judah himself. As a result, she conceives. Realizing what has happened and acknowledging he has denied Tamar her right, Judah declares Tamar “more righteous” than he. Tamar gives birth to twins, one of whom is in Matthew’s genealogy of Christ (along with Rahab the prostitute, Ruth the foreigner, and Bathsheba, the woman with whom David committed adultery while making sure her husband was killed). We rarely hear these stories through an honest lens, but we need to encourage one another with the truth: God’s family is and always has been full of people like us—broken and longing for more. The most beautiful truth is that God knows we are broken people, and he accepts us in that state. He never promises he will completely fix us or that we will arrive at a plateau of peace and satisfaction on this side of heaven. As Miller explains in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, while Jesus can and will make things better, he is not “going to make things perfect… not here and not now.” Jesus guarantees his disciples that they will encounter trials (John 16:33), but also encourages them with the knowledge that he has overcome the world and sends his Spirit to guide them. Paul offers further comfort, reminding the Roman church that Christ intercedes for their justification and there is no power or created thing in heaven or on earth that can separate Christ’s followers from his love (Romans 8). Communicating these truths about brokenness is the only way to act against the lie that becoming a Christian leads you to unwavering emotional satisfaction. There are believers already taking powerful steps towards that end. Dan Haseltine, lead vocalist of the contemporary Christian band Jars of Clay, recently posted a bold message on his blog declaring his latest record to be his “self-imposed eviction notice from a religious community that is unfit to live in.” He explains that his newest record reflects his band’s experiences of what life around them is really like. He predicts that the evangelical community will not be able to accept the band’s new focus on themes of love, pain, loneliness, and hope, but
he looks forward to getting to meet the people who will understand the album— people who have experienced hardship and have unanswered questions. I suspect Haseltine will be surprised at how large an audience he will garner, an audience made up of believers (myself included) craving genuine attention to the issues that his band seeks to address. On a personal level, I have experienced how meaningful and helpful it is when fellow Christians have spoken the truth to me in times of trial. When I called my pastor from the hospital late one night to tell him my father had passed away, he did not tell me it would all be okay. He did not patronize me with bland proclamations that I just needed to trust God and the pain and shock would go away. He told me that God was with me, and while I was probably having a hard time feeling God’s presence in such a traumatic moment, he would believe it for me for now. Others gently and truthfully reminded me that Jesus knew my pain, having grieved the loss of Lazarus, even when he knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus comforted Lazarus’ sister with these words: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die, and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25-26). This promise is why we have hope, and 1 Peter 3:15 urges us to be prepared to explain the hope that is within us, not our contrived unflappability. Jesus said that the truth would set us free. When we set aside our pretensions of having all the answers and living perfectly satisfying lives, we are free to accept God’s grace, to extend his grace towards others, and to knock down the artificial walls separating us from meaningful relationships with one another and with people who have not chosen to follow Christ. After all, as another sign at my half-marathon pointed out, “Humpty Dumpty had wall issues, too.” Thank you, Humpty, for telling the truth.
A graduate of the Messiah College Honors Program, Emily Dause is a full-time public school teacher and an emerging freelance writer. She hopes to use her writing to challenge and encourage believers and educators as they engage with the world around them.
May I Have a Word?
Sharing the Shame I am in a van with five teen girls and a house mom from the New Life Center (NLC) in Chang Rai, Thailand. We are going to a small rural village bordering Myanmar to visit the family of Mauy, age 14. Bringing rice, clothes, and gardening tools, we hope to negotiate with Mauy’s father so that he’ll allow her to stay another six months at the center. At the NLC, Hilltribe girls rescued from sex trafficking have the opportunity to resume their childhood in a loving environment that offers them education and vocational training. Mauy has been at the center for a year, but every so often her father sends for her. An opium addict with six other children to feed, he wants his daughter to fulfill the customary role of supporting the family. It is because of this sociocultural expectation that Mauy was handed over to the sex industry at the age of 8. Within a couple of years, Mauy was moved to bigger brothels, lost connection with her family, and experienced enough brutality and violation to make her think that she would soon die or, worse, never again be welcomed back to her village. Though she has done nothing of her own volition, the scars of abuse make her feel unwanted and ashamed. What keeps her alive now is the longing to be back in her simple village with her parents and little sisters, although she dreads the thought that they will end up in similar “jobs.” The story of Mauy is common to almost all of the 98 girls living at the New Life Center. They are all of Hilltribe origins—an undocumented, destitute, tribal people living in pre-civilized conditions along the Thai border. Targeted by the local sex industry, they were all sold or amica-
bly transactioned by their families at a very young age in exchange for some sort of commodity. The violation these girls experience in the brothels, where they are expected to service multiple men a day, impacts all levels of their being. While Mauy carries deep shame for what has been done to her with her family’s consent, she secretly longs for her parents. But at 14 she is still viewed as a potential source of income for the family and is still dependent on them to decide her life’s course. So she periodically returns home to beg for permission to stay in school. If the staff is not successful in re-persuading Mauy’s father that the professional training they provide will grant better income in the long run, she will have to return to her original “occupation” in the brothels. Girls like Mauy spend their youth suspended between innocence and brutality, trapped in a life they have neither the power nor the right to refuse or escape. They were born in a place where young girls are expected to provide for families that not only abdicate their duty to protect them but in fact deliver them into dangerous and humiliating contexts. How can Confronting we know about the shame of such violence sex slaves ... fail to requires taking and partake in the responsibility shame these for the acts girls feel and of our fellow the shame the per petrator s humans. do not feel? Paradoxically the shame we feel as witnesses can serve in the process of restoration. Being traumatized by the stories of girls like Mauy is an authentic, legitimate, and necessary response. A radical identification with the oppressed and a willingness to take on their pain would prevent us from ever disconnecting from their suffering. As philosopher Raimond Gaita writes: If one saw others as another perspective on the world, as one is oneself, … one could not bear to tolerate the brutality to which they are subjected. That means that we must be open to the distinctive voice of others, which in turn means that we must encourage the conditions
in which those voices can be formed and heard. When people’s souls have been lacerated by the wrongs done to them, individually or collectively, openness to their voices requires humbled attentiveness. The other's perspective becomes our own, and our love for them brings them into a new form of being. Attentiveness to the other is a pathway towards their rehumanization—and our own. But taking on the trauma cannot be an end in itself. Bearing the suffering of the other should ultimately inspire us to find the grace to transform it, a task that is more powerful and effective when done in community. We must face the brutality and ugliness of child sex exploitation. We must face the terrifying realization that on some level we are as vulnerable to that brutality and ugliness as the girls are and as capable of the same brutality as their parents and perpetrators are. Confronting the shame of sex slaves entails exposing our collective shame and requires taking responsibility for the acts of our fellow humans. The acknowledgment of shame does not mean self-indulgence in a virtuous morality nor another opportunity to get stuck in passive remorse. It is, rather, the stepping stone to a new possibility of being—for us as active witnesses and for the victims of trafficking, who, once freed from invisibility, can be healed within communities responsive to the injustice they have been dealt. By owning up to our dose of shame we can imagine a world in which we may one day share an uncommon humanity with the oppressed, in a life beyond shame. For Mauy it looks something like this: Every so often, she can return to her village, where everyone knows what was done to her in the big city, and, accompanied by her house mom, she can bear to negotiate with her dad for another six months of schooling and training at the New Life Center. In doing this, she herself bears witness to another way of life, models courage and a new possibility of dignified self-sustaining work out in the world, and ultimately interrupts the chain of inevitable surrender to cultural violence. What a powerful cycle-breaking model for the whole community and for us!
Francesca Debora Nuzzolese is professor of spiritual formation and pastoral care at Eastern University’s Palmer Seminary.
to cold water and a snack in the summer; to be willing to pray and talk and not make a judgment. The drop-in ministry center is a safe place away from the streets where they can shower, wash clothes, and get a family-style meal six days a week. We provide pastoral counseling and assistance for mental health, addiction issues, and other social ills. Many of our providers come on site to provide a service. What are some culturalspecific challenges that you encounter in working with the men? The challenge that I find the most difficult is getting an understanding of the different cultural and subculture issues. For example, when a man comes to the ministry, he may have any number of issues, such as mental health, HIV, homelessness, or gang involvement, or he may be an ex-offender. These all represent subcultures, and so do age and race. Each drug has its own subculture as well. While there can be overlap, each subculture has it own issues to deal with, and each man will perceive them differently. The subcultures change as the main cultural attitudes and laws change. The greatest challenge in all of these issues is to be able to listen and not put everyone into the same box. The other challenge is to avoid pretending that you know or understand an issue. If you don’t understand an issue, you need to ask questions in order to get an understanding.
Bringing Jesus to the Streets: Sill Davis of Emmaus Ministries For 20 years Emmaus Ministries (Streets. org) has reached out to men in prostitution on the streets of Chicago—men who sell themselves to other men in order to survive. Through nightly outreach teams and a daytime drop-in center, Emmaus staff and volunteers build relationships of trust with these men, working together to help them get off the streets and develop a life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ. Ministry Director Sill Davis has served Emmaus in a variety of roles for 15 years. Tell us about the men you work with at Emmaus and what holistic ministry looks like for you. Men who resort to prostitution are at great risk. They have typically grown up in environments that include physical or sexual abuse, family alcoholism, drug abuse, and generational poverty. They have very few resources to draw on. They typically have no contact
with family or other support structures, are poorly educated, and have few marketable skills to offer prospective employers. They feel trapped in their circumstances and will return to the streets if they are not offered hope and the tools to change the direction of their lives. At Emmaus we seek to make Jesus known on the streets by walking alongside these men in their present circumstances and loving them where they are with Christ’s unconditional love. We stay with them through the ups and downs of their personal journeys, inviting them to step away from the streets and recognize their God-given dignity, giftedness, and purpose. Outreach is the first point of contact with many of the men. Teams of two go out seven nights a week year round to be a presence on the streets to the men, to be a listening ear, give some food or a cup of coffee; to give seasonal items, from coats in the winter
How do you encounter Christ in the people you serve? The men we serve have experienced and are still experiencing situations that most people could not imagine, yet they have a giving spirit. I have seen a man give another man a pair of socks when he has only two—or give the coat off his back, saying that he can
handle the cold better than the man he just gave his coat to. I also see God in the wonder of the human body. When I see a man walk in the door who has HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure and yet is still alive and still has the power to overcome all sort of issues and problems, I marvel that God give us so much grace to change. What is the most exciting transformation you’ve ever witnessed in your work? There is one man who I have watched God work on, and I’ve seen him fight to change. He was drug-addicted, homeless, and in and out of jail or prison. One day he went home with a man to have sex for drugs; he said he knew when the man locked the door and turned and looked him in the eyes that he was going to kill him. He jumped naked out of the second floor window, landing on a fence and breaking his arm; he ran, bleeding, several blocks to Emmaus to get help. Today, he’s been clean and sober for six years and is helping others into recovery. He cuts the hair of the men at Emmaus and another ministry in the Uptown area one day a week each. He is a strong male role model for his nieces and nephews whose fathers aren’t around. He has started his own cleaning business to help support himself. What Scripture has guided you most through the years? “He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isa. 40:29-31). I like that when we get tired and older on our journey, when we wait on God he will give us the strength to grow and go to greater heights. Tell us about one mistake you’ve made in your years of doing ministry and what it taught you. I used to want change for those I served more than they wanted it for themselves. When I did I sometimes overwhelmed them and actually interfered with the change process. When you give them more information or help than they can—or want to—handle, it will cause both you and them anger and frustration. I have learned that healing is a journey and not a destination and that the timing and a person’s place on the journey are between them and God. I need to ask God what my role is on their journey—is it to guide or be a companion, or am I to be there at all? What is one piece of advice that you wish someone had given you before you started in ministry? That yes, while I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me, that doesn’t mean I need to do it all and try to be all things to all people. I wish someone had told me to seek God more and do or serve less. We need to seek God on the work of the ministry he wants us to perform; otherwise, as Charles Stanley puts it, we risk doing good work, not God’s work.
Ministry Matters gets into the hearts and minds of innovative holistic ministry practitioners. The March/April issue will feature Nancy Sleeth of Blessed Earth.
eWORTH REPEATING My Jesus is Black Because he carries the hope of his people on his back And became whatever it was we lacked Our future is sutured within his scars One day he will melt the bars Of every prison because we are forgiven He is bringing an army with him Equipped with books for ammunition So that when black kids shoot each other it's with equal education He knows who we are and he is that with us He is Black because he is with us. -From spoken word poet Anthony Grimes’ “Black Like Me” (AGrimes.com) Watch the whole poem @ PRISMMagazine/Black-Like-Me.
