In 1991, the all-female hip hop group, Salt-n-Pepa, released a song titled, “Let’s Talk About Sex.” It was their biggest crossover hit, and sealed their positions as hip hop royalty. I might have been in the sixth grade when the song was released but I knew the song, and sung the hook even when I wasn’t absolutely sure of everything they were talking about. My parents didn’t know.
The irony of the track was they were singing and rapping about a taboo topic. At that time few people talked about sex in public (at least not among strangers) when most adults, both single and married, were actively engaging in the activity. But they also rapped about how sex can be used as a weapon, not for love, and how people can engage in irresponsible sexual practices. Near the end of the song, they call for all their ladies to talk about sex.
Well today, I’m answering that call. I want us to talk about sex!
Pastors Hurting Children
This week I have been troubled yet again of a news report of two pastors in Tennessee who were recently arrested in a human trafficking sting. These pastors were among 32 men charged with prostitution and human trafficking where children were being sold online for sex. One of these pastors served as a children’s minister, the other as a “Creative Pastor” at a different church.
Continue reading at Missio Alliance.
For the past couple years, I have had the pleasure of serving as a NC State Advocacy Leader for the International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM is a human rights organization that rescues victims of violence against the world’s poor. It is the largest international anti-slavery organization in the world. And this year, we are inviting you and your church to take a stand against modern-day slavery by participating in Freedom Sunday.
SEPTEMBER 25, 2016
- According to the Global Slavery Index, there are 35.8 million people enslaved worldwide.
- Slavery is illegal in every country in the world.
- Modern-day slavery generates an estimated $150 billion/year
- An estimated 2 Million Children are enslaved in the sex trade
- IJM frees more slaves than any other organization in the world
- Go to the “Freedom Sunday” official website and watch Elsa’s (Survivor of Sex Trafficking), Gowri’s (Survivor of Bonded Labor), and Lyna’s (Evidence of how IJM’s investigative work turns into convictions) Testimonies
- Gather a group of friends and listen to Gary Haugen’s (IJM CEO) 2016 Global Prayer Gathering Charge & Freedom Sunday announcement: “Now is the Time to Sound the Alarm”
Over the course of history God has raised up the prophetic voice of his people to go before human authorities to demand that they use their God-given power to let the oppressed go free! But the people of God cannot raise their prophetic voice if they themselves are asleep. In this singular moment in history, it is time to wake up the slumbering giant that is the church!
The church needs to understand two simple things:
- There are today more people in slavery than ever.
- God is making it possible for the first time in history for us to end slavery for good.
- Dedicate one Sunday to Freedom! Host Freedom Sunday at your church on Sunday, September 25, 2016
- The “Sermon Resource Kit” includes a sermon on God’s heart for justice complete with scripture notes. Scripture reference options: Luke 4: 18-21, Isaiah 58:1-14, or Luke 10:25-37.
- IJM will provide signage, poster templates, presentations, and resources for our lobby.
- IJM will provide digital assets for every facet of the worship service, including videos, slides, and more.
- IJM will also be providing small group questions for our Community Groups, content that is age appropriate for children, a social media guide, promotional announcement slides, other components for the worship service, and help from the IJM support team.
What to do now?
- Make the decision to take action.
- Spread the word – Share with your pastor (get a commitment) and your friends.
- Inform IJM of your decision and find out how they can help.
I’m thrilled to share that my friend, Nikki Toyama-Szeto, has joined the Leading Voices of Missio Alliance! I have been listening to and learning from Nikki for several years. I found her interview about Female Asian-Americans: Finding a Voice quite informative. She is an inspiration to men and women everywhere, especially to women like me who have the gift of leadership. Today, Nikki serves as the Vice President of Global Strategies for Christian Engagement at the International Justice Mission (IJM). Most recently, she co-authored the book, “God of Justice: The IJM Institute Global Church Curriculum.” Take a look at her talk about the new face of human trafficking. I’m so glad that we will all be hearing from her voice more consistently. You can connect with her on Twitter: @ntoyamaszeto .
Here is her introduction from Missio Alliance:
My neatly ordered world crumbled when I got to college—like for many others. In addition to trying to find a new set of friends, making my way far from home, and navigating the thrill of having lots of people “like me”, I was shocked to find that my college experience upended my neatly ordered faith. Before, my Christian faith was tucked into a manageable box. I tried not to swear at tennis meets and to make good choices. But then I encountered a community of people who tried to be like Jesus. They studied scripture, took it seriously and let scripture inform the major decisions of their life. Being in this extraordinary community transformed my high school faith into an adult faith. And I became curious about what the world would look like if the promises that God made in the Bible were reliable and true.
So that began a journey of both seeking after God, and calling others to follow Him with their whole lives. I did this for years, with young adults on campuses with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in northern California. But who was the teacher and who was the student? From Stanford students, I learned what it was like to merge faith with an intense leadership environment. From Berkeley students, I learned about a faith that was as big as the world, and God’s heart for those on the margins. And from University of San Francisco students, I learned about following God in the realities of a city, work, job, and other obligations.