9/11: Memorials, Heroes, and the absence of God.

As we approach the anniversary of 9/11, I have noticed some confusion within myself as to how to deal with the tragic events which occurred on that day ten years ago.  One is how we have identified that horrible day by numbers on the callendar instead of a name.  Perhaps this reflects our tech savy age?  Past generations do not identify with 12/7/41 or even 12/41.  What am I referring to?  The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, or perhaps “the day that will live in infamy”.   To prior generations, a day of national significance in our nation’s history marked merely by a number would resemble something more along the lines of communicating in morse code.  Althought 9/11 triggers a memory of what we experienced both collectively and individually, to identify the day with a date instead of a name leaves a certain amount of ambivalence.

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Why are we at the Center of the World?

Two weeks ago, my son and I watched the reports on CNN concerning Somalia together. Afterwards, we had dinner and my eight year old prayed for the children who don’t have food and gave thanks for his own food. This is pretty normal in our house, so that isn’t the part I remember many days later. What I remember is his question during dinner moreso than the prayer before we ate.

 

“Dad, why is all the news about America, when there are so many other people and so many other countries in the world?”

He’s got a point. Why are we at the center of the world? And if we’re not, then why do we act like we are? Now, don’t misunderstand me, this isn’t a rant that smacks of being unpatriotic or hyper critical of the U.

Simple Giving – Do the Easiest Thing First for 9/11

Simple Giving – Do the Easiest Thing First

 

As we come to 9-11 it is easy to think big but it is better to think small.

 

Inevitably when I speak on my book Humanitarian Jesus the question comes up – “How do we actually start giving ourselves away?  How do we start serving our neighbor?”

 

I think the problem is that when we try to tackle slavery, water, poverty, or massive trauma like 9-11, Katrina, etc. it is difficult to find a foot-hold.  We see the “big guys” making huge impact.  Million dollar gifts, bailing out on life and diving in as a volunteer, shifting giant organizations to a new focus.  These are all very good – but not the fundamental basis of humanitarian investment.

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Rescued from Hell on Disneylands Doorstep

"Once we started looking for it - and almost stopped ignoring it - we started finding it everywhere."  - Sergeant Craig Friesen, head of Anaheim's vice unit. 

The CNN Freedom Project site headlined an incredible story of justice and bravery today. The setting of the story told is geographically in my backyard. Literally steps from the “the happiest place on Earth” (Disneyland, Anaheim), a 17-year old girl was trapped hell on Earth; child prostitution.  Friesen, working as an undercover, arranged to meet the child at the Disneyland Hotel for what she thought was a typical day in her life servicing “Johns” with sex. God had a different plan in store for her today! Friesen and his team from Anaheim PD showed up, arrested the pimp and treated the girl, and another girl they were able to locate, as victims of human trafficking and not as criminal prostitutes.  

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Saving America's Story

Republicans seem to have no cohesive narrative and this seems obvious. Democrats are losing their cohesive narrative and again, this is almost a no-brainer. To anyone who is watching the news or paying attention to the rhetoric floating over the internet and across television screens, it’s rather difficult to understand what narrative thread will actually unify our country. Let me suggest that it’s because the new narrative thread isn’t one of unity, but one of division.

We must pause, though, prior to jumping into the 21st century to consider the unifying narratives that have characterized our country and in fact, these narratives have come to form the core values of the United States. We pause to review the overarching stories, not for nostalgia’s sake, but because in a real sense, we’re in danger of losing them.

Give A Damn? Update 8_9_11 (Lots of GOOD news)

I will jump right into whats going on! Since the last update, we have put most of our focus into making our Advanced Screening on Aug 14th, 2:30pm at the Tivoli (considered by many the best independent theater in Saint Louis) a success!

Thus far we have over 200 people committed on facebook and have been all over the local news. Today I was live on Ch.2, yesterday Rob and I were on Ch.5, and yesterday we also had a fabulous article in the local paper. This Thursday we will be on Ktrs 550AM with McGraw Milhaven at 9am and then on Friday we will be on the local NPR news station around 11am. Follow our twitter if you want to know the exact details when we find out more!! Thinking we might come close to selling out the 400 seats:)
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Sample of Our Composer Ian Perry's Music

I just wanted to share some of our composers excellent music. This soundbite from the film plays our first day in Africa, as we enter the Kibera slum. Enjoy!!


Justice: Worship that Matters to God

Next Saturday, August 13th I'll be at Calvary Chapel Chino Valley church in Ontario, California. Since February of this year, I've joined forces with a handful of others to plan and prepare for a free conference we're calling Justice: Worship that Matters to God. The inspiration behind the event stems largely from Mark Labberton's book, The Dangerous Act of Worship.

The Dangerous Act of Worship is, without a doubt, one of the most challenging books I have read in regards to my own Christian walk and my understanding of what it means to worship God with my life. 

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Ray of Hope: Suhana's Story

The International Justice Mission has released a new short film in which, Suhana, a young human trafficking victim in India, has transformed into a survivor of the slave trade; not once, but twice. This is her miracle:

 

Transformation through Empowerment

I was freshly out of surgery and in recovery mode at my parents’ home during the final week of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Every afternoon I would sit in my jammies on the sofa and watch the countdown festivities. After 25 years on the air, Oprah was wrapping it up.

 

What I was most interested in was not the huge hoo-ha of celebrations, fun as they were to watch. No, I kept tuning in because Oprah had promised to reveal which story, of the thousands she had covered, was her number one most favorite story from her entire 25 years on air. The final days of the show were building toward this culmination when Oprah would revisit the story that had most moved, inspired and thrilled her.

 

Imagine my surprise and delight when the story Oprah chose was that of one African life. The “Queen of Daytime Television” and arguably one of the most powerful people on the planet was unforgettably moved by the tale of one woman whose life was transformed when someone came along and empowered her to reach her dream. This woman was married against her will as a child, kept from the education she longed for and beaten when she talked of hoping to go to school. When she came back to the Oprah show for this final-week episode, she had just completed her Ph.D. Initially denied the opportunity to attend even primary school, she now holds a doctorate degree and is returning to her home community to start a school for children like the child she once was.

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