Frank and I were in the air somewhere over Central Florida last Friday when Nicholas Kristof (NYTimes journalist) was hosting the Google Hangout on #humantrafficking. Needless to say, I was frustrated to miss it.
My frustration ended when I realized the entire discussion was available on YouTube.
Frank and I just watched the entire 45 minutes, which is an excellent opportunity to hear from experts on the subject of human trafficking. If you watch it too (which I hope you will), you will understand why it provoked a deep discussion between the two of us on the complexity of the whole human trafficking epidemic and the strategic role Christians have in addressing this problem.
Christian theology (especially Christian anthropology—check out Half the Church) has the power to destroy the roots of these atrocities and replace them with a way of interacting as human beings that embodies the kingdom of God and our calling as God’s image bearers.
Human trafficking is one of those crises where there is no neutral position for anyone. To remain silent or ignorant is to fuel the evil. When it comes to human trafficking, ignorance is not bliss. It is complicit. One of the best things we can do to aid the traffickers and abusers is to keep our heads in the sand by refusing to educate ourselves on what is happening and remaining unaware of what we can do.
Sadly, human trafficking is just the tip of the iceberg. A whole range of evil abuses are destroying the lives of countless women, children, and men. Human trafficking thrives on a continuum of all sorts of abuses where someone with power exploits the powerlessness of the vulnerable.
We may think these problems exist elsewhere in the world, but they are happening right under our noses … right within our Christian community.
Not to put anyone on overload, but after you watch the video, here are resources that point to other forms of abuse that are taking place within today’s church and are currently ~not~ being addressed and are, in some cases, even being excused and defended:
Boz Tchividjian’s article—“Startling Statistics: Child sexual abuse and what the church can begin doing about it”—will open your eyes to the epidemic levels of sexual abuse in the church. Statistics here will rightly alarm and hopefully cause us (especially pastors, elders, deacons, and other ministry leaders) to seek help in addressing these realities right within our own congregations.
While you’re at it, subscribe to Boz’s blog and alert others to this important resource. As former child abuse chief prosecutor and founder and executive director of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), Boz is an expert in helping churches address the problem of child sexual abuse. Experts are essential to avoid unintentionally inflicting more suffering on the victims and failing to deal appropriately with perpetrators. He’ll be posting more information and resources on the subject.
The WhitbyForum series on Spiritual Abuse. All of the posts in the series are listed in this final post: From Angst to Action: Preventing Spiritual Abuse. I wrote the series in tandem with Dr. Phil Monroe, Director of Biblical Seminary’s Global Trauma Recovery Institute.
I’m personally heartened to see how much Christian women and men—adults, teenagers, and children—are doing to combat this humanitarian crisis. But they are few in number. There are many more of us and so much more we can be doing.
It’s time we pulled our heads out of the sand and engaged this urgent kingdom work.