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” -William Wilberforce “I have observed this in my experience of slavery—that whenever my condition was improved, instead of its increasing my contentment, it only increased my desire to be free, and set me to thinking of plans to gain my freedom. I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery; he must be made to feel that slavery is right; and he can be brought to that only when he ceased to be a man.” -Frederick Douglass in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
“You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.” -Booker T. Washington “You follow a God who is moved by your prayers, and your tears, just as you would be moved by the words and tears of your own child. And when God is moved, you look up and over whatever giant is standing in your way, because God will move him. “After all, God can move mountains. Why would he hesitate to remove a mere giant?” —Christine Caine in Undaunted: Daring to Do What God Calls You to Do (Zondervan, 2012), which tells the story of how she founded the anti-trafficking organization The A21 Campaign
The latest victories in important justice battles
End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act: Congress heard your voice The US has a zero-tolerance policy on human trafficking, yet more than 250,000 people have been trafficked to work on US government contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 10 years. Unscrupulous, unregulated labor recruiters have profited an estimated $625 million from illegal recruiting to support work for the Department of Defense in Iraq alone. The victims (both men and women) are often third-country nationals from South and Southeast Asia hoping for a better salary. Promised a safe job in a non-combat area like Dubai, these workers accept large debts to their recruiters that they expect to pay off quickly. But many are deceived and find themselves actually working on a US military base in Iraq or Afghanistan. Their passports and immigration documents are held for “safekeeping”—leaving them trapped abroad and vulnerable to fraud and abuse. The workers are paid minimal wages and live in substandard conditions. It takes them years to pay off the excessive recruiting fee, and they have no means of escape. The newly passed End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act (S2234 and HR4259) prevents and deters this labor trafficking. It requires government contractors to take full responsibility for the actions of their subcontractors and recruiters. Contractors must notify the inspector general if they receive credible evidence that a subcontractor has engaged in illegal conduct and must report those findings publicly. The act also extends criminal prohibitions against fraudulent labor practices, including trafficking, to contractors and subcontractors overseas. This legislation is a critical step towards protecting the thousands of third-country nationals currently serving on US military bases overseas. We’re grateful this issue was a priority across the US government in 2012. The House acted on this legislation last May, President Obama announced an executive order to “strengthen protections against trafficking in persons in federal contracts” in September, and in November the Senate passed this legislation as well. (Courtesy of FreedomCommons.IJM.org) Landmark victory against gun companies who supplied traffickers In October, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence announced that in a landmark decision a New York appeals court unanimously held that a gun manufacturer, distributor, and dealer could be held liable for supplying a gun trafficking ring with 181 Saturday Night Special handguns, one of which was used to shoot Daniel Williams, then a high school basketball star in Buffalo. The Appellate Division, Fourth Department decision in Williams v. Beemiller held that a gun lobby-backed federal gun industry shield law, signed by President George W. Bush in 2005, did not provide immunity to gun companies who violate gun laws by illegally supplying gun traffickers. This is the first case in which a court has held that a gun manufacturer or distributor may be held liable under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act for supplying gun traffickers and facilitating a criminal shooting. (Courtesy of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence; BradyCenter. org)
SAY WHAT? After-birth abortion? This January marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that women have a constitutional right to abortion. In 2011-2012, more than 140 pro-life laws restricting abortion were passed, and the number of abortions in the US has shown a slight decline over the past decade. But when bioethicists consider the legalization of “after-birth abortion”—with straight faces—and get published, we see just how much progress remains to be made. In an article published last year in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Alberto Giubilini of the University of Milan and Francesca Minerva of the University of Melbourne argue that: (1) “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus, that is, neither can be considered a ‘person’ in a morally relevant sense”; and (2) “It is not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to be a person in the morally relevant sense.” Thus: “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack the properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.” Minerva, who says she is against infanticide and that the article was purely theoretical, received multiple death threats from pro-lifers. It’s hard to know which part of this story is the most absurd. The worst toy of the year Each year the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CommercialFreeChildhood.org) elects a winner of the TOADY (Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young Children) Award. The 2012 award went to the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Apptivity Monkey, a stuffed primate with an iPhone in its belly, which “lets babies enjoy their very own apps while protecting mom or dad's iPhone or iTouch.” Illustrating mounting concerns about the push to get very young children to use screen media, the Apptivity Monkey violates pediatrician recommendations to keep children under 2 away from any screens. Pass the battery-free sock monkey, please.
Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes sat on the bench of the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court for 16 years before taking the position, in 2011, of chief executive officer for the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter. As a woman of color in the white man’s judiciary world, Judge Hughes learned to listen for God’s direction, which helped with clarity and discernment. Hurricane Sandy presented challenges different from those faced during murder trials, but human suffering was the common denominator. At the height of the storm, Judge Hughes could be found directing area operations, overseeing the deployment of hundreds of volunteers, and procuring groceries to feed victims. PRISM caught up with her just a week after the storm, and, in spite of a rigorous schedule, Judge Hughes emitted a spirit of calm. That calm, we learned, is nourished by a strong and abiding faith in God and a genuine desire to surrender and serve. “Faith is an integral part of how I live,” says Hughes. “I’m inspired by the Bible and firmly believe that all things are possible with God.” She opens her closet door to reveal a quote inspired both by the Bible and something that Muhammad Ali once said: “Nothing is possible if you don’t have God…With God nothing is impossible…Impossible is not a fact, impossible is an opinion, impossible is nothing.” Hughes explains, “These words encourage me every morning. I have a need to believe, but I don’t necessarily have a need to see. I pray every day and constantly throughout the day in order to stay anchored and focused. This helps me not to be deterred by what I am able to see, which could otherwise be a barrier.” With an ethnic heritage that is half Cherokee, a quarter African, and a quarter European, Hughes has faced some significant challenges in the workplace. “Long ago,” she says, “I decided that I had no control over the actions of others but would instead use these negative circumstances to my advantage. People want to underestimate me and think that I don’t have what it takes, so I make sure that I am prepared all the time. My experiences have taught me to believe that I have to be the best at what I do. It is, therefore, critical that I love what I do. I find joy every day in surrendering my life to service and to God’s will.” Hughes finds comparisons between her
work in disaster relief and her work on the judicial bench. “In both positions, the goal is to make a difference in people’s lives. On the bench, I made sure that the Constitution was applied without regard to race, age, gender, or so-
single moms—we have to always find a way. I have had to make career and life choices based on the best interests of my son. When parents—moms or dads— don’t do right by their child, they will ultimately have to look God in the face and give an explanation. Every time I look at my son’s picture, I know that I’ve done the best job possible—I’m so proud of him. The message that needs to be communicated to other women is one of hope and encouragement—stay the course, get it done—in the end, you’ll be proud that you did.” Hughes sees her greatest strengths as “energy, good health, and a strong mind. God has given me the tools I need.” She’s determined to use those tools to make a difference in people’s lives. “I believe that every day I wake up I get another chance to be better. I didn’t get here by myself, so I have an obligation to make it better for others. I pray that my legacy will be that others got to see in me ‘the possible.’”
"My experiences have taught me to believe that I have to be the best at what I do. It is, therefore, critical that I love what I do." cioeconomic status—so that justice was done. In my role as a Red Cross CEO, I have an opportunity to lift families up. In both environments I’ve been able to make a difference—especially in the lives of women and children, who are often adversely impacted.” Hughes, whose only child, son Alek, is a student at the United States Military Academy at West Point, worries about families in this country. “A full one-third of African American males between the ages of 18 and 34 are under the supervision of the criminal justice system—whether on probation or parole or incarcerated,” she notes. “And the fastest-growing population of those being incarcerated is women. Both of these facts have an impact on our definition of families. “The responsibility of the mother is to set the standard and not deviate because of circumstances. There are plenty of cases of successful men who have been raised by
As far as disasters—natural or otherwise—are concerned, Hughes is committed to maximizing the preparedness of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a region that is home to 140 languages. “To this end,” explains Hughes, “we are looking for multilingual volunteers, more males, and more partnerships—across all demographics. Storms will come in life. The question is whether we are prepared to navigate those storms when we’re hit.”
Cheryl Mobley-Stimpson holds degrees in education and law. She is currently enrolled in the MDiv program at Palmer Seminary of Eastern University, where she is a Sider Scholar.
