Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Real Beginning of Freedom

I had the wonderful opportunity on Saturday night to be at the closing ceremonies of the Freedom Relay Canada (www.freedomrelaycanada.com). Heather Clark and her dance troop presented an amazing production on 146 (the story of a young trafficked girl). All were moved and deeply impacted by the idea that freedom comes at a cost. And I think it's important to keep some things in tension. This is something I've been learning for years now in justice work:

1. Hope and easy engagement. People are not motivated by hopelessness - so every justice campaign that has any long-term possibilities of actual change needs to be motivated by hope and everyone gets to start somewhere. Easy engagement (the idea that anyone can be part of a movement to end injustice) is a key ingredient to allow people to hear and then join in the great and beautiful call to live another way!

2. Reality and Slogan Busting. Now, the hard-core justice folks know better than to believe a fancy website with some cool slogans. If we are honest the reality of trying to get girls/women out of the sex trade, healed and helped and living whole lives is a heck of a long road and difficult journey. This is not going to happen with a bumper sticker and a hopeful ideal.

So hope and easy engagement can easily collide with reality and slogan busting and make justice even harder than it is already - but I think we can hold these things in tension in a way that keeps the long road to freedom in touch with the hopeful folks who are just beginning the journey - perhaps offering injections of much needed hopeful, less cynical and more idealistic notions of freedom and possibilities and those who are just beginning get the long-term view, wisdom and experience of the tired but committed crew of justice fighters.

In other words - this could be really good news for everybody. :-)
Let's do more things together for the long haul towards freedom.

If you haven't' been involved in the Freedom Relay - you should start training for next year - we are only picking up momentum at the very beginning of a long journey - and it's going to be worth it!!

Check out Stop The Traffik while you are at it to join another campaign that is happening right now - changing the world through hopeful ideas and radical living.
Join the revolution.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

10 campaign

Since 2006, STOP THE TRAFFIK have been running a campaign which focuses on ending child trafficking into the cocoa industry. Specific emphasis is on the major cocoa growing nations of West Africa, particularly The Ivory Coast, which together produces over a thrird of the world’s cocoa.[8] The campaign has seen some success, with several major chocolate manufacturers agreeing to adopt Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance cocoa. Some of those who have announced this switch since the campaign began: Mars have pledged to make their Galaxybar Traffic Free by 2010, and their global range by 2020;[9] Dutch manufacturer Verkade committed to 100% Fairtrade cocoa and sugar in their chocolate bars in the Netherlands from autumn 2008; Swiss Noir committed to Fairtrade cocoa in their chocolate bars in the Netherlands from March 2009; Cadbury committed to producing a Fairtrade Dairy Milk bar in the UK andIreland from autumn 2009.[10][11]
Typical STOP THE TRAFFIK campaign material is often presented like this:
The truth behind your tasty treats
Over a third of the world's chocolate comes from Cote D'Ivoire, Africa.It's highly likely that your favourite chocolate bar comes from here.
Thousands of children — from within the Cote D'Ivoire and neighbouring countries — who pick and harvest these beans have been trafficked.
They have had their freedom taken away from them and are forced to work long hours on the cocoa plantations without receiving any money for their work.
In 2001 the ICI (International Cocoa Initiative) was set up as part of the Harkin–Engel Protocol to combat trafficking in the chocolate industry.
Although small scale community projects have been set up, the ICI actually promised to eradicate the worst forms of child labour, including trafficking, by 2005.
  • They missed the deadline.
  • They then extended the deadline to 2008.
  • We are still waiting.
We want the chocolate industry to live up to its promises and give us traffik free chocolate.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Freedom Relay Canada

Canadians march toSTOP THE TRAFFICKING!”
         Freedom Relay launches cross-Canada event

For immediate release:

From Newfoundland to British Columbia - Canadians are saying “Make It Stop!”

