Today we celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a man who lived in the middle of confrontation and didn’t back away. He was a man who boldly proclaimed his vision for this country – and world – and traveled down about every avenue to get us there. Now, forty-four years later, where are we?
Further down the lane, but still a long ways to go.
Though we finally have an African-American President, our country still struggles with racial equality and reconciliation. Why? Why have we not learned our lesson yet? How many times do we need to repeat the past in order to get the future right?
King worked endlessly, until his death in 1968, to fight racism, bigotry, poverty, ignorance, and war. Many have followed his huge footprints to do likewise. In fact, there is a younger generation moving towards the reality of ending racism and slavery within the world. However, the question the older generations need to ask themselves is this: will we go with them or continue to drag our feet in spite of their efforts?
King Modeled the King of Kings
Before he was an activist, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a follower of Christ – more so a preacher. King modeled his fight for justice around the principles and life of Jesus Christ. He urged the Church to do likewise – just like Christ. You could say, King and the King of Kings placed upon the Church a mission to bring justice to those who live in lands of injustice. Again, how are we doing with this challenge?
Churches are still segregated. Racism still exists. Hate still dwells within the hearts of many Christians. This is a sad reality … especially in 2012.
This post isn’t about blaming sides or any particular persons. The problem belongs to the Church at large. Therefore, the answer needs to come from the Church, unified around the passion and call of Christ – the very one we claim to model our own lives after.
It is beyond the day to end racism in America and the World. It’s way beyond the time that racism ceases to exist on Sunday mornings. There are plenty of verses that God speaks to His body about reconciliation and equality. There are plenty of verses that God speaks about standing for justice no matter the person. There are plenty of verses that detail what image the Church is to portray. No longer, then, do we have an excuse to play dumb or to deny the commission placed before us.
For a FREE resource on exploring racial unity, here is John Piper’s new book, Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian, as a PDF download. A sermon by Piper on the book can be found here.
And just as Racism ends with this generation, so does Slavery
Doing Something Now
Two weeks ago, 45,000 plus people did the impossible: they raised over $3.3 Million dollars in three days to help end modern-day slavery. This is an amazing feat. Not to mention the fact that the majority of the people who contributed the money were college students. The generation below mine, the ones that most of society chooses to write off. They were the ones to stand up and proclaim: Enough is enough; slavery ends, now!
The event that hosted this challenge was Passion 2012 [read their story here]. Their aim was to awaken generations to God’s heart for those trapped in bondage – it worked. Again, though, I turn to my peers and those older than me: will we, too, arise to the challenge set before us? Will we fight with those younger than us the cause Christ commissioned the Church to lead?
This can only be answered by you. No one else can answer for you.
27 Million people are enslaved today – either through work or sex trafficking. The time to do something isn’t tomorrow, but today! It’s due time, as the Church, that we take this issue seriously. As one presenter at Passion 2012 put it, “Image if your child was one of these 27 Million? What would you be willing to do to free them?”
So, what can you do NOW about ending slavery? Here are some ideas from Zach Hunter, one of the leading young adult voices against slavery. During a “twitter-chat” he ran last week, I asked him the following: what is the greatest need ministries and organizations need in fighting slavery? Hunter listed four things: 1) awareness 2) funding 3) trained professionals 4) most of all an unrelenting commitment to end slavery. He went on to say these two great quotes from another person’s question: I think that as long as we glorify the objectification of women in our culture, girls will continue to be exploited … Education is a key in the fight against slavery – it immunizes children against trafficking.
Here are ways to get educated about Modern Day Slavery:
- Quick lists of facts, stats, and connections
- Passion: Do Something Now campaign
- Watch Passion’s “Freedom: Indifference is Not an Option” film, via online [*highly recommended]
Here are ways to support the work of organizations that battle slavery:
- FREEDOM [from Passion 2012]
- NOT FOR SALE
- FREEDOM SUNDAY [for Churches]
- SLAVERY FOOTPRINTS [find what companies support slavery]
- LOSE CHANGE TO LOOSEN CHAINS [Zach Hunter]
- INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION
- US DEPARTMENT info on HUMAN TRAFFICKING
- Check your State Government about local organizations. Here are some for Ohio: