Recipe for Change

With the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation approaching in September, this is a perfect moment for Americans to take stock of where we are in the fight to eradicate slavery in our own country. Slavery does still exist in the United States, but it doesn't have to be that way. No one wants to eat food tainted by slave labor, and we can act together as consumers to ensure that the tomatoes we purchase are guaranteed slave-free. -Eileen Campbell, Director of Justice Campaigns, International Justice Mission 

Ever hear of something so ridiculously unnecessary that you can’t actually imagine the reality of it?

That’s what I think about Florida’s tomato fields where men, women and children are right now enslaved to work.

How to Protest in a Violent World

“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Occupy movements, protests in the Middle East, and the ongoing fight to steward our environment, advocate for the poor, and stand against systemic human abuse all have made up some part of the global news cycle in recent months. The world seems to be both unsettling at times, but particularly unsettled in its own collective disposition in the 21st century. Unsettlement breeds all sorts of temperamental flare-ups and while it’s good and proper to protest against injustice or advocate for those whose voice is muffled, many of the current protests lack something.

When a person protests Wall Street greed by throwing a brick through a store window, no one really hears anything but the glass being shattered. When a Christian says something hateful about a Muslim, something is lost. When one political party demonizes another, both parties suffer.

Martin Luther King Jr., in his book Why We Can’t Wait outlines some rules for the demonstrators in the civil rights movement. They are summarized as follows:[1]

“Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.

Remember always that the nonviolent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation, not victory.

Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.

Pray daily to be used by God in order that all might be free.

Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all might be free.

Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.

Seek to perform regular service for others and the world.

Refrain from violence of fist, tongue, or heart.

Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

Follow the directions of the movement and captains of a demonstration.” 

I am not sure I understand how to defend war from an individual perspective, it’s easier to discuss in political and statist terms. And I am not sure what protests will work and what movements will truly push us to a deeper level of human dignity, I think hindsight is helpful in this regard. I do believe, though, that the ‘how’ is important and that if injustice and the oppression of human beings is going to cease around the world, then demonstrators will have to choose their weapons with great wisdom and insight. The weapons of war are certainly different than the weapons of peace.

GAD? Update 6_21_2012: Hit Man to Hero Trailer!!!

Hope you are having a wonderful summer:) Got some big news to share with you....

My current film, Hit Man to Hero, just launched our trailer and IndieGoGo campaign!! I told my producers that our friends would step up and support this fundraiser, so take about 5 minutes to check everything out and consider giving a little to help us finish this film!! http://bit.ly/MCwW7d

Screenings have slowed down for us a little since school got out, but we did end up winning the "Visionary Award" at the Awareness Film Festival in LA and just got back from a fun screening at the Gathering in Indianapolis!!!

We've had a few incredible interviews recently: We were absolutely blown away by Gregg Mullen and the team at HEC TV. Their story on GAD? was possibly our best story ever. You need to check it out !!!!!!!!!! http://t.co/ks5YXSpb . Also, here is an hour long interview with Dan on "World Poverty" with Lillian Brummet http://t.co/w6VIlMhc
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Seek Justice

“Where exactly do you seek justice?”

“Seek Justice? I have no idea what that means.”

“SEEK JUSTICE!”

“Excuse me. Are you a law student?”

I sometimes wear a T-shirt from International Justice Mission that says Seek Justice on the front. Inevitably when I wear it, I get comments or questions about it. The above are some of what I’ve heard while wearing the shirt.

When I first bought the t-shirt, awhile back, never did I anticipate it would draw the attention it has as I sport it around town from time to time. Actually, the first time I wore the shirt on casual Friday’s around the office, it was a co-worker who stopped me to ask me “where exactly do you seek justice?” While I was completely caught off guard by the questions, thankfully the Holy Spirit was not and instantly this verse was brought to mind and so I responded with:

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Psalm 89:14.

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Miraculous Movements

Jerry Trousdale is Director of International Ministries for CityTeam International, an organization he joined in 2005. Jerry co-founded Final Command Ministries, an organization dedicated to establishing church planting movements among Muslim people groups. 

