One of the greatest tragedies in our world has been the rise of global sex trafficking, with young girls being sold into slavery by their own families. The church has been slow to respond while this scourge has impacted literally millions of girls, nowhere more than Southeast Asia and India. This is one of those "disturbing issues" that I've been talking about that we've going to take on at ICOM 2012. The theme of the first Saturday morning session is "A Radical Responsibility: Deliver the Captives."
No organization has been more actively involved in this fight than the International Justice Mission, founded by Gary Haugin. We are very blessed to have Jim Martin, Vice President of IJM, coming to address this theme. His message will steer us toward a deeper level of understanding of God's heart for justice and encourage us to act on behalf of the many victims of injustice around the world. Before joining IJM Jim served with The River Church Community of San Jose, California, coming there from a campus ministry at the University of Massachusetts.
Also speaking in that session with be Stephanie Freed, the founder and stateside director of Rapha House Ministries. Actually Rapha House works hand in hand with IJM in providing safe houses and care for the girls who are rescued from bondage. You'll hear exciting stories of what God is doing through that dynamic ministry.
One thing I've not even mentioned in these blogs is the subject of workshops. In regard to sex trafficking there will be a number of them. A few of the subjects include: "Coalition and Collabora-tion to Combat Sex Trafficking: God's People Working Together," "Ending the Demand for Sex Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Through the Church," "Prevention: Identifying and Ministering to At-Rick Children and Educating Families Before Trafficking Takes Place," and "Modern Day Slavery: Why It Happens...As God's People What Is Our Responsibility?" Jesus said that He came to deliver the captives and there is a breadth of application that demands our response as His church.
I've mentioned before how I've been impacted by both the life and writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Yesterday I posted on facebook this Bohoeffer quote: "Silence in the face of evil is evil itself: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." In response someone else posted this quote from Edmund Burke: "Nobody make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little." And that reminded me of Burke's most famous quote of all: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." There are so many different ways in which those quotes can be applied, not least of which is the subject at hand, "Deliver the Captives."
It is another busy week. I'm speaking to a group of campus ministers from across the country at a state park here in Indiana. Then I'll be preaching at the Bachelor Creek Christian Church in Wabash, Indiana this coming Sunday on the subject of "Radical Discipleship."