Tag Archives: victims

Monday Morning Moment – Searching Out the Truth in All the Voices

Photo Credit: Dunk, Flickr

I was talking to a friend recently about longing to be in dialogue where I can actually sort out what is true in all the public outcry.

She said, “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” It went right to my heart. I would find out later that this quote is credited to social activist Maggie Kuhn.

My shaky voice has kept me from writing, and even speaking on some of the issues we are facing today. Yet, the voices all around us are getting louder and louder.

We are in a season (I’m determined it is a season and not a new normal) where voices on the streets, messages on signs, even on facial masks are persuasive and divisive.

I’m committed to listening and searching out the truth of what people are saying…but.

Here’s the but:

As long as I’m still free to choose, I can’t support an organization or movement that seems to stir up hatred as part of its strategy. That might not be the intent, but…hatred bubbles up. Hatred for those seen as enemy, as culprit, as guilty with no presumption of innocence.

In the last month, my understanding of our society has grown enormously. Too many times, I’ve had to acknowledge: “I didn’t know.”

Watching the documentary 13th was riveting. This feature-length film exposes how after the passing of the 13th amendment on the abolishing of slavery, and then, decade after decade, the governmental and cultural undermining that decision right through to today. [If you aren’t inclined to watch “13th”, then take 10 minutes and watch Ryan DavisThis Is America.]

I have started realizing that the truth is although I wasn’t consciously racist, somehow culturally and spiritually, I have enjoyed privilege and have been indifferent to many in our country who are hurting.

This broke my heart. Even after years of working in a large public hospital in Atlanta, years working in community development, and years of what could be called Christian service. I lacked the compassion and critical thinking that, ironically, should have been clear and obvious in a life of following Jesus.

So where does that leave me…us? Have you struggled with the cultural messages you are hearing…about yourself, in particular, if you’re white? Have you wholeheartedly agreed with the messages? That we are at fault for all the terrible suffering we are seeing now (if we didn’t see it before), and we have to make it right? I don’t have an answer here…only more questions.

Systemic Racism Explained – Ryan Davis

I am so ready for an advancement of good in our country.

Dialogue. Civil discourse. Reasoning together. Searching for solutions…sustainable, dignifying solutions.

Here’s where I am right now. Listening to friends. Asking questions. Watching news reports and reading commentary. Looking for people who are speaking on the problems in our country, without power or profit agendas. People who seem to care, truly care, for the hurting, but who refuse to go the way of hatred.

An example of what helped to clear confusion for me was discovering the operating strategy of cultural Marxism.

“A collectivist application of Marxist class warfare along a far broader spectrum of identities, such as race, gender, and sexuality, as opposed to solely along class lines; intersectionality.
First, Marxism only spoke to the oppression of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie, but now men oppress women, whites oppress blacks, heterosexuals oppress homosexuals, the able-bodied oppress the disabled, & cisgendered folk oppress trans folk; WHO you are is irrelevant, all that matters now is WHAT you are, which groups you are a member of, your personhood reduced to your arbitrary characteristics, to that of an object; this is Cultural Marxism. –  Urban Dictionary

That is what I’m seeing in the loud and angry voices in the public arena right now. Class warfare. One group against another group. This is not the disruption that will enlarge any of us as Americans. We are all objectified by this kind of identification/definition. No justice in this. Only destruction and disunity.

The video below by theologian educator Dr. Voddie Baucham was enormously helpful for me to understand cultural Marxism. [I will warn you: he takes issue with the politics of a very popular US president.] His teaching actually gave me hope. Truth sets us free.

Be encouraged.

We can be a part of a redemptive work. Even with shaky voices and shaky knees. Our only recourse is NOT what the loudest voices call for…but we do need to listen to those who genuinely represent the hurting. And, most urgently, the hurting themselves.

Before closing, here are some of the voices that have encouraged and emboldened me in recent days. They are not all alike in their message, but they speak reason, love, and hope.

Rayshawn Graves. Bryan Stevenson. Scott Sauls. Anthony Bradley. Rolland Slade. Glenn Loury. Bevelyn Beatty. Senator Tim Scott. Darrell B. Harrison. Virgil Walker. Karen Swallow Prior. David Lyle. Jackie Hill Perry. Coleman Hughes. Jared Burwell. Tim Keller. Shelby Steele. Michael Catt. Keith Smith. John McWhorter. Voddie Baucham. Just to name a few.

I’d love to close with a few of the lyrics of Andrew Peterson‘s A White Man’s Lament for God’s Beloved:

“…the mercies of the Lord
Will be the chords to every song…
…it begins as I repent
And bow my head as I lament this broken world
‘Cause every victim, every villain
Was a precious little boy or little girl
This is me and this is you
This is the truth, if you believe it or not
You have always been beloved
They have always been beloved

George, Breonna, Ahmaud
All beloved of God

5 Ways Christians Are Getting Swept Into a Secular Worldview in This Cultural Moment – Natasha Crain

Monday Morning Moment – Human Trafficking – It Can Happen Right Where You Are

Blog - trafficking #3

Did I just witness a human trafficker? Here’s what happened:

I was thrift-shopping for infant clothing this morning for a friend with a growing family.  At first distracted by my task, I was soon aware of a conversation between two people in the same area. A young woman was shopping down a row of children’s clothing, and an older man (in his 40’s), standing in the next aisle, was leaning over that rack of clothing, talking to her as she shopped. It is not my habit to eavesdrop, but the conversation became more and more alarming, in terms of the private information shared.

