Justice, mercy, and I got a pedicure.


I had a lovely day today. My sister took the day off of work so we could hang by the pool and get pedicures. I bought the only romper I’ve ever found that actually fits me, a tall person, and I’ll spend this evening at my church’s open mic night.

Also today, people died of the ebola virus. Children were beheaded in Iraq simply because their family would not renounce their Christian faith.

Women all over the globe were forced to have sex upwards of twenty times today. Entire families are working ridiculously long shifts in brick kilns and garment factories.

And here I am, sitting in my new romper, getting more deflated by the minute and closer to tears.

When does this end?

When does the evil stop prospering? When do the oppressed get to stand, apart from their oppressors and say that by the blood of Jesus they are free, and no man can make them a slave again? When will justice roll down like a stream and righteousness like mighty waters?

When?

And what do I do in the meantime?

How do I reconcile my day, which I thought was pretty nice and not harmful to anyone, with what my brothers and sisters are encountering all across the globe? How can I feel okay about that?

There’s a lot of cognitive dissonance here. I want to find joy in everything, in the little things like, how for the first time this week, I didn’t burn my toast today and how I saved a whole lot of money by shopping at the store I work at. But then I want to cry, “INJUSTICE! EVIL!” at the real horrors of others’ daily lives.

Because there’s no way to twist these things, to make them sound better than they are. They really just are evil. There’s nothing even remotely good about a child being beheaded. A child. That must break our hearts.

That is the right response, isn’t it? We should have broken hearts over these things. God does. He most definitely does. But he also is glad that my sister finally got a day off of work. He rejoices that I had fewer carcinogens going into my body today.

Sometimes I wonder if God looks at us American Christians and says, Man, you guys have it easy. I really expect more from you.

More. I bet He does expect more from us.

But more what? More sorrow? More money? More aid?

Lord, what do you want from us?

You can have my guest room, Lord! Send the Iraqi Christians! Is that what you want? Will it eradicate evil? I’ll do it, Lord. I’ll do it because I don’t think my heart can take anymore.

Your heart must be even heavier, God.

I suppose this is the juncture where I remember what God asks of us, to love our God with everything that is in us. To be all in (even the kitchen sink) and loving our neighbors here on planet Earth like we love ourselves.

What does the Lord require of you?

To live justly. To implant right works in every aspect of our lives, to speak about injustices and work to correct them.

To love mercy. To forgive, to be forgiven, to love to see redemption win.

And to walk humbly with our God.

I think that’s what I have to come back to on days like today, where my reality is so starkly different from most of the world. Because if I walk humbly with God, I’ll be following Him. And if I’m following Him, He’ll ask me to be a part of things and give me His heart for people.

Bets.


I paced around our apartment today while I read Plato’s Republic. Paced not because we don’t have anywhere to sit or because I couldn’t sit still but because I’m doing a pedometer challenge. Sitting is for sissies when you’re going up against highly motivated walkers.

I actually don’t know how highly motivated the other people are. I just know that I want to win.

My pedometer challenge pales in comparison to The Actual Pastor‘s run through the Grand Canyon, though. He’s running 24 miles, the very end of which is called “The Devil’s Staircase” (which I wouldn’t even attempt to run if that was my only challenge). He’s doing it to raise money to rescue women in Ethiopia from forced prostitution.

He’s crazy. In the very best way.

Don’t we all want that kind of existence? Where we know that we don’t just matter to our moms and our best friends but that we make a difference?

Do you believe that you can change the world? I’m not asking you if you think that the world can and will change. I’m asking you if you think that you as an individual person can change the world with your dreams and passions.

Do you?

I bet we could.

I bet if we dug down deep and rooted ourselves in a God whose capabilities know no boundaries, we could do something great. I bet if we were willing to risk something so that love could win and justice could reign and the world could know that our God lives, things would start happening.

I bet it would be worth the risk.

Francis and the flag.


There are days when I’m proud of America.  I almost always tear up when anyone sings “The Star-Spangled Banner,” mostly because I love the line, “oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

If you were confused about why that question mark was at the end there, look again. It’s a question.  Francis Scott Key wanted to know if the flag that represented everything that the revolutionaries were fighting for still flew.  He wanted to know if the Americans or the British were victorious in the Battle of Baltimore.  He wanted to know if his freedom would be preserved. (Read the story behind the anthem here)

The flag still waves, but I’m not sure if it’s over the land of the free and the home of the brave, Francis.  I’m not sure if our nation looks like the one we revolted for.  I think freedom and courage are misunderstood concepts.  We seem to say that getting what we want and having fewer restrictions is real freedom.  I don’t know about that.  I’m also pretty sure that it takes more courage to stand against the crowd than to march with the masses.

Sometimes, Francis, I despair.  I want God to bless America, the land that I love.  I want our leaders to lead selflessly, to put peace first and prosperity lower on the list.  I want them to accurately represent their constituents and to have a balanced distribution of power.  I want money to be just another resource, not the force that drives everything we do.

Francis, sometimes it’s hard to be proud of America.  But there are Americans that I am darn proud of.  Women like Dawn who put God’s call to set the captives free above their own comfort and preferences.  I’m proud of my pastor for speaking truth even though it goes against the grain sometimes.  I’m proud of people who think before they act and make decisions based on facts rather than popular opinion.  I’m proud of educators who aren’t in it just for a job.  I’m proud of people who sacrifice excess and your typical definition of success for meaning and purpose.

The flag still waves, over a land where some are free and some are brave.

Even a minority is enough for now.  My prayer for America today is that we will actually live for truth and justice, making that the American way.

Another Friday.


They’re not just numbers, you know.  Some reports say there are 27 million slaves in the world, some say 3 million.

Some say we’ll never know because so much of the industries where they are enslaved are shady and underground.  Because so many are born into this life.

And it’s so easy for me to forget that the girls and boys who are deceived, coerced, or kidnapped into forced labor or the sex trade aren’t just numbers.  It’s not just sad because of what they have to do -work long hours in horrible conditions, be abused and raped multiple times every day – it’s tragic because they are HUMAN. Because they are someone’s beloved son, daughter, friend, cousin.

But they’re not treated like anything beloved anymore.  They’re treated like property.  Told that they owe the one who purchased them from a trafficker a debt.  Their will is broken down until they believe that they are worthless now.  That they are resigned to this life.

There’s so much despondency in talking about trafficking today, especially since we all celebrated our victory over slavery after the Civil War and William Wilberforce (well, not that we were there to celebrate, but… you know what I mean).  We think about how hard it was to get that slavery issue all settled, how the remnants of that are still in our society today.  And then when we realize that all over the world, in our very nation, people are in horrible slavery situations, we get exhausted.  We think that it was fruitless to try and stop it and that since the numbers are huge and evil is rampant, we can do nothing.

This is the point where we could roll over and say that the evil people who are stealing the innocence of young girls and subjecting them to a life of horrors simply are too powerful.  They win.

But then that when we remember that our God is a God of justice.

Isaiah 61:1 “The spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted and to proclaim freedom to the captives.

Isaiah 58: 6:-7 “Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”

it’s on God’s agenda.  And God is more powerful than any trafficker, brothel owner, or slavery advocate of any kind.  He’s more powerful than I am, or any other person who desires to see slavery and oppression wiped out from the face of our globe.

And this is why we fight it.  Not because we have any power in our own flesh and blood or because we’re just so fired up about freedom, but because our God is FOR us.  And if our God is for us, then who could stand against us?

This is the part where you should  read about Freedom Firm and Rethreaded and Love146 and go onto Google News and search “human trafficking”.  They may be small, but there is victory every day over injustice.

In the Savior, injustice brought to right, for Your glory, that Your name be lifted high.  Lord over everything, you are near.  All of the universe is at Your feet. The lost are found, the blind will see.  The lame will walk.  The dead will live.  And You, our God, forever You will reign.