Social Action

Book review - Just Courage

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Have you ever wondered if there is more to the Christian life than your “relatively safe” life in the United States? Is your soul restless to impact the world in a greater fashion? Gary Haugen delivers a challenge to lay people and pastors alike in this powerful but short treatment of Christian social justice.

Addressed primarily to lay people in the church, the author uses numerous real-life incidents to illustrate the need to overcome fear, help readers begin to see the needs in the world, and argue that rescuing souls from physical slavery is a prerequisite to rescuing souls from eternal slavery. Finally, he challenges Christians leading a “comfortable” life to make the choice to be brave rather than safe. One major weakness of the book is the author’s view that “social justice” is a prerequisite to evangelism. In reality, he argues that freedom from physical bondage affords an opportunity to communicate the gospel to oppressed people. This view is generally accurate; however, the definition of “social justice” varies widely and his point can be easily misunderstood (see below for more discussion of this).

Rather than offering a theological treatise, Haugen relates a series of real life incidents from history and modern times. Interspersed with these illustrations are brief discussions of Bible verses that demonstrate God’s desire for justice and the need for Christians to communicate God’s love to the world in both words and action.

1449 reads

Why is One Million Moms Going after Jiffy Lube?

Good intentions, hasty action?

Late last week, One Million Moms posted a Current Issue advisory concerning a “lewd Jiffy Lube ad.” The post describes the ad briefly and calls on readers to take action and send an email to Jiffy Lube president Rick Altizer requesting that the ad be pulled.

As a result, Jiffy Lube received what president Altizer described as “an avalanche of response” over the weekend.

One Million Moms’ attention to things like these is commendable. I’m glad they care. But in this case, their actions were not well informed.

2165 reads

Trauma Relief in Haiti: A Report, Part 2

Ten days after the earthquake shook Haiti I was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a shock and trauma team that had access into Haiti through indigenous and wealthy benefactors. The team consisted of three orthopedic surgeons, an ER doctor, a pediatrician, and several nurses. We worked under the auspices of a respected Haitian surgeon who is one of the pillars of the Leogane society. Though this was not a Christian team, I was offered a role as “chaplain” because of my knowledge of the French language and the need for translation service. A “door of utterance” was opened for me to minister to both Haitians and Americans in the city of Leogane, one of the most dramatically affected cities near the epicenter of the January 12 quake. Over the next few weeks I will share with SI readers snippets from my journal containing my observations and opinions about the situation in Haiti.

Read Part 1.

Day Three (January 24)

Glad I have a tent. I almost left it, but it provides the only tiny private spot I’ll probably have for the next two weeks. It’s pitched on a slope that is quite rocky and I have a hunch that I’ll become quite familiar with the particular rocks under my tent, negotiating with them for a comfortable sleeping position, me doing all the compromising no matter how contorted my body may end up being to adjust to their inflexible intransigence. Reminds me of a lot of mid-level bureaucrats.

It’s Sunday, the Lord’s Day, and we were awakened at 4:30 this morning by a congregation that is meeting just outside the fence. I didn’t recognize any of the tunes except for one old Gospel song, “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus.” I missed going to church today, but we are too new to the area to even know what is going on so the morning was leisurely spent getting settled in and preparing for a reconnaissance trip with Dr. Charles.

1380 reads

Trauma Relief in Haiti: A Report, Part 1

Ten days after the earthquake shook Haiti I was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a shock and trauma team that had access into Haiti through indigenous and wealthy benefactors. The team consisted of three orthopedic surgeons, an ER doctor, a pediatrician, and several nurses. We worked under the auspices of a respected Haitian surgeon who is one of the pillars of the Leogane society. Though this was not a Christian team, I was offered a role as “chaplain” because of my knowledge of the French language and the need for translation service. A “door of utterance” was opened for me to minister to both Haitians and Americans in the city of Leogane, one of the most dramatically affected cities near the epicenter of the January 12 quake. Over the next few weeks I will share with SI readers snippets from my journal containing my observations and opinions about the situation in Haiti.

Day One (January 22)

Entering into Haiti was a surreal experience. Our forty-five-minute charter flight from the Dominican Republic was extended to about two hours because the Port-au-Prince airport that normally handles about nine flights a day (so I am told) is now trying to handle two hundred flights a day. It was deep into the night when we approached. No one spoke; everyone was lost in thought as we gazed out the window of our twin engine plane. Looking down on the city of a couple million souls, one could see very few lights. A black hole of suffering, I thought. And that was before we got here.

1685 reads

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