Off the Shelf
Poor Economics by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo Public Affairs More Than Good Intentions by Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel Plume Reviewed by Bruce Wydick The use of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in development economics in the last decade has had enormous impact on our understanding of world poverty and our evaluation of programs that try to eradicate it. These two books by top researchers at MIT and Yale are essential reading for anyone who has enlisted in the war against poverty. Both offer keen insights into the results of dozens of RCTs around the world that have explored the effectiveness of microfinance, educational programs, agricultural programs, and health interventions. As a development economist working in many of these areas and thus familiar with many of the research projects reviewed in the books, I still found the summary of this larger body of work to be compelling, especially the commentary of the researchers on their own and others’ work. While one might think that the academic nature of the books would make for a dry review of scientific studies in impenetrable jargon, both books, particularly Good Intentions, target a popular audience and are written in an engaging style that welcomes the reader into the innovative new world of 21st-century development economics. They are pageturners, and anyone interested in the issues—especially development practitioners and those who give generously to poverty programs—will find them highly engaging. Several themes emerge from these books that should influence the way we approach our efforts to help the poor. The first is that many of the high-profile programs, those that generate the most excitement among donors in rich countries, often yield a higher ratio of fuzzy feelings for the buck than effectiveness for the buck. Both sets of authors contend that microfinance may be one such example. Both books point to RCTs that have been carried out on microfinance in places such as South Africa, the Philippines, and India. The studies reviewed in both books appear to show that microfinance is effective at stimulating entrepreneurship and smoothing incomes but seems to do little to significantly increase incomes. Some researchers (including myself) remain unconvinced that these studies offer the conclusive word on the impacts of microfinance. Subjects in both treatment and control groups in these studies had other access to microfinance, meaning that while the rate of treatment was higher in the treatment groups, there is reason to believe that the average impact of credit taken from the “marginal borrowers” induced to take microfinance in these studies is not representative of the impact of microfinance as a whole. Even more recent studies carried out in areas in which microfinance was available for the first time to a population show bigger and broader impacts. Yet their general point is well-taken: We need to carefully evaluate even the most popular programs—indeed especially the most popular programs—before billions of dollars in resources are allocated to programs based on good intentions and what we believe ought to work. A second theme running through both books is that it is often the unpopular and the mundane aspects of economic life that are the most effective
in reducing poverty. For example, many development economists now strongly advocate for building savings habits rather than borrowing. In other words, what your grandmother told you about managing money may be more important for the poor than the latest microfinance scheme. The authors follow studies that show simple access to savings banks and reminders to save may have powerful impacts on the welfare of the poor in developing countries. Duflo and Banerjee also present evidence that what are often labeled “sweatshops” are surprisingly associated with significant reductions in poverty. This unpopular idea has been the focus of research in recent years by top researchers who have found that low-wage factory employment in India has accounted for greater income growth among households than the highly touted “Green Revolution” in agriculture. Another study they review shows that in Mexico, children of poor women with steady jobs in border sweatshops (“maquiladoras”) were taller than the children of mothers without this opportunity, the effect being so large that it reduced the stunting gap between children of these poor households and the Mexican average. A third theme is that a more complete view of economic behavior is necessary for understanding the plight of the world’s poor. All of these researchers are part of a behavioral economics movement that studies economic choices beyond the bounds of the traditional calculated economic rationality. Self-control, reminder “nudges,” and aspirations are studied, taken into account, and allowed to shape policy. Yet despite the enormous advances made in development economics during the last decade, there is a sense that in some respects it still lags behind the more holistic view of human beings that has been traditionally held by faith-based development practitioners for many years. While the new work that incorporates behavioral economics into development economics is commendable for its important advances, it still tends to measure human beings and their success by dollars and health statistics. It aims to generate these successes through the manipulation of policy variables rather than through a focus on the individual development of character, values, aspirations, and community. This approach to working with human beings in poverty has been long upheld by some of the best Christian NGOs in their daily work with the poor in the developing world. While development practitioners working in faithbased organizations will learn much from reading these excellent books, the authors of these books would learn much from their work as well.
Many of the high-profile programs, those that generate the most excitement among donors in rich countries, often yield a higher ratio of fuzzy feelings for the buck than effectiveness for the buck.
Bruce Wydick is professor of economics at the University of San Francisco and a contributing editor to PRISM.
Heresy by Michael Coren McClelland and Stewart Exposing Myths about Christianity by Jeffrey Burton Russell InterVarsity Press Reviewed by Kenneth H. Miller In recent years atheism has taken on a decidedly aggressive tone toward believing people in general and Christians in particular. While little, if anything, new by way of argument actually characterizes the “new atheism,” it is a stridently militant stance assumed by Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, Harris, et al., in their campaign to marginalize, if not eradicate, Christian belief. But the direct challenges to Christian faith are not the only ones apologists have had to manage recently. Perhaps in a more subtle way, the credibility of the Bible and its portrayal of Jesus have been called into question through Dan Brown’s popular work, The DaVinci Code. Assumptions concerning vested interests and ecclesiastical power as the major contributors to the shape of the Bible as we know it have found their way into common acceptance by people who will never read The God Delusion. How should Christians respond to both types of challenges? What resources might be on offer to bolster the confidence of believers who are asked about the reasons for their continued faithfulness to a supposedly discredited story? Michael Coren and Jeffrey Burton Russell have offered such resources. Though coming from different vantage points and likely appealing to different readerships, these authors list the specific challenges and demonstrate either their fictitious character or their irrelevance to the debate between belief and atheism. And while the number of alleged lies the respective authors wish to expose varies greatly (10 and 145, respectively), there is broad agreement about the topics in greatest need of clarity. Each addresses not only such traditional apologetic concerns as the status of the Bible, theodicy, the plausibility of miracles, and the challenge of religious pluralism but also more recent concerns such as the alleged anti-scientific bias of Christianity and the culpability of Christianity in a variety of the world’s ills. Let’s look first at Coren’s Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread about Christianity. For those who haven’t heard of him (which means most of us outside Canada), we’ll begin with a word about the author, since his own spiritual pilgrimage explains in some measure his interest in getting the facts of the case correctly. Born Jewish, he converted to Catholicism, then to evangelical Christianity, through which he was eventually reunited to the Catholic Church. He is a journalist by training and profession, active both in print and on television with a provocative style designed to garner attention. His views are quite well informed, drawing from sources familiar to both evangelicals and conservative Roman Catholics. Coren begins, however, with an introduction crafted to raise the level of passion for that which follows, offering anecdotes from around the Western world to illustrate the detrimental effects that Christian people and Christian proclamation have suffered from the lies he will address. He is angry, and he believes we should share that anger. He then proceeds in a fashion that takes full advantage of his journalistic training, taking on attacks on the life and person of Jesus by quoting sources inside and outside the church in the first four centuries. That same interest in sources contemporary with the questions at hand, whether the time of the Nicene Council or the Galileo contro-
