I've been told that I talk about slavery.
Perhaps a bit too much.
Hefting the weight of that opinion driving to the Raise Their Voice conference this weekend in Red Deer, Alberta, I wondered if I ought to perhaps tone it down a little, talk about other things (like bunny rabbits, maybe?), or shake it up a bit.
Then I entered the conference and if I in any way thought that I was somehow fanatical, I looked like an apathetic slacktivist compared to the zeal, passion and experience found in the people I met. I felt woefully inadequate, under-educated, and extremely skill-less.
There was Glendene Grant, mother of Jessie Foster who went missing in 2005 and is presumed to be a human trafficking victim. Her mother has not stopped looking for her, nor will she until she finds her daughter. Along the way, she assists other victims, their families, informs students, helps organizations — all out of her own tragedy and hope for the future.
There's Norma who, at 11 years clean and sober and a loud'n'proud believer in Jesus Christ, was sexually brutalized by her father all throughout her childhood, and was working the streets by the age of 11. Mother of 3, and grandmother of 1 already now, Norma will not keep her message of hope and restoration quiet for anyone. Nor should she.
I will not stop talking about the reality of slavery.
It is here. It is now. It is us — our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, friends and co-workers, sons and daughters who are victims, perpetrators, bystanders and activists and all shades in between. No one is exempt. Jesus Christ came to bring life. Slavery perverts and destroys that life (or tries to), thus I stand as His child to hold out that life in dark places, wherever they may be. May I be worthy of Him, and the other advocates I was so terribly humbled by this weekend.
I will admit there is a danger is protesting the status quo. Often, it is quite easy to protest an evil so great that I wake up with your dukes up every morning no matter what. When someone comes along who wishes to help, I sometimes am already suspicious and territorial. In church settings, I am more easily frustrated now. Even if someone speaks truth, I no longer am able to sit back and just accept it.
With that in mind, God must temper His calling in me so that I do let down my guard to express the compassion and freedom to all people, just as He said to.
As for protesting too much…
… the world hasn't seen anything yet.