Human Trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery, forces vulnerable people into unpaid labour and sexual exploitation. It is a global problem and Canada and our communities are not spared. Canada is regarded as a source, transit and destination country for victims of human trafficking.

For the first time a concerted effort is underway to unite Canadians and organizations in putting an end to the misery, fear and destruction of human lives caused by this terrible crime.

The Freedom Relay is organized by the Chrysalis Anti-Human Trafficking Network and  Stop The Traffik,Canada, in collaboration with NGO’s across the country.

“The problem of human trafficking begins in a community, and we believe the solution to human trafficking also begins in a community,” says Jacqueline Linder, Executive Director of Chrysalis.  “By participating in this national freedom relay, Canadians are saying: ‘Make it stop!”

The relay begins September 17th in St. John’s Newfoundland. It then moves across the country and concludes in Vancouver on October 1st.

The relay is a series of events organized locally (see below for details) but are united by common purpose.

“The relay is about unlocking the chains – and the keys are awareness, support for victims, a national strategy, legislation and law enforcement,” Linder says. “This event is creating a network to bring these pieces together, and to bring ordinary Canadians into the fight.” 

Relay Dates, information

Relay Dates

1) Sat, Sept 17 - Newfoundland
2) Sat, Sept 17 - Montreal (relay info)
3) Sat, Sept 17 - Ottawa (relay info)
4) Sat, Sept 17 - London (relay info)
5) Sat, Sept 17 - York Region (relay info)
6) Sun, Sept 18- Toronto (relay info)
7) Sat, Sept 24 - Winnipeg (relay info)
8) Sun, Sept 25 - Saskatoon (relay info)
9) Sun, Sept 25 - Edmonton (relay info)
9) Sat, Oct 1 – Vancouver

For more information; interview requests: 
Mike Linder, Chrysalis Network: 780 504 0329

The Chrysalis Network is a national organization that provides free, confidential trauma counselling service to women and men who have been trafficked and exploited for the purposes of commercial sex and forced labour.
STOP THE TRAFFIK is a global movement of individuals, communities and organizations fighting to prevent the sale of people, protect the trafficked and prosecute the traffickers. It has more than 1000 member organizations in 50 countries and tens of thousands of activists all over the world.


Freedom Relay Canada was inspired by the Freedom Ticket For Life relay created by Stop The Traffik.  The Canadian relay is organized by the Chrysalis Anti-Human Trafficking Network and Stop the Traffik, Canada in collaboration with NGO’s across the country.





Freedom Relay Canada

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The TV tells lies.

My son came upstairs upset and furious at the television.
think about what you watch... 
We've recently gotten a basic cable package for free with our internet and phone provider - this is new for our family. I've always tried to teach my son that the TV is at best a marketing toy - it's designed to make you want to buy things and make you feel less of a person if you don't. We've pretty much talked a lot about it. But I was surprised when he came upstairs and announced to our entire company (we host a small group at our place) in a very loud voice, 'The TV lies!' It was a proud day for me.
Of course he was suggesting that a specific commercial just simply wasn't true but the entire statement is a good one when we are talking about identifying ways in which we 'buy in' to a dominate culture group.

Have you ever tried to shut off the media/TV/internet for a season? A day? A week? What happens to your life?? It's an experiment that has been sorely lacking in anyone giving it a go?
The television is case in point - it constantly speaks a world dominate massage with vivid colour and life-like precision. I think it was in the book A Brave New World that Aldous Huxley painted this picture of the future where books weren't banned they just were no longer needed - people used to sit in front of this 'mood box' for a few hours every night to feel better. At the time it was science fiction - hmmmm. I wonder how much exciting community involvement and betterment could be done in the amount of time we give to our endless entertainment through sitting around watching a little box that tells us lies.
If you can't shut off you TV at least listen to the lies and begin to identify them as such. My son is ahead of us on this. Say it out loud - proclaim it to the heaven lies. Let the whole world know that if you are going to watch TV - it will LIE TO YOU and it will lie to you blatantly and without apology. Who knows - maybe a no TV revolution is in our future?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Recognition: the first step