versy, is a significant strength of Coren’s work. Such is not always the case in works offered to a popular audience rather than to the expert. Arguably his most insightful work is done in Chapter 8, “Christians Oppose Progress and Change.” Coren offers several examples of shifts in cultural attitudes and practices that were precipitated by Christians. These examples include antislavery champion William Wilberforce and antidiscrimination leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Regarding the latter, the author demonstrates the incomprehensibility of King without his specifically Christian motivation. He was not “simply” a cultural change agent for a race; he was a Christian, and it is a great deception to minimize the fact. In Exposing Myths about Christianity: A Guide to Answering 145 Viral Lies and Legends, Jeffrey Burton Russell writes a different book, yet one pointing in the same direction. He systematically takes the reader through all 145, organized under eight headings. The arrangement offers the advantage of a reference volume, with answers readily available for believers encountering specific objections to the faith. An extensive chronology constitutes the bulk of the book’s introduction, giving further value as a reference volume. After refuting the idea that Christianity is dying out and that its death is a good thing, Russell turns attention to ideas made more prominent by Richard Dawkins, namely that Christianity is anti-environment, sexist, homophobic, racist, antidemocratic, destructive to the minds of children, promoting of slavery, and responsible for the existence of war itself (to name just a few of the alleged malignancies). In many cases the lies and legends are exposed as fraudulent charges simply by spelling out their premises in clear fashion; for others, such as the charge of anti-Semitism, more extended treatment is given due to the seriousness and the long history of the question. Russell’s list of lies and legends goes beyond those stemming from nonbelievers; he also includes a segment of “intramural” misunderstandings and accusations, particularly under the heading of “Christian Beliefs That Have Been Shown to Be Wrong.” These include charges and countercharges from both fundamentalist and Catholic or Orthodox popular beliefs. While not everyone will agree that he has handled each such legend properly, he does so evenly and fairly. The section dealing with science and the supposed opposition to it from Christians is helpful as well. The most extensive single refutation deals with the charge that nature offers no evidence of intelligent purpose in the universe, and it is well informed both from a scientific and a philosophical perspective. The issue concludes with an appeal to philosopher Antony Flew, the longtime atheist who late in life changed his mind, based on the evidence he had evaluated throughout his long career. Each book has something to offer. Both give satisfactory accountings for the truth regarding the early development of essential doctrines; both offer readily accessible answers and resources for the most common challenges to the faith. Coren’s book provides by far the better narrative of the subjects he covers; Russell’s encyclopedic approach assists readers with specific questions. One objection, though a minor one which may be better attributed to the marketing of the books, is with what could be understood as incendiary language in the titles and subtitles. Do the words raise unnecessarily the defenses of those who might be given to some of the lies and legends? They sound angry, even if what follows is not. Anger is in ample supply in the continued on page 47
Being Church by John Alexander Wipf & Stock
Speaking of Dying by Fred Craddock, Dale Goldsmith, and Joy Goldsmith Brazos Press
Reviewed by Maria Kenney Reviewed by Jenell Paris and Janel Kragt Bakker In Being Church: Reflections on How to Live as the People of God, John Alexander maintains that churches have been “playing the wrong game.” “We have a sense,” he writes, “that there must be something more than we’re experiencing, more than we’re seeing around us.” Alexander, former pastor of the Church of the Sojourners, addresses a fear of commitment and accountability in our attitude towards church, attributing this to what he identifies as FIRES (freedom, individualism, rights, equality, and self) and the increasing emphasis on one’s personal relationship with Jesus. He further maintains that the mission of being a reconciled body of believers—what he calls the sacred vocation of the church—has been abandoned. To clarify the game Christians should be playing, Alexander proposes “a different model of how to turn towards the world.” “The ministry of the church,” he declares, “is to be the church for the world.” He contends that the form taken by the church matters, as “you win people to what you win them with.” Small groups within large churches, house churches, and religious orders are viable options for faithfully “being church,” but “live-in church” is the most fruitful model for the sanctification of the people of God. Distinguishing between membership and commitment, he emphatically grounds the “cost of discipleship” in the depth of grace, love, and forgiveness that are revealed in God. Only this, he maintains, enables fallen humanity to model God’s love and thus be a light to the world. Indeed, this love is one of the primary marks of the church, along with unity and speaking the truth in love. Through God’s love we are empowered to play the right game—living in reconciliation and grace—and to forgive one another when we inevitably drop the ball. Alexander’s position raises some concerns. Making a stark distinction between the spiritual and the secular, he states, “People are doing God’s work in direct proportion to their faithfulness in using their gifts in a local church. And insofar as they are not doing that, they are not doing God’s work.” Maintaining that “all problems are at heart spiritual” and the solution to them is the reconciled church, he finds “limited value” in trying to address a problem such as AIDS by trying to find a cure for it. “The real need,” he writes, “is to end promiscuity and drug addiction, and those are spiritual problems in the domain of church and not in the domain of medical research.” Understanding such concepts as “serving” and “calling” as related solely to the life of the local church, he insists that “those serious about the church won’t be available at work for repeated 50-hour weeks.” Alexander is right to question the valuing of career over church; yet our problems are not completely spiritual, and nor were the healings provided by Jesus or the early church. (The examples of neurosurgeon Ben Carson and C. Everett Koop also come to mind.) This belief is perhaps connected to his equating the local church with the kingdom of God, wherein believers simultaneously call people “into churches” and “into the kingdom.” Although they certainly are connected, they are not identical. continued on page 47
Each of us was born; each will die. In our society, it is easy to anticipate and celebrate the former but hard to even acknowledge the latter. Speaking of Dying: Recovering the Church’s Voice in the Face of Death addresses that difficulty, offering churches—leaders, in particular— case studies, theology, and examples from Christian history that encourage more forthright and compassionate treatment of dying persons in their midst. In the first part of the book, the authors explain society’s difficulty with dying. Among other challenges, dying invokes the fear that proximity to dying may prove contagious, and contemporary religion has “outsourced” dying to medical professionals. Instead of offering rich stories, rites, and communities that support the full span of human life on earth, churches often wither to a more restricted role of service-provision related to death. Ten case studies of dying pastors are offered—stories in which pastors and congregations respond to a pastor’s dying in various ways. These case studies are regrettably underdeveloped; a summary chart tantalizes with promise of rich narrative that goes undelivered. Theological reflection is the unifying thread in the book, and the case studies drift away shortly after being introduced. The second and longer part of the book elaborates theological resources available in the story of Jesus Christ, in the transformed lives of Christians, and in the public witness of the church. One particularly insightful approach is using the last words of Christ to explore what the dying might want to say within their religious communities: words of lament, forgiveness, hope, expression of physical needs, care for others, commitment of oneself to God, and acceptance of the end. In the case studies, speaking clearly about dying was extremely difficult for pastors and congregants. The authors suggest that being formed by the language and stories of Scripture may help