He asked/She answered – Clearly, by their conversation, they were strangers before this encounter. I missed the conversation’s beginning, but he asked her more and more personal questions as it continued. She answered them all. She was shopping for her preschooler son and couldn’t afford to shop for new clothes. She returned often to that theme of not making a lot of money (in response to his different question/comments about “times [being] hard”). He told her he was only in town for a few weeks and didn’t know much about the area. Answering her question, he said he was a photographer – supplying magazines and books mostly.

He said something about how she could get work as a model and asked her age. She said she was 21, almost 22 (she was a petite young woman, fair-complexioned, with black hair pulled back in a ponytail – she could be a lot younger by her appearance). He asked her about her work, and she said she waitressed at a bar in a nearby town. Then she continued to answer his questions as to what days and hours she worked and when she got off.

After so many years living overseas, cross-culturally, I am shocked at how Americans are willing to answer questions and how self-revealing people are willing to be.

He stepped away for a minute, and I regret not saying something to her then. She continued to look through the children’s clothing. When he returned, she said she only found one item and began walking to check-out. He walked with her. They went through check-out together, and lingered outside the front of the store talking.

As I write I’m thinking how weird it sounds (even to me), but I really had a sick feeling that something was very wrong. It seemed important to find out if they left together, although she would have a vehicle there. She gave him so much information, he would be able to find her at her work. Although she gave him all this personal information (more than I’ve shared here), she was an adult so hopefully if he pushed for more than information, she would have been able to take care of herself. Hopefully. By the time I got the courage to at least see how she left the parking lot, she was gone, and I didn’t see him anywhere either.

I prayed for her all the way home and still am praying, feeling a little nauseated at what I witnessed. The tone of that conversation was way more than pickup lines at a bar somewhere. It could have been an over-friendly conversation between an interested man and a young woman glad to talk to anyone who showed care. It seemed more than that…dark somehow. The questions he asked had too much intentionality and the information he shared about himself made him appear non-threatening and possibly intriguing. At least to a beautiful young woman with limited resources.  For the first time in my life, I wondered if I had just watched an attempt to lure a victim into trafficking.

I didn’t do much, but for those few minutes, I made as much of an annoyance of myself as possible to the man, and pointed out clothing options to the girl (their conversation was loud enough for anyone around to hear). I was hoping to divert him away, but I didn’t. You may think me overly dramatic, but then I will ask you:

1) Did you know that human trafficking in the US is third only to guns and drugs in its financial profitability?

2) Do you live in a city that’s a hub for human trafficking? I do. [Department Of Justice (2007) identified the top twenty human trafficking jurisdictions in the country:” Houston
• El Paso
• Los Angeles
• Atlanta
• Chicago
• Charlotte
• Miami
• Las Vegas
• New York
• Long Island
• New Orleans
• Washington, D.C.
• Philadelphia
• Phoenix
• Richmond
• San Diego• San Francisco
• St Louis
• Seattle
• Tampa].

3) Do you think this is too big a problem to tackle? Or too small a problem? Check links below of agencies and non-profits who have made huge strides in dealing with this issue in the US.

4) Do you know there is a Human Trafficking Hotline for reporting suspicious activity? I called it today – 1-888-373-7888. The counselor was very helpful and didn’t think I was overly dramatic at all. Put the number in your phone directory in case you may need it some day.

5) Did you know that there are several professional and age-appropriate trafficking awareness programs (video, online, and speaker options) to help prepare young people for the dangers of trafficking? [See links below.]

5) Do you believe there are situations where your very presence could diffuse a dangerous situation for someone else? I’m sure you do. I do, too. Today, I did something. Only God knows if something more should/could have been done. Now I pray for that lovely young woman, and for that man lingering around her.

I would appreciate you praying with me…and act as the Lord leads. For such a time as this. For such as these*…Blog - prostitution - trafficking

What You Can Do – Richmond Justice Initiative

Suspect a situation of human trafficking? Call the NHTRC’s confidential, 24-hour, toll-free hotline to report any tip. 1-888-373-7888

Buyer Beware Campaign – Criminalizing the “Johns” – Men in Your Neighborhood Buying Sex Online

Human Trafficking in Virginia a Growing Concern for Law Enforcement

How Street Traffickers Recruit Young Girls

Sex Traffickers Rely on Charm to Lure Victims

The Traffickers

Do Not Become a Victim of Human Trafficking

Determining the Vulnerability Factors, Lures and Recruitment Methods used to Entrap American Children into Sex Trafficking

Not for Sale – Human Trafficking in Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta Agencies Battle Child Sex Trafficking

Wellspring Living – A Vision to End Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking

Safe Harbor House – Cedarville University – Springfield, Ohio

Human Trafficking Factsheet

Mapping Hubs of Demand (Internationally)

*Name withheld – rescued and restored young woman who endured being held and trafficked.