Somebody once said that the first way we contribute to injustice is to choose not to see it. It's a good point. And I'd also suggest that the first way we contribute to our own oppression is to choose not to see it. Many people in places of oppression suggest that not dealing with it is easier than dealing with it. This is true for the short-term. You can imagine the big speech that William Wallace gives to his scared scottish  friends facing the professional formal army of the English... 'fight and you may die. run and you may live - for a while, as a slave.  But lying in your beds 20 years from now wouldn't you give all your years from this one to that one for just one chance to fight for your FREEDOM.'

the question is to we long for freedom? and do we even know what freedom looks like?
If we've been defining our freedom by the worlds standards (economic prosperity, scenic beautiful living rooms of perfection, the perfect body, success etc...) than how do we know when we've become enslaved in the 'culture' of the world. It's most likely when we look back and realize that more than 2/3rds of our lives were spent working for the money to spend on the perfect life that left us empty and longing for something more... but by that time we think an affair and a hot vehicle will satisfy the ache (because that's what the world tells us) and we throw away our family, home, and deep relationships for something quick, easy and emotionally shallow and again, it's not until it's too late that we realize that too was another lie - rooting us further in our own oppression.
Recognising oppression is half the battle.
So, I ask myself. Where is my definition of freedom coming from?
What is it?
For me it looks like abandonment, and surrender. I understand from the scriptures that a deeply surrendered life leads to freedom. Freedom to be who God says I am. Freedom to say yes to God no matter the consequences. Freedom to challenge the 'norm' and question the 'normal' and live a different way. Freedom to not even care what my neighbours think but to invite them to join the Kingdom party. Freedom to use my recourses freely - instead of hoarding them and locking myself into a life of protectionism of epic proportions (locks, alarms, more locks, secret codes, secret banks etc...).

I'm looking for a freedom found in Christ. With no ownership He lived a meaningful and colourful life. Not owned by anyone, except His Father - He was ultimately free to say yes to God all the time.
I'm aiming for that kind of freedom and I recognize that this world I live in does not promote that kind of freedom. And I'm beginning to recognize that I have a need. What a great step towards the way I was truly born to live.

Friday, September 9, 2011

the silence is over

Well, I've been a total slacker in the blog world. My apologies.
I have been writing elsewhere - but there really are no good excuses. So, instead of getting kicked off of Stephen Court's blogroll I've decided to pick up the slack and give it another go.
Thanks for your patience. :-)
I've been contemplating a new book with Jonathan Evans around the Exodus. After doing some workshops of that title at Soul Survivor I've realized again just how important this topic is. How do we get out of a culture that is so dominant - like excessive capitalism for example (I'll unpack this in some future blogs). But, I've been thinking a lot about how our 'normal' becomes normal. And the realities around that. For example: exercise. For some people a 10km run is a totally normal thing - and for others it's a crazy thought or simply a dream for crazy people.
I lived in an abnormal neighbourhood called The Downtown Eastside of Vancouver for years. And a few of us got so used to crazy as normal that we decided we would point out the things that weren't normal. So, a pregnant drug addict coming up to my newly engaged friends announcing that they have the perfect wedding gift - their baby!! is NOT normal and yet it is also normal. It's all in your perspective. Which begs the question - do we have the right perspective.
More of this later.
Glad we are talking again. :-)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's day!

St Patrick (385 - 461)
He was born in Roman Britain around the end of the 4th century, and died in Ireland about the middle of the 5th century. As a missionary bishop, he endured many hardships and faced opposition even from his friends and fellow Christians. Nevertheless, he worked hard to conciliate, to evangelize, and to educate local chieftains and their families. He is remembered for his simplicity and pastoral care, for his humble trust in God, and for his fearless preaching of the gospel to the very people who had enslaved him in his youth. 

