Half the Church: A Worthy Read

Reading through a book called Half the Church:  Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women by Carolyn Custis James.  It’s a response to the book Half the Sky by WuDunn and Kristof, but it’s a cry to the Christian Church to respond to the huge global stain on humanity of modern day slavery and human trafficking.

Our hearts are gripped and wrenched with the thought of women and young boys and girls being sold or tricked into trafficking.  We know that God is absolutely outraged by what is going on today at this very second, and it is happening at epic, never before in history, proportions!  At this very moment, things are happening to women and children that are indescribable, all while I’m sipping my latte and trying to figure out how to put my thoughts into words.  If you ever want to know the depth and darkness of the evil that is in this world, just start doing your research on trafficking and slavery!

Now, let me ask this question.  When you find yourself in a mess, don’t you wish you could go back to the beginning and start over?  As I ponder what we can do to be a strong voice against trafficking and slavery, there’s one message that keeps resonating.  Start at the beginning!  In Half the Church, there’s one paragraph that goes like this.  “Greg Mortenson, humanitarian founder of the Central Asia Institute that builds schools for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, reports the same thing.  “Once you educate the boys, they tend to leave the villages and go search for work in the cities.  But the girls stay home, becomes leaders in the community, and pass on what they’ve learned.  If you really want to change a culture, to empower women, improve basic hygiene and health care, and fight high rates of infant mortality, the answer is to educate girls.” (pg. 74-75).  Growing up, my grandmother insisted on only one thing.  No matter what, we were to get our education.  It was never an option and it was always expected.  Having gone through a divorce during the depression, she knew the value.

Check out the projects funded through Freedom Climb.  Look at the projects under prevention.  We can start at the beginning.

Advent Lutheran Church

I was all gung-ho for our church ladies – young and old – to have some time together in fellowship, talking, exchanging information, singing, praying, praising, and just getting to know one another better. Eating together is a good thing, you know, especially when the Pastor and men of the church are doing the cooking and the serving.

Then, Lori Degler, who is going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with women from around the world, stepped up to the microphone as our guest speaker. She began to explain that her climb was part of a Christian action group that wants to call attention to the plight of women and children around the world who are being sexually exploited, enslaved and trafficked.

WHAT? Immediately, our light-hearted fellowship turned to something a little more somber and serious. Lori showed us video tapes of what is going in the world’s undeveloped countries. Seeing young children and women in squalor being used and abused made our hearts hurt under the weight of it all. It really was hard to fathom when she said that it is also, going on in every state of the United States, not just in undeveloped countries.

We all wanted to know: What can we do to stop this? How can we help? Then, a brave young lady from our church stood up and said she was joining Lori in the climb because God was calling her to do this. Have you ever heard a room full of women applaud, cry, shout and praise all at one time? It’s glorious because all of us were were moved by The Spirit!

This is quite an undertaking by anyone’s standards, but when it includes “one of your own”, things change. It becomes personal. It becomes all encompassing. It becomes do-able because we, as Women of Advent Lutheran Church, are now a part of the solution. We are helping our young church climber to heed God’s the call: “to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves….and to see that they get justice.”

We are being called to travel the same path of faith, justice, peace, and love – to defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. It is my fervent prayer that people will give generously to those who are climbing, not only monetarily, but with devoted prayer and moral support so the outcome will be a success heard around the world.

May God’s richest blessings flow upon all our efforts.