Sam submitted 37 weeks ago - (www.thegospelcoalition.org) » 0 Comments
In the last couple of weeks we’ve gotten a good glimpse into the root system of racism. We thought we could stick the racists into the country’s past, next to a post marked “obsolete,” and gladly forget about it. But the roots of racism run deep.
Human trafficking—and sex trafficking in particular—has become something of a Christian cause célèbre. There are prayer weekends, movies, magazine covers, Sunday school curricula, and countless church-based ministries. More unusual efforts include lipstick sold to help “kiss slavery goodbye” and tattoo alteration services for victims who say they have been “branded” by their captors. An extraordinarily complex global issue has somehow become one of the most energetic Christian missions of the 21st century.
“All compassion should be without strings. If it is not unconditional, then it’s not compassion,” said Rick Warren, who works with aid agencies of all faiths on common ground issues, such as health care. But, Warren argued, all actions have a motivation and no one should be “the motive police.”
Most Christians agree that caring for the poor and marginalized is a central tenet of the gospel. And what better passage to reinforce this principle than Matthew 25:40, where Jesus commands us to care for “the least of these.” Many of us readily assume that “the least of these” refers to the poor and marginalized. But are those who Jesus is really talking about?
We like to think of slavery as something that only exists in the past. A terrible chapter in human history that was finally ended thanks to the work of men like William Wilberforce and Fredrick Douglass. Unfortunately, the institution of slavery is still very much alive, it’s just taken on a new name: Human Trafficking.
To put it mildly, 2014 was not a great year for race relations in America. The cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Eric Garner in New York as well as other stories highlighted that the conversation about race in the U.S. still has a long way to go. The conversation about race in the Church has a long way to go, as well. American churches remain largely segregated, and race issues can be a tricky topic to know how to engage from the pulpit.
The global aid industry is experiencing an unparalleled era of evolution and transformation. Globalization of media has increasingly brought the plight of the world’s poor, disadvantaged, and disabled before our eyes. A growing awareness of the chasm between the privileged and the poor has spawned a tremendous burst of creativity in efforts to end poverty. At the same time there has been an increasing demand for heightened scrutiny over the impact of poverty programs. Do any of them really work?
The word has been so toxic, pro-reform groups like the Evangelical Immigration Table (a Christian coalition that includes World Vision, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities) avoids it like the Ebola virus. Why are so many of us frightened of amnesty—defined as “a general pardon for offenses, especially political offenses, against a government”—for illegal immigrants?