OK… now that you have read it…
My soul is deeply disturbed by it. Not because I don’t know this stuff happens all over the world. It does. I know it. The church has been pretty good at raising the awareness of modern day sex slavery as an issue over the past couple of years. Organizations like International Justice Mission and Love 146 are doing great work in this area.
I remember teaching a 6-week curriculum from IJM in the youth ministry i was leading over a decade ago. It was disturbing… and halfway across the world.
The action steps were simple: pray, donate, support organizations on the front line, raise awareness.
These are great action steps and people should do them.
But they are totally insufficient when the you are walking down the street and see someone lying in the gutter bleeding. When that happens, we aren’t just supposed to pray and raise awareness and make a tax-deductible donation to a 501c3 organization. Jesus tells us in the Parable of the Good Samaritan exactly what we are supposed to do: get involved, get dirty — even at great risk to self and great sacrifice. This is what it means to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBORS.
The Vanity Fair article was meant to highlight the problem of domestic sex trafficking in the United States. To make its point, it focused on the ongoing sex trafficking that is happening in the Greater Hartford area… in the north end, along the Berlin Turnpike… literally in our backyards.
So what is it that we as Christians humans need to be doing about this?
Yes, we need to pray, support organizations and raise awareness.
But when it is in your backyard, perhaps we are supposed to be on the frontlines?
I will confess that I don’t really know what this looks like.
But there are two things I have learned from my life in ministry and from friends who are involved with dirty-frontlines ministry.
First, ALL MINISTRY IS INCARNATIONAL MINISTRY. That is, it is always about relationships. That is not just the starting point but also the goal. So it starts, somehow, with getting to know the people involved.
Second, IT CAN’T BE ABOUT A CAUSE, IT HAS TO BE ABOUT THE GOSPEL. Good causes are a dime-a-dozen. Jesus was never about a cause. And the only cause he ever called his followers to be about was the cause of Christ… the Kingdom of God… come follow me.
But the Gospel is LIGHT.
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)
And Jesus says that we, too, are light. Where we go IN HIS NAME, we bring LIGHT. And LIGHT always overcomes the DARKNESS. This, too, is the message of the incarnation.
So we must be there in the midst of the darkness, as light.
Loving as Jesus would love — even those we call enemies.
So what is the NEXT STEP?
Well I also know this… Jesus never sends people alone. He always does so in at least teams of two. Jesus loves teams.
So I am wondering who else’s heart has been penetrated by the reality of this ugly darkness in our backyard?
I don’t know what ACTION will look like yet, except that it will be about JESUS and INCARNATION and RELATIONSHIPS and GOSPEL not CAUSES.
And I know there are some organizations out there that can help. (Here is one).
But I what I really want to know is are there any others out there who be willing to FAST & PRAY with me, waiting on God to tell us WHAT’S NEXT?
I’m serious about this… I don’t know where it will lead… but I am willing to follow wherever our leader takes us.
If you are willing to FAST & PRAY and SEEK GOD on this with me, let me know… I think that is the only place you can really start.