congregants to become those who have “experienced disciplining that creates the habits, thoughts, and practices of faithfulness, concern for others, and patience with life that can be used in times of affliction.” Stories from Christian history show that the church has long held a vital, direct, and unsentimentalized role in the lives of the dying—something that, with effort and intention, may be reclaimed today. Speaking of Dying has an extremely narrow focus on dying itself, dedicated almost entirely to the dying person. The apparent reality that dying is inextricably linked with others, and also with death, grief, and lament, is barely acknowledged. The book would be richer with Christian theology and the narrative of Jesus’ life and death tied to the experience of loved ones and community members who are witnesses and companions with a dying person. Additionally, the book largely assumes that dying is something the individual is cognizant of; it doesn’t explore the dying of children, sudden death, or other instances in which reflection upon one’s own dying isn’t fully possible. The book offers valuable encouragement toward reflection and spiritual formation, even in the process of dying, and emphasizes the promise of hope and resurrection. But on its own this approach seems to overemphasize death as a natural event deserving acceptance. A counter-theme might be death as tragedy, both in general and in specific instances. Responses will vary to aspects of dying that seem natural or humane, as opposed to those that seem untimely, continued on page 47
if you compare it to other “Christian movies”). Regardless, the cosmic struggle with faith, which felt like a matter of life and death in the book, seemed to be reduced to a relatively brief spat with God. But whether you read or see Miller’s autobiographical musings, it ultimately doesn’t matter. In any form, Blue is a beautiful, messy, honest, human story of Christian faith that doesn’t resolve—like good jazz, like divine mystery. And yet after reading the book or watching the movie, one feels strangely confident that the way of Christ, which may or may not align just right with your church’s version, is worth our pledge of allegiance. Open-endedness and confident commitment are not mutually exclusive in the life of faith. As with all authentic storytelling, readers/ viewers see themselves in and through Miller’s
Everyone gave a thumbs-up in support of the movie. But as much as I enjoyed it, it didn’t quite pack the punch that the book had on me personally. That’s no big deal, because the book is almost always better than the movie, right? Perhaps it simply couldn’t match Miller’s gift of masterful storytelling, or maybe the actors weren’t that great. Or it could be that the viewing public is so accustomed to the vivid depiction of sin on the screen that if a film doesn’t contain a quota of flesh, blood, irreverence, f-bombs, or a combination thereof, it will come across a bit anemic. I do wonder if a subconscious need to be safe plagued the project, as if it had to maintain some level of clean so that churches and Christian colleges could show it without controversy (even though it had plenty of dirt
experience. One doesn’t necessarily finish Blue Like Jazz and say, “Wow, Donald Miller is cool” (though he might be). Instead, you get positively blue and self-reflective, thinking thoughts like, “Thank you for my life, God. Thank you for putting up with me. Thank you for walking alongside me on this journey. Think I’ll go love somebody. Do justice. Love mercy.” My road to and with God is different from Miller’s, and yet his authentic approach at telling his story has inspired me to think about my own. While Miller ran from the god of his upbringing, I had no real spiritual upbringing to speak of. While he rebelled toward a hedonistic lifestyle for a time, I “rebelled” to God, defying the hedonism that ran in our family veins. While he struggled with the ridiculousness of belief, I struggled with the meaninglessness of unbelief. While he had
to come to terms with the caricature of God that his church proclaimed, I had to come to terms with the empty lies of the world. And while Blue Like Jazz as a title works to convey the smooth, introspective mood of Miller’s return to grace, I would have opted for something more like Blue Like Rock, conveying wide-eyed passion and screaming intensity as boy meets God for the first time. Plus, I never did like jazz. I still don’t. And yet, when the disillusioned churchgoer and the spiritually ignorant pagan cried out to God in search of truth, authenticity, and meaning to this life, they both ended up in essentially the same place—in the open arms of an infinite, loving God. God is good, the gift of salvation amazing, and the miracle of life worth living! There’s no formula, no straight
Word, Deed & Spirit
Blue Like Rock
Blue Like Jazz, the movie? That was my first response to the news that Donald Miller’s bestselling memoir had been made into a feature film. But upon discovering that former rocker-turnedfilm producer Steve Taylor was behind the project, I simply had to see it. So I scheduled a movie night at my house, microwaved some popcorn, and watched it with a handful of friends. Miller’s story of spiritual struggle and eventual triumph of faith—amid his disillusionment with church and his immersion into party life at college—made for compelling drama and meaningful discussion afterward.
Blue is a beautiful, messy, honest, human story of Christian faith that doesn’t resolve— like good jazz, like way, no 1-2-3 to God; but when you encounter divine Jesus, you know it. A peace and a clarity mystery. overtake your entire
being, no matter where you came from. At that point, I want to break out in a high-intensity song with electric guitar riffs. A saxophone won’t do!
Al Tizon is co-president elect of ESA and associate professor of holistic ministry at Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University.
Washington Watch Jesus’ mom rocks. In Luke 1, Mary has the nerve to say that, because God is at work in the world, “The hungry have been filled with good things and the rich sent away empty-handed.” Very few people have the courage to say that God is at work to send the rich away with empty hands. Neither Democrats nor Republicans dare talk this way about rich people. (Full disclosure: I am rich.) When a young Palestinian Jewish girl in occupied Galilee is filled with the Spirit to carry, birth, and rear the Messiah, amazingly bold things get declared. This teenage phenom from the backside of the Roman Empire made a claim that can be reacted to in at least two ways. First, it can be written off as ridiculous if there’s really little or no structure or policy in place to help this happen other than the occasional heart change within individual rich folk— God or conscience or argument might persuade a few people, but there’s nothing to worry about (or be hopeful for) society-wide. So maybe Mary’s crazy. Second, if Mary had some substance or system to back up this claim, those of us who are rich might have something to be concerned about (and those who are poor might have something to be happy about). Some of us would say that the church is God’s system for doing this redistribution of wealth. The church does share radically in Acts 2, 4, and 6, and Luke claims, “There was no needy among them.” However, Ron Sider points out in Fixing the Moral Deficit:
A Balanced Way to Balance the Budget that of all the food assistance provided each month in the US, 94 percent comes from the government and 6 percent from private sources. Each of the 325,000 churches in the US would have to add $1.5 million to its annual budget to replace the government aid that helps keep Americans out of poverty. Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious institutions and people can and should continue to redistribute and reinvest the wealth of their rich into the lives of the hungry. But we should take Mary’s prophetic word seriously not only for our individual or institutional religious lives but also as inspired direction for public policy. We as a society can operationalize Mary’s magnificent proclamation by defining “rich,” “hungry,” “filled with good things,” and “empty-handed.” These will always be debated, but one of the least controversial ways to define “rich” is the top 1 percent of income earners (above $343,000 in annual income). But I want Mary’s voice to have more influence, so I suggest we operationalize it as the top 20 percent of income earners and wealthy, since the top 20 percent bring home 50 percent of all US income. This is every household that makes more than $100,000 per year. In 2010 the top 20 percent owned 88.9 percent of all net worth and 95 percent of all financial wealth in the US (yes, the other 80 percent of Americans own 11.1 percent of the net worth and 5 percent of the financial wealth).* There are in fact 46 million people in poverty and 17.2 million actual literally hungry (food insecure) households in the US. There are close to 1 billion hungry people in the world. In-
*G. William Domhoff, “Wealth, Income, and Power,” www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/ wealth.html
Paul Alexander is co-president elect of Evangelicals for Social Action and professor of Christian ethics and public policy at Eastern University’s Palmer Theological Seminary.
