Monthly Archives: October 2013

Sparrows

A Colombian mother is reported to have prostituted 12 of her daughters, charging between $160 and $212 for the young girls’ virginity.  The abuse was brought to the attention of authorities by a victim who gave birth at age 14.

Where was God in all this?  Could He not have intervened?  Such evil is staggering.  Confronted by it, we cannot help but cry out.

God is not immune to our pain.  Nor is He indifferent.  He suffered for us on the cross, and continues to suffer with us.  We are His children.  Would you not suffer for yours?  Surely, you feel their pain when a young wing is broken or a young dream falters.

This is a fallen world — home both to incalculable evil and amazing good.  We get to choose sides.  That privilege comes at great cost.  But those choosing evil should make no mistake.  God’s eye is on the sparrow…on all the defenseless little sparrows.  And there will be a reckoning.

” ‘Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?  And not one of them is forgotten before God.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows‘ ” (Luke 12: 6-7).

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Normal

Whatever our life experience, nearly all of us wonder at some time or other whether we are normal.  Those of us bearing the physical and emotional scars of child abuse or domestic violence are especially sensitive on this topic.  We feel responsible for the scars, as if they were somehow character flaws.

The term “normal” suggests that differences from average are defects, even the scars resulting from trauma.  In reality, “normal” covers an enormously wide range of behavior, differing from culture to culture, and age to age.

Chances are that all the following would view themselves as normal:  polygamists, monks, strippers, con men, psychics, lion tamers, astrologers, tattoo artists, arms dealers, cave divers, UFO enthusiasts, and Wall Street bankers.

We have different tolerances for risk from one another. We have different appetites from one another. We have different aptitudes and interests from one another.  And we adhere to different moral standards from one another.

The test for hospital release is posing no reasonably foreseeable risk of harm to self or others.  A more relevant inquiry for abuse victims might be whether a particular behavior is effective for achieving their intended goals or not.

If it is done or conceived of by humans, it is human.  Not necessarily laudable or even legal, but human.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Modern Slavery

Incomprehensible as it may be, millions today live out a modern version of slavery.  Men, women, and children are sold as if they were brute animals or inanimate objects, forced to work for little or nothing, and subjected to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. 

Human trafficking for sexual exploitation focuses heavily on women and girls.  Children (some as young as 5 or 6) may, also, labor as domestic or agricultural workers.  As many as 53 million children under the age of 15 routinely perform extremely hazardous tasks.

William Wilberforce, an English politician, philanthropist, and abolitionist, spearheaded the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for over twenty five years, until passage of the Slave Trade Act in 1807.  Wilberforce then continued his efforts for over twenty five additional years, ultimately achieving passage of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.  His health had by then entirely failed, but his devotion takes one’s breath away.

That we are still addressing fundamental questions of liberty, justice, and equality nearly two centuries later – some 3500 years after they were first addressed in the Bible – is a reflection of what Christians would call the “sin nature” of man.  Our flawed human nature does not change from one generation to the next.  The same problems recur, albeit in different guise, one generation after another.

This might seem discouraging to non-believers, an argument for complacency.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  These are the front lines of the battle between good and evil, a battle each generation must fight for itself.  Christians know something that non-believers do not.  Though the battle may rage on, the war has been won.  It was won for us by Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Even the battle is not fought by our strength, but His.  That knowledge is empowering.  It carries us forward to accomplish the impossible.

Make no mistake.  This remains a tragedy.  We should be moved.  We should weep for these children, should pray, advocate, and fight for them.  We may not win the battle.  But our empathy, our common humanity, should be yet more threads drawing us together.

— Excerpt from Connecting Threads

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT:  http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Filed under Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Physical Abuse, Poverty, Prostitution, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Slavery, Violence Against Women

Poison

Their wine is the poison of serpents, and the cruel venom of cobras”(Deut. 32: 33).

Across time and across the globe, women have been harassed, threatened, imprisoned, violated, and put to death for seeking equality with their male counterparts.

There have been political, cultural, and religious reasons given for this inequality.  But at heart is the matter of poison.  Not a chemical or biological agent of warfare (though there is a kind of war being fought), this is instead an insidious poison of the mind.

Simply put, many consider half the population of the earth – the female half, the very mothers who bore them – less worthy than the other, male half.  This toxic belief corrodes nations and cultures, along with relationships and individuals.  It establishes and enforces a power differential in favor of the male members of society which is a temptation toward abuse.

More than that, the inequality violates the laws of God.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1: 27).  

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

Sin has, throughout history, distorted the relationship between men and women.

Though the Old Testament prophetess, Deborah, more than capably judged Israel; though women were faithful at the cross, and the first to arrive at the empty tomb; though Mary, Persis, Priscilla, Tryphena, and Tryphosa were just a few of the women who ministered in the early church; and though God pours out His spirit on sons and daughters alike (Joel 2: 28-29; Acts 2: 17-18), Christianity has not been immune to this distortion.

There has been a great deal of emphasis on the submission of wives to their husbands (Eph. 5: 22-24; Col. 3: 18), and very little on the requisite love by husbands for their wives (Eph. 5: 25-26, 28-29, 31; Col. 3: 19, 1 Pet. 3: 7).

This skewed emphasis by the church has done greatest damage – both spiritually and physically – in regard to abuse.  Over the centuries, women have again and again been counseled by their priests and ministers to remain in abusive marriages, even at the risk of their lives.  For many of these women, the poisonous belief that they were of less value than men proved lethal.

Abuse is, of course, biblically prohibited.  Submission to another flawed human being was never intended to supersede the right of self-defense [1].

Nor does forgiveness by the victim necessarily restore trust.  That may be lost forever.  Certainly, an abused woman is not required to return to a situation she perceives as dangerous.

Christianity is the antidote to this and other poisons like it.  Male and female, let us live our faith as Christ would have us do.  Let us treat one another with kindness and respect that the warfare between the sexes may end, and the world may see in us — men and women alike — the image of Christ.

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[1] The Christian concept of “headship” (Ephesians 3: 22-33) is best assessed vis a vis the servant leadership modeled by the Lord (Mark 10: 42-45).

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

 

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