Category Archives: Bible

Will Your Church Step Up?: The Challenge of Human Trafficking

Earlier this week, President Obama spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative gathering on the topic of human trafficking.  In this speech he challenged churches to step up and act to “answer the Bible’s call to seek justice and rescue the oppressed” by educating their congregation about the reality of human trafficking;  by joining in coalitions that are bound by a love of God and a concern for the oppressed; and by standing up against the degradation and abuse of women and children.

Here is a link to this remarkable speech (18 minutes).

In the United Methodist Church, Human Trafficking month will be in January.  As your church plans it’s program and ministries for the next year, I encourage you to take action and join this great human rights challenge of our time. But there is no need to wait for January. Throughout the church year as a church engages with scripture, there are ample opportunities for a congregation to become more aware of the need for action regarding this form of modern slavery. You can show people this infograph and get the conversation started. We can determine to fight slavery by endorsing the use of Fair Trade Products in our churches and in the businesses and homes of church members. We can FOCUS our mission efforts by supporting women and girls. If you do not know about the Girl Effect, watch this video and check out this website.

Another opportunity to learn about ways to fight human trafficking and to support the well-being of women and girls will occur NEXT week. On October 1 and 2, Independent Lens on PBS will present a four hour “broadcast event” that will involve social media, educational modules, a social action game on facebook, and mobile games. Don’t miss this event! Half the Sky will provide you with inspirational and disturbing stories, and MANY suggestions about positive actions you can take to make a difference.

If you have not yet read the best selling book Half the Sky by Nickolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, get a copy and read it. It was part of the UMW reading plan several years ago, and is great reading.

I support the new abolition movement by blogging (See “Teens Stand Up As Abolitionists,” “An Unlikely Hero Rescues Slaves in Nepal”,  and Human Trafficking Month Resources “) and by offering an ongoing micro-financing loan to women through Kiva.org. I have been recycling the same loan money for several years now, and I have supported women in Kenya, the D.R.Congo, South Sudan, and Uganda. I am about to make my seventh loan. Another organization I love to support is the Heifer Project.  Every Christmas, I make donations in honor of my friends and family for Christmas gifts.  In the past, I have given animals (or portions of animals) to one of the beneficiaries of HP.  My mother was quite amused the year I gave her part of a goat. Last year, since I have recently become a gardener, I purchased a gardener’s gift basket for someone else’s garden.

I invite you to take a look at these resources, share them with people you know, and DO something. I’d also like to invite you to share what you are currently doing or plan to do below. This can be an opportunity for YOU to contribute your ideas so others may step up to meet this human rights challenge of our time.

Will you and your church step up to this Biblical challenge? I pray that each of my readers will accept this charge.

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Filed under Abolition, Bible, Blogging, Christianity, Human Trafficking, Reading, Slavery, United Methodist

“A More Equitable Salary” Petition to General Conference

Here is a petition I have submitted to the 2012 General Conference of the United Methodist Church.  

           A More Equitable Salary 5 (2) LINK HERE

If this petition is adopted, I believe it will transform the culture of our denomination dramatically.  I believe it will do the following:

1) Change the way our bishops and cabinets appoint clergy to local congregations by removing money from consideration in appointment making

2)  Allow the appointment of new clergy to healthy, thriving churches and the appointment of experienced clergy to struggling congregations

3) Allow all clergy to provide adequately for their family needs and protect clergy from the danger of riches (as Wesley would say)

4) Eliminate the “ladder of success” mentality that currently afflicts the spiritual health and integrity of our community.

5) Restore a sense of community among clergy who are now forced to be competitive with one another

7) Support salaries of pastors in areas where the church serves the poor such as in our central conferences

8) Serve as a CHRISTIAN witness to corporate America and

MOST importantly the adoption of this petition will BRING OUR CHURCH INTO CONFORMITY WITH THE SCRIPTURE (1 Timothy 5:17-18) with regard to our use of money.

Since I have submitted this petition as an individual to the General Conference, I am concerned that it might quietly become lost in the Finance/Administrative Committee. I am hoping that social media will help to bring this petition to a wider audience and will aid it’s passage. I consulted with my bishop as I drafted this petition in order to assure it’s constitutionality, and the petition DOES have some significant support from bishops in Africa, who assure me they will promote it among their delegates. Since MORE than 40% of 2012 delegates will be from central conferences, I believe that this proposal may be adopted if some delegates in the United States choose to support it as well.

So, I am inviting your discussion here. Please offer your concerns, and questions in the comments on this blog; and share this post with others (especially delegates), so this idea will receive the attention I believe it deserves.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, CTA, General Conference, United Methodist