Just getting a post out about Price of Life, the social justice awareness campaign just about to kick off next week here in Omaha! Be sure to pop by the web-site and check out the events coming at us, especially the big finale concert at the end of the week with Propaganda and Remedy Drive.
Also if you’re around CCC on Sundays you can swing by the Price of Life booth in the Atrium, buy a T-Shirt and get some concert tickets! We’re 13 days out from the concert and pushing hard to get the word out in our community.
Below is a post you’ll find on the POL website – we call the blog “The Traffick Report”. I was thinking this week about some of how Price of Life has grown on me. This is my first ever Social Justice Campaign. It’s been quite a process. This post is about some of what I’ve been learning.
08-24-14 What’s it mean to take a cause seriously? Five Things I’ve dicovered.
About a year ago my adventure into learning about the world of human trafficking was just taking off. It started as a work related assignment: “Find out everything you can about trafficking. Help us know what to think of it and how we can respond.”
I researched everything I could about what was going on in my community. I met all kinds of people working on the problems. Was pretty sickened to see what is being spent on pornography and can only imagine the damage being done through its every manifestation. Read books. Met people. Met perpetrators. Met victims. Met social workers and academicians. Searched my own soul pretty deep and long looking for any trace of my contribution to the mess.
In this post, let me venture a top 5 list of things I think will keep your soul in the fight over time. Friends of mine out there nearer to the fight can add to this I’m sure, but here’s a start.
1- Find a FOUNDATION for your outrage. If you can’t count on something bigger than your personal disgust toward the abuse you see, you’ll just cave in and stop fighting. We all have a certain instinct that making sex a commodity and enslaving people in the process is wrong. But have you ever stopped and accounted for exactly why it’s wrong? Until your world view delivers a solid answer for the existence of radical evil, you better keep questioning it. The scale of what is happening to our children will merely wear you down and numb you up till you have very little left to fight with. I’ve found my core conviction on this. Hope you are finding yours as well.
2- Keep LEARNING, never make peace with ignorance. Intellectual sloth and intellectual arrogance suffer from the same cancer – it’s the attitude that “I don’t need to know”. The awareness initiative I have been leading in my community for over a year now has been largely educational at its cutting edge. Action is incredibly vital. But action without context is presumption. Context is what allows you to actually have a cause to engage instead of just being busy with actions you don’t really believe in. Price of Life is an awareness campaign largely because awareness is what makes action effective. Attend as many of the community events we have in the schedule during the September campaign. http://priceoflifeomaha.com/be-a-voice Check out the many ways in which we’re speaking to the issues. Find what connects with what’s important with you. Let yourself be stretched!
3- Develop COMPASSION Permanence. An author and justice champion I’ve come to love during the Price of Life initiative is Gary Haugen. He’s the president of the International Justice Mission. He compares Compassion Permanence in advocacy work to Object Permanence with children. Really young toddlers at some point develop the ability to remember where things are that are out of their immediate eye-sight. “ Compassion Permanence is a courageous and generous capacity to remember the needs of an unjust world even when they are out of our immediate sight. God calls us to a grown-up capacity to engage a world of oppression with our heart and mind, even though it is not always before our eyes. ‘ Gary Haugen – Good News About Injustice p. 52
4- Go and DO Likewise. Action needs context in order to really transform. Knowledge must lead to action or else evil isn’t stopped, healing begun and justice served. When Jesus was asked about the one who really proved himself to be a neighbor in the case of the good Samaritan, he capped off the teachable moment by telling the young lawyer “Go and DO likewise.” We often make a hero out of the good Samaritan. But Jesus was making the most basic point possible. The Samaritan wasn’t above and beyond – heroic in his efforts. He was simply effective. He actually did what needed to be done (where the others just walked on by with their excuses for why they couldn’t engage the cause. A pet issue turns into a cause when you’re willing to act – when you’re willing to meet the actual needs at hand. This is why Price of Life seeks to showcase the efforts of groups like IJM and Rejuvenating Women and New Hope Life Center for Women and Lutheran Family Services (see the rest of the campaign Affiliates). We want to connect impassioned activists with people doing the most direct good in our community and around the world.
5- Get your COURAGE on. Seeking to abolish the modern-day scourge of sex trafficking and all its tributaries will take more than good intentions, volunteerism and reading the reading the right books and websites. One of my favorite authors defines courage this way: “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. Honesty or mercy that yields to danger is conditional. Pilate was merciful till it became risky.” C. S. Lewis -Screwtape Letters
So let’s do this Price of Life thing. But only take this on as a cause if you’re sure you’ve got what it takes to keep moving ahead. As me and my teammates have planned for Price of Life for months now, we’re thinking – “Hey, the event is almost here. One final push and we’ll be there.” But it’s about a cause, not an event. The cause will still be there. Hope you can join.