The Importance of the Rule of Law

The May/June 2010 issue of Foreign Affairs – one of the world’s most respected and widely read international policy journals – features an article co-authored by Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros, an IJM-friend and Federal Prosecutor in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The article, entitled “And Justice for All: Enforcing Human Rights for the World’s Poor,” is dedicated to discussing IJM’s “collaborative casework” model – working with local law enforcement to enhance public justice systems – and is supported by powerful casework examples.

The article is available for purchase on the Foreign Affairs website and is really helpful in understanding the importance of the rule of law when it comes to ending slavery. Here is a summary of the article:

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Beautiful Slave: Free Music Download by Take No Glory

One of my most favorite aspects to knowing God is the realization that each and every person he created is designed with unique gifts and passions. As I've met people along my journey to abolish slavery today, I've heard the stories of those who are also combating slavery and those who are survivors of it. Every person has responded differently to hearing about this massive issue. Some have started organizations and businesses to help. Others have writen books. Still, others have spoken out at forums or conferences on the issue. Take No Glory responded with song. Take No Glory calls themselves Muscianaries. Their desire is to bless people with their music, all of which is free for download on their website. 

They have a number of great songs. The song, Beautiful Slave was written after one of the musicians read an IJM article about the modern day issues with sex trafficking in our world today.  Check out this video to hear the lyricist talk about why she wrote the song. 

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Catalyst Comes to a Close

What do you get when you bring together gum walls, skinny jeans, confetti, creepy mustache's on twenty-something’s, poetry, comedy, rock music, hipsters, rap music, any and all music really, Tenley from last seasons The Bachelor, time travel, 6 roach coaches and powerful speakers like Eugene Cho, Kay Warren, Mark Driscoll, Wes Stafford and Donald Miller, just to name a few?

Catalyst West Coast.

The two-day leadership conference came to a close yesterday afternoon as Andy Stanley taught leadership to the 3400 leaders present. He made comment like, "As leaders, you should be making as few decisions as possible" and "Only do what you can do." He also said "Leadership is about getting things done through other people."

Earlier in the day, Wess Stafford of Compassion International said, "I'm convinced the prayer of a child in poverty or in abuse is the most powerful force." Just before making that statement, he said something that really struck me. He said, "We may not be committing the sin of endangering a child, but we are committing the sin of omission by allowing a child to be endangered."

Erwin McManus talked about how Solomon got it wrong when he said "there is nothing new under the sun." Erwin said "God created us for originality; not just effectiveness. Everything God does is new. He is constantly creating the new. Only in the new do we find the beautiful. Live lives of story and meaning and create new beauty."

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What motivates Gary Haugen?

Friday morning at Catalyst West, and Donald Miller is interviewing Gary Haugen, President and CEO of International Justice Mission. IJM is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. I recently interviewed Lauren Johnson at the IJM headquarters in Washington, DC human trafficking.

Anyway, here at Catalyst West, Miller had just said, "What you do dictates the way people live," and then he asked Haugen what motivates him. Here's what he said:

if I don't get up and do what I do, a little girl will be forced into prostitution.

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From Catalyst: God Wants Your Effort

Awesome quotes to motivate God's people as they work as part of the body of Christ in the world.

Andy Stanley, pastor of Northpoint Church in Atlanta, and the co-founder of Catalyst, said:

If you've been at this church for more than a year, and you're not serving, then you need to leave.

Dallas Willard, professor of philosophy, a leader in the spiritual formation movement, said:

The Kingdom of God is God in action. Grace is not opposed to effort; it is opposed to earning.


Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, said: Love God, don't use Him. 

Slavery in America: Some Helpful Websites

When I first began writing about human trafficking and modern day slavery back in January, I expected to be done with the series after about a month, maybe two. Yet here we are a few months later and I am still uncovering more information from this multi-layered, international issue. Although I've provided links to a number of organizations throughout the series, I thought it might be helpful to list some of them here in one blog. These are not in any particular order and I've simply included the mission or vision statement of each site.

Just One is a non-profit organization that was formed to stimulate greater global awareness about extreme poverty, and to provoke compassionate ideas and intelligent giving in order to provide sustainable relief. We are a collective voice for the victims of social injustice––the one(s) living in geographical and situational poverty; the one(s) orphaned through death, disease and desertion; the one(s) trafficked into slavery throughout the world.

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Kevin Bales: A Modern Day Slavery Expert

They call him an expert. He’s considered to be the most knowledgeable person on modern day slavery. His name is Kevin Bales. Kevin is a professor, an author, a speaker and President of the anti-slavery organization Free the Slaves. I had the privilege of hearing Kevin speak briefly at an Award Ceremony last fall that Free the Slaves hosted. The awards were given to survivors of modern day slavery. It was an unforgettable celebration of life and freedom.

Modern day slavery, or human trafficking, is such a disturbing issue of our day. I’ve found it helpful to really learn from those who have dedicated their lives to making it end. England had William Wilberforce. Today we have people like Kevin Bales, Gary Haugen and the countless others whose names we will probably never know who are working on the front lines to combat this evil.  
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Mom was right! Vegetables are good for you!

Each weekday morning, I read through a summary of the days top humanitarian news stories via Reuters AlerNet. The top stories are typically depressing and a daily reminder of how sick our humanity is and our planet is. People are sick, hungry, killing each other and in complete desperation all over the globe.

This morning I was pleased to read a story of hope. Women are farming vegetables and it's changing the world!

Farming vegetables is changing family dynamics, economics, health and even the climate. I was so encouraged by this story I wanted to share it with you. What are your thoughts on this? How can we help encourage this to continue to grow here at home and in the developing world? 

Here is the article:

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Slavery in America: The Year of Jubilee

On the way to church this morning, my mom and brother and I were talking about how our world would be so different today if we still practiced Jubilee. We talked about how great it would feel to have our debt wiped away and the opportunities we’d be given if only it were still practiced today.

Directly after the service, I ran into a friend of mine who I traveled with to Malawi a couple years ago. It’d been a few months since we’d run into each other. It was great to see him. He shared with us that he had been in our neck of the woods earlier in the week and had thought of me while nearby. He drew out the night and day differences between the area where I live and the area where we were attending church this morning. He asked, “Why aren’t we hanging out with the people who live in your neighborhood more?”

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Slavery in America: Numbers Out; People In

I’m done with numbers. Numbers are too black and white and just don’t seem good enough when dealing with human trafficking. Numbers are just numbers.  They are only words spoken and lack any attachment or feeling and understanding. It’s just not that easy when it comes to buying and selling humans. And that is why. They are humans; not cattle. You can’t number them and move them along. We are complicated beings and require much more out of life and from each other than a number.

It’s important to hear survival stories of the rescued. Stories are bridge builders. They bring humanity together and open the door with an invitation to stay for dinner, serving a fine dish of common ground. Moms and dads are compassionate towards the world’s hungry children because they can’t imagine their own children being hungry. Women are moved by the Eastern Congo conflict where women are repeatedly raped and sexually mutilated by rebels and child soldiers because they know someone who has been sexually assaulted.

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I drink coffee, read books, and travel. I’ve been able to drink coffee and discuss books with friends all over the world, simply because someone built a bridge and I made it east of the Mississippi and beyond. For this reason, I love bridges.