“Stylized Mary” 52churches52weeks.wordpress.com
Mary and Money
tegrally related to “hunger” are low nonliving wages for soul- and body-crushing work, the poverty of poor housing and education, and lack of medical care. Safe work and decent housing, education, and healthcare are “good things” that operationalize Mary’s call and hope for the poorest. Twenty-five percent of American households live on less than $25,000 per year (around 75 million people). I think Mary thought that God thought each of these friends should be filled with good things. The resources for them to have the good things they need are actually in the hands (or the bank accounts and assets) of the rich. Raising the minimum wage to a living wage, providing quality free public education, universal healthcare, inexpensive healthy food, and affordable housing are public policy ways of fulfilling Mary’s prophecy— and it means legitimately raising taxes on the top 20 percent of earners who bring in 50 percent of US income. I won’t go as far as Mary went and operationalize “empty-handed” by claiming that the wealthiest should give it all away (as Mary’s firstborn suggested) or be taxed at 100 percent. But if the top 1 percent were taxed at 100 percent and that wealth was redistributed as Mary might have suggested, there would be a system in place for this former top 1 percent to be okay. They would be empty-handed for a minute and then be welcomed into a society that has systems in place so that they and their families would have a living wage, good housing, good education, and healthcare. Even those who give so much are not left desolate in a society where the poor are brought up and the wealthy are brought down. Mary’s view of money is more radical than America can handle; it’s even crazier than the church can handle. But she was onto something good and true, and we should support the policies that help any society get closer to it. Thanks, Mary (and PS, even if taxes are raised on the top 20 percent, we’ll still be rich).
At least three times a day, we have the opportunity to choose nonviolence. We don’t have to face down an enemy carrying a gun, brave counter-protestors, or venture into danger to do so. We can simply pick plants over animals. At least three times a day, we have the opportunity to choose mercy over suffering. While
other? We can choose peanut butter instead of pigs. At least three times a day, we can live out our love of neighbor. Because why should our idea of neighbor end at our block, our city, our nation, our faith, our species? We can choose barley over bacon. At least three times a day, we can choose empathy, compassion, and justice, qualities that are set aside when we nonhuman animals dehumanize one another to justify war, violence, and oppression. Evangelicals point to William Wilberforce as a peacemaking hero, one who worked doggedly to end the slave trade in England as a direct outpouring of his love for God and his faith. We rarely mention that Wilberforce was also
off, and are castrated without pain relief. Cows’ horns are gouged out of their heads. After living cramped in mud, feces, and filth, they are thrown into crates or prodded onto trucks for a long and terrifying trip to a slaughterhouse, where they are hung upside down and their throats are slit. Many are still alive and able to feel pain when slaughterhouse workers begin to rip the skin or feathers from their bodies. Every minute of their miserable lives is marked by violence. At least three times a day, we can remind ourselves that the kingdom of God has been here, is here now manifested in the Holy Spirit, and will be here again. We live in the tension of the already and the not yet. While evangelicals are increasingly abandoning the idea that “this
A Different Shade of Green
Peace begins on our plates
At least three times a day, we can exercise holy dominion, instead of human dominion._______
we’re praying and striving for peace, pursuing reconciliation, confessing our many shortcomings, and drowning in the midst of a million things that we can’t control, we can choose chick peas instead of chicken. At least three times a day, we can exercise holy dominion, instead of human dominion. Human dominion is power over, for selfish gain. God’s dominion is reconciliation with, for wholeness and peace. We can choose tofu instead of turkey. At least three times a day, we can use our whole bodies to promote peace. Because how much sense does it make to speak and work for the Prince of Peace in one breath and gnaw on the corpse of a tortured, mutilated animal in the
deeply concerned with the humane treatment of nonhuman animals and was a founding member of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. When we choose wheat instead of meat, we fully embody the qualities that allow us to stand in solidarity with and care for those who are weak and persecuted. The violence endured by nonhuman animals is systemic, sustained, and on a scale that is nearly impossible to comprehend. In the US alone, 27 billion nonhuman animals are killed each year for food. They are bred, born, and raised in conditions that deny every God-given natural instinct. Chickens and turkeys have their beaks seared off when they are days old. Cows and pigs have their teeth cut out, their tails cut
world is not my home” and instead working in any small capacity to make this home more accurately reflect that kingdom ideal, let’s remember that our image of what the world should and, more importantly, can look like is found in Genesis 1 and 2. It is peaceful. It is nonviolent. It is the whole of creation fully reconciled to God and one another. It is a world without death, including the death of nonhuman animals. It is a vegetarian world. Sarah Withrow King is the deputy director of Evangelicals for Social Action and a seminary student with a focus on evangelical animal theology.
On Being the Church
I still vividly recall the otherworldly song I first heard when visiting a local Baptist congregation as a poor and homeless child: Would you be free from the burden of sin? / There’s power in the blood, power in the blood; / Would you o’er evil a victory win? / There’s wonderful power in the blood. These mystical words, sung with confidence amidst the smell of old wooden pews, were the first I heard of sin and evil and blood. Though I would not become a follower of Jesus until many years later, this strange singing of another world would stay with me throughout my spiritual journey. While being confronted with my family’s struggles with drugs, alcohol, and poverty, I understood early that any Jesus worth following at all needed to be a Jesus who could save me from both the hell I was in and the hell to come. Unfortunately, as I began to follow Jesus as an atheist philosophy student at the University of Michigan years after this first brush with old-timey religion, the Christian message I kept hearing only applied this “power in the blood” to our own personal sin and salvation and not to the brokenness and suffering of the world. The good news of Christ’s powerful blood is that it is indeed able to both save our souls and transform the worlds of those who suffer! When we think of a homeless black child in
inner-city Detroit or an 8-year-old sex slave in the villages outside Bangkok, we have to realize that we don’t have the luxury of choosing an either/or Jesus. Our world is broken, lost, and in need of God’s wonder-working power. The good news of the gospel is that God not only desires to save us from death and hell but also desires to save the world from suffering and exploitation—these desires for God are not mutually exclusive. What we hear most vividly in the defeated whimpers of those children who cry themselves to sleep hungry or cower beneath the red lights and dirty beds of brothels can be healed through the wonder-working power of Christ. We need to reject what I like to call the “knickknack Jesus” who hangs on dusty walls of dead churches throughout America—the Jesus who has nothing to say about the suffering of the children of the world. The Jesus we serve is able to save that boy or that girl not only from the hell to come but also from the hell they are in right now. The American church has put far too much emphasis on being saved “from” and not enough on being saved “to”! Christ saves us from sin, death, hell, and disease, poverty, exploitation, but more importantly he saves us to something as well. Christ saves us to live with significance, make an impact in the world, experience his love, and give him praise—ultimately he saves us to flourish! One of the reasons our gospel has become decoupled from a both/and view of salvation is because we lack understanding of God’s ultimate dream. The dream of God from the beginning was never merely to restore
The good news of the gospel is that God not only desires to save us from death and hell but also desires to save the world from suffering and exploitation—these desires for God are not mutually exclusive.
what was lost or broken but also to cause all things to flourish. We don’t spend enough time as Christians looking at the end of God’s great dream, recorded for us in the book of Revelation. Revelation has become something of an embarrassment to us in recent generations, the stuff of late-night comic book preachers, but within this blessed book we see God’s wonder-working power in action. While the victory against death was won on the cross through the blood of Christ, the actualization of God’s victory isn’t seen until the dream of God finds its fulfillment in Revelation 22:1-5: Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. The dream of God is a dream of flourishing for everyone and everything: water for the thirsty; the intertwining of urban infrastructure with agriculture, food, healing, international peace—these are the contours of the dream of God that spans all human and divine history! Embedded within the otherworldly words of that simple hymn I heard as a child was the truth that God’s power is wonder-working; it is capable of changing time and space, continents and countries, and most importantly the worlds of those who suffer in this realm and who are on their way to suffering in the realm to come.
