I've just spent my Saturday morning debating with various commentators over an article about human trafficking in Alberta (refer to: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2009/09/18/calgary-human-trafficking.html?ref=rss#socialcomments)
While I appreciate free speech, it still amazes me that when hard data is presented, people still want the option of sex on demand, cheap labour and various other forms of slavery. Once people realize that fighting against trafficking means a change in lifestyle, suddenly we want to take back our stand because we might not get what we want. Sigh… sometimes such conversations are fruitful and other times they are… not so fruitful.
I am hosting my first "Freedom Party" at the Lac La Biche Evangelical Free Church on Sunday, October 18 @ 12:30pm. It's a potluck lunch followed by a brief presentation about trafficking, Not For Sale, ACT Alberta, and Coming Home Ministries. Fair Trade items will be on sale!
That's my brief plug. What I'm really working through this morning is the idea of HT being termed as a "social justice issue". Hmmm… yes it is. It is social in that it affects people relationally across cultures and borders. And it deals with justice in that slavery is a criminal offence and must be exposed and dealth with accordingly — a voice for victims and convictions for perpetrators.
But I don't believe slavery was EVER first and foremost a social justice issue. That's just a broad term the whole world can understand and come to terms with (somewhat). Not everyone is a Christian and even then, not every Christian thinks in terms of what a believer's mandate is.
Releasing the captives… this has been a Kingdom Mandate long before it was ever a cause of social justice. I do not advocate for a "cause" as some have termed it so. I am fulfilling the Great Commission (see Matthew 28) in bearing witness to Jesus Christ throughout the whole world. Those in chains… those bought and sold… cannot hear this message of love and salvation while help captive in the way they are being held in today's society. They require physical and emotional freedom as much as they require spiritual freedom.
Let me reiterate — this is NOT a cause! Nor is it a spiritual gift. It grinds my insides when believers tell one another how they don't have the spiritual gift of things like COMPASSION. Hmmm… as I recall, compassion… love… truth… many of these things which have no laws against them are NOT gifts. They are outflows of the Spirit and commandments of Jesus Christ. If one decides not to act in a situation requiring compassion or kindness or grace because she or he does not have the gifting for it… I would propose that person is not living in the truth of Christ's message. But that's another talk for another day.
Likewise… social justice is the term the world is using to get OUR attention. Believers, the issue of slavery has been in the mandate of Jesus Christ from the beginning! It should be US educating and empowering the world to take a stand! Not vice versa! But sadly, like in so many situations, it is the world who is knocking on the doors of the church to get involved.
We have stepped back.
We have abdicated our role.
We have put aside Jesus' commands claiming: 'this isn't our mandate'.
It's time to take our place in the world. This is not a cause to fight for, believers. This is acting in obedience to the explicit commands of God out of our love for Him… out of His love for us. There is no 'should we get involved?' There never was a question of that.
We ARE involved. By Christ's command.
Let us receive what has now been given and move forward towards who Christ is transforming us to be.