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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What Not To Wear...To Prison

The friend that I have been visiting in jail was moved to state prison recently and I have not driven the three hours to see him yet.  I decided that today was going to be the day.  I read the state prison website several times this week being sure that I knew what I could and could not bring in, when to arrive, where to go etc.  I called the special hotline to make sure that no one was on lockdown and I wouldn’t be turned away after making the drive.

When I got to the dress code in the visitor information I paid special attention.  The rules are very specific.  No blue clothing, including jeans because that’s what the prisoners wear.  No khaki pants or green tops because that’s what the guards wear.  No orange.  Right when I started thinking I’d be safe with a long dress, I read No Mumus- apparently some women prisoners wear mumus.  Dresses can’t be shorter than 2 inches above the knee.  No revealing clothing.  Seems reasonable.  Oh, and don’t forget that it is going to be 80 degrees and creeping upward when you get there.  My clothing options narrowed as I read.

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Church & State: How Separate? (Part 3)

In the two previous blogs I approached to the Constitution’s address of where religion fits into the civil society, as it was one the topics broached at the previous Republican Presidential Primary debate held in New Hampshire a few weeks ago. The final question of this series on the nature of the Constitution’s First Amendment is what good has been brought to the civil society when religion has been removed from the public sphere of life? 

There are many today in our society, through all levels of society, who believe or promote the notion that the Constitution’s First Amendment teaches the separation of church and state.  This opinion has lead to a modern day isolationist mentality where one’s faith should be kept private from the public arena.  However, a clause which declares “the separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution.  The First Amendment does say, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” but “establishment” and “separation” are two completely different definitions. 

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Ideas and Elections

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.”

The preceding sentence was said by the late President John F. Kennedy and in many respects it’s the theme of this blog. My desire is to explore the power of ideas as well as the expression of those ideas. Why? Well, because I believe I am a work in progress (and maybe I am not alone) and that I live in a world that is trying to make progress. Undergirding all of this progressive optimism are ideas.

Many Christians call the systematic formulation of these ideas a ‘worldview’ and that’s not a bad phrase. But, some ideas, if we’re honest, aren’t always that clear in our head and so it’s difficult to organize them neatly and label them effectively.

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