In his new book, Miraculous Movements, Jerry recounts an amazing change taking place within Muslim communities where the truth of Jesus Christ is turning around the lives of many thousands of Muslims. This close look at what the Lord is doing to spread the gospel highlights the key scriptural principles that help Christian reach out in love to share the gospel in their own community and around the world. 

Jerry answered Five Questions about CityTeam, its ministry to Muslims and Miraculous Movements.

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A Brief History of Christians Loving the Poor

I have been rather surprised at times by the push back of some people when phrases like ‘social justice’ and ‘social change’ are used in reference to Christians. Commentators on Fox News have warned against social justice rhetoric, while some noted evangelical leaders warn against deed ministry that seems separate from a ministry of preaching and proclamation. These may be good warnings per se, but let’s not swing from one extreme to another so readily without at least appreciating the Biblical and historical context that has been truly impactful. There is something to be said for outloving your neighbor.

In this vein, scholar and author John Dickson summarizes well the impact Christians can have culturally and historically through loving the poor and those in need well: John Dickson - Early Christian Charity
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The Black Church, Obama, & Gay Marriage

While I plan to get deeper into this particular subject, I felt it important to at least engage, albeit briefly, on the subject matter.

The Earth cracked, just a bit, for many Black pastors and Christians when President Obama announced he was in support of gay marriage. This tore open a slice in the gender constructs within Black cultural milieus that has, especially in Christian circles, gone unengaged with for decades.  Sexuality, sexual orientation, its twin cousin gender performance is a continual issue for many Black Christians. The idea of how do I act as a man; how do I act as woman; role performance; femininity; masculinity; sexual awareness, are all issues that tend to be seen as very binary for Black Christians—generally speaking. For example, you are either having sex within marriage, in a heterosexual, monogamous relationship or you are “sinning.

Update 5/2/12: GAD? in LA & Nigeria May 5th, WTS trivia night

Been a busy few months since you last heard from us!! We were occupied with screenings/presentations at Overflow Coffee Bar, the Africa World Doc Fest, SLU, Univ. of Oklahoma, Omaha Film Fest, Broadway Bean Coffee shop, LES Film Fest, Maryville Univ., MIIIE Conference, St. Louis Christian College, Univ. of Evansville, and Southeast MO State. With our new agent, Contemporary Issues Agency, we hope to continue to do many more next school year!! Let us know if you are interested in booking an event!

We want to invite all our LA friends to come out to our screening at the Awareness Film Fest in LA on May 5th at 7pm. Dan will be in town for the Biola Media Conference and will be at the screening for Q&A and merch sales. Check out the facebook event. Also that day our film will be screening at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Excited to hear how an African audience responds!
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GAD? Update 2_9_12 - New Festivals, screenings, Awards and updates on side projects

Our Spring tour is kicking in to gear and we have a ton of cool events and festivals coming up. We our official selection for the "Africa World Documentary Film Fest" and the "Omaha Film Fest." Here is our upcoming schedule:

Feb 23rd Overflow Coffee Bar in Chicago at 7pm (details here)
Feb 24th Africa World Documentary Film Fest, 7pm at St. Louis History Museum (details here)
Feb 29th University of Oklahoma 7pm
March 10th - Omaha Film Fest, 2pm (details  here)
March 29th - Midwest Institute (Private Event)
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GAD? Update 12_28_11

Happy Holidays! It's almost 2012!! Just wanted to follow up on our last update, tell you some cool facts about our 2011 Fall Tour, and some new exciting news about my next film!!

First, as we mentioned in our last update, we had three more big screenings left. Missouri state was the 1st. They treated us really incredible, fed us, and then about 100 students showed up to the film and we had our usual 30 min Q&A. On Dec 15th, we also had an great screening at the St. Louis Scholarship Foundation and they served some authentic African food to the group!

The big screening was our screening at Skepticon, the 2nd largest Athiest conference in the country. About 400 people came out and we received a standing ovation and had a lively Q&A. Check out the video for yourself:) http://bit.ly/u9U3v9
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