St. Patrick's Breastplate: 
I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spic├Ęd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Liberating Truth: How Jesus Empowers Women

I recently wrote a book about women. I thought it'd be a great way to celebrate International Women's Day by suggesting that people get educated about gender issues and the gospel. Many in the western world simply fail to recognize the way women are systemically oppressed around the world... and until we do, we won't have a gospel that is true to it's promise. The good news is all about setting people free, declaring dignity to all - letting people know that Jesus came to make the world a better place to live - right now, as it is in heaven. And I can guarantee there is no public stoning, female circumcision or sexual slavery in heaven. Jesus is a feminist. There is no question about this (I've written a whole chapter to back it up - so go on and read it!). :-) So, if you feel like changing the world and you are wondering where to start - start with women. 

Happy International Women’s Day!

Happy International Women’s Day!

On the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, each of us should reflect on the reality of the society that we live in today, recognizing that the aims of feminism certainly have not been achieved in full. We have a long way to go.
The theme of this year's international women's day is equal access to education, training and science, and technology, the "pathway to decent work for women."
This year should especially resonate with college and university students, as it directly calls into question the conditions of the various workforces they seek to enter upon completion of their respective programs and job training.
A study was recently released, which showed that only 17% of CEOs of major corporations are women. Only 22% of members of parliament in Canada are women. And last year, Statistics Canada removed the question that would track and put a price tag on women's work inside the home.
Sociologists and others who study demographic trends have recently suggested that women in the modern world are facing a backlash to the equitable gains sought by the three waves of feminism in the past century.
One might ask: what is a feminist? I believe it is someone who champions the cause of equality. Is it relevant to still have an international women's day, some might ask? Indeed, I think it is important while women still earn 29% less than men for the same job. I think it is important in light of the unequal divide of politically represented genders.
I also think it is especially important to recognize women annually in the international community, in developing countries where many women still do not have access to universal health-care, including reproductive rights, as well as education and protection against domestic violence.
This year, women and men together should take the time to consider the implications of a growing movement on International Women's Day, with the recognition that we cannot give up what we have gained here in Canada, because, for our sisters overseas and across the globe, their battle is just beginning.
By: Nicole Birch-Bayley is majoring in English. She is currently studying in the Laurentian University program at Georgian College

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Go to this website and STOP THE MONSTER

I like Kanye West... at least I used too. But this cheap idea of pushing the envelope to push your sales up is not only weak but very destructive towards women. Please let him know that you want him to do something better... check out this campaign TODAY and record your two cents... write on his facebook wall... sign a petition... anything to make your voice heard. This is NOT OK and we need to SPEAK UP. It's time we used our voice. Do it today.


Monday, January 3, 2011

William Booth on SPEED...

Does salvation travel as fast as sin? See how wickedness spreads. Talk about a prairie fire ? it devours everything before it. Does Salvation keep pace with our ever-growing population? Make the calculation in your most favoured Christian cities, and you will find we are terribly behind in the race. Do we keep pace with the devils in energy and untiring labour Do we go as fast as death? Oh, say no more! We’ll close our ears to this cold, unfeeling, stony-hearted utterance of unbelief.

LET US GO FASTER! We must increase the speed if we are to keep pace with the yearnings of the Almighty Heart of Love that would have all men to be saved. We must go faster if we are to have a hand in the fulfilment of the prophecies. Read the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah, and think of the speed that must be reached before all that comes true. We must go faster if we would wipe out the reproach and taunts of the mocking infidels who are ever asking for living proof of God’s existence. We must increase our pace before our own prayers are answered, our own expectations realized, our own relations converted, and our own consistency proved.

My comrades, the General issues the command to every country, and to every division, and to every corps, and to every soldier-to advance. The pace of the past is to be no standard for the future. We must go faster. Obstacles, difficulties, and enemies shall be swept before us, and the mouths of those who condemn us shall be forever stopped before the Lord.