R. York Moore is a national evangelist with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and the author of Growing Your Faith by Giving It Away: Telling the Gospel Story with Grace and Passion (2005) and Making All Things New: God’s Dream for Global Justice (2012), both from InterVarsity Press.
Heresy and Exposing, continued from page 41
offerings of certain atheist writers; this reviewer would prefer a gentler answer to turn away wrath. Beyond that, thanks are due to these two who defend the faith once delivered to the saints.
Kenneth H. Miller is professor of Christian theology at Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown, Pa. Being Church, continued from page 42
Finally, Alexander has the worrisome habit of arguing from silence, wherein he finds “the main argument” for the primacy of the local church over other life activities and concerns. “Most of the things we take seriously,” he claims, “are simply ignored in the New Testament.” True this may be, but it fails to suffice as a basis for relativizing the physical and temporal needs of the world. Addressing these points, however, best serves to further engage his thought. Alexander’s reflections on the Christian life are clearly the product of a lifetime of learning and action and are highly recommended for anyone who would claim—or desire—to be “a Christian.”
Maria Kenney lives in Lexington, Ky, where she is a member of Communality, a missional Christian community, and is completing her PhD in Christian Ethics at Durham University, Durham, UK. Speaking of Dying, continued from page 42
tragic, or horrific. Speaking of Dying will be helpful for church leaders who are seeking to better address dying within their congregations, and while applications to death, grief, and lament certainly may be drawn, they will be reader-generated extensions of the book. Though the writing is sometimes poorly organized, with flow interrupted with communicationstudies jargon, the heart of the book is sound: an encouragement to foster “good dying” among believers by facing death squarely and offering the rich resources of the Christian tradition for their benefit.
Jenell Paris is professor of anthropology and sociology at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa. Janel Kragt Bakker is associate director of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research in Collegeville, Minn.
On the Editor’s Desk Hundreds of books cross my desk each year, far more books than hours to read them, I’m afraid. We review what we can, I share what we can’t, and I read (eventually) what I can’t bring myself to give away. Below is a list of what’s currently on my desk—my New Year’s resolution is to work through this pile before 2014 is upon us! If you read one of these or another title of interest, we’d love to post your review on the PRISM website. So let me know about your latest adventures in reading by contacting me at KKomarni@Eastern. edu. —Kristyn Komarnicki
The White Umbrella: Walking with Survivors of Sex Trafficking by Mary Frances Bowley (Moody, 2012) Undaunted: Daring to Do What God Calls You to Do by Christine Caine (Zondervan, 2012) A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master” by Rachel Held Evans (Thomas Nelson, 2012) Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views, edited by James K. Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy (Baker Academic, 2012) The Devil Wears Nada: Satan Exposed! by Tripp York (Cascade Books, 2011) The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy Seal (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time by Peter Lovenheim (Perigee, 2010) Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schultz (Portobello Books, 2010) Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go to War by Jimmie Briggs (Basic Books, 2005)
Ron Sider At a recent conference at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard Professor Robert D. Putnam asked to eat lunch with me. I was delighted to accept his invitation since Professor Putnam (author of best-sellers like Bowling Alone and Amazing Grace) has been called by the Sunday Times of London the “most influential academic in the world today.” Putnam wanted to tell me about the new book he is working on and ask me an important question. He is appalled by the radical lack of equality of opportunity in the US today. And he wanted to know if evangelical preachers would dare to say what his pastor said when Putnam was a teenager. In the midst of Martin Luther King Jr.’s great campaign against segregation, Putnam’s devout Methodist pastor dared to preach that “racism is a sin.” Professor Putnam wanted to ask me, as an evangelical, whether evangelical pastors today would be ready to declare that great economic inequality of opportunity is a sin. That’s a great question. In my book Fixing the Moral Deficit: A Balanced Way to Balance the Budget, I argue that the Bible does not promote equality of income or wealth. When laziness and other forms of sin result in less income, inequality is appropriate. When parents rightly pass on an inheritance of skill and wealth to children, some inequality is proper. When the economic rewards of work create incentives for creativity and diligence, some inequality is desirable. On the other hand, I believe the Bible sug-
gests at least two limits on inequality. For one, the biblical principle of justice demands that every person and family has access to the productive resources so that if they act responsibly they can earn a decent living and be dignified members of society. Whenever the extremes of wealth and poverty prevent some people from having access to adequate productive resources, or make it difficult, then that inequality is unjust, wrong, sinful, and must be corrected. The second limitation on inequality flows from the biblical understanding of sin and power. In a fallen world, whenever one group of people acquires excessive unbalanced power, they will almost always use it for their own selfish advantage. So how should we evaluate the extreme inequality in income, wealth, and power in the US today? American economic inequality today is greater than at any time since 1928 just before the Great Depression. In 2004 the richest 0.1 percent had more income than the poorest 120 million. If you divided the total US income among 1,000 people, the richest person (one person!) would have as much income as the poorest 387! Between 1993 and 2007, more than half of all the increase in income in the US went to the richest 1 percent. Between 2002 and 2007, 66 percent of all increased income went to the richest 1 percent. And in 2009-2010, 93 percent of all the increased income in the US went to the richest 1 percent. The richest 1 percent of Americans own
Ron Sider is president of ESA and professor of theology/ public policy at Palmer Seminary of Eastern University. He is the author of the bestseller Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.
Should We Call it Sin?
more than the bottom 90 percent. Over the last three decades, the average annual income of the richest 1 percent has jumped by $700,000 while the average Joe has actually lost ground. The poorest 20 percent had less income in 2009 than they did in 1979. About 50 million Americans are in poverty. Today there is much greater inequality and less equality of opportunity in the US than in “aristocratic” Europe. Making things even worse, some prominent politicians say that our serious budget deficit means that we must slash effective programs that empower poor people. House Republicans have called for cutting $128 billion from food stamps; cutting Pell grants that help poor kids afford college from $5,500 to $3,000; and cutting effective foreign aid that saves the lives of millions around the world. At the same time, they want to give more tax cuts to the richest Americans. There are ways that public policy could move us away from today’s gross inequality and back toward more equality of opportunity. We should maintain effective programs that care for and empower poor people. We should spend enough on minority urban education so that everyone, not just white suburbanites, receives an education that offers vastly expanded equality of opportunity. We should increase taxes somewhat on rich Americans and tax income from dividends at the same rate as other income. Yes, we must greatly reduce our ongoing federal budget deficit over the next five years, but we need not—and should not!—do it on the backs of the poor. It is time for evangelical preachers to label today’s gross inequality what it is: SIN. If we believe what the bible says about God’s concern for the poor, if we believe what the bible says about justice, then we must denounce the gross inequality of opportunity and income in our country today as blatantly sinful.
PRISM Vol. 20, No. 1
Editorial Board Miriam Adeney Tony Campolo Luis Cortés Richard Foster G. Gaebelein Hull Karen Mains Vinay Samuel Tom Sine Eldin Villafane
George Barna Rodney Clapp Samuel Escobar William Frey Roberta Hestenes John Perkins Amy Sherman Vinson Synan Harold DeanTrulear
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A Publication of Evangelicals for Social Action The Sider Center on Ministry and Public Policy www.EvangelicalsforSocialAction.org Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University
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