We sat captured by their voices. In what was surely and all Anglo "congregation" we were stirred by the young boys from Zambia. Imagine my disbelief thinking we supported the global slave trade a number of years ago right here in Oklahoma! Yes, David Batstone gave details of the sordid story in Not for Sale. I found this at Christianity Today – wished I had not missed this in February.
Frankly I would not have known about this issue had I not received an e-mail from Mike Morrell. I immediately ordered Batstone’s book and could not believe it. We made reference to this issue yesterday in the context of Ascension Sunday. Jesus charged the disciples to tell the story – be witnesses. I could not help but think of Luke 4 where Jesus declares the Good News he brings is for those who are poor and captive. It is shocking what people will do to dehumanize another under the pretext of "helping" those who are poor. Nearly 30 million people and maybe $32 billion a year! Quite lucrative to trade in people.
On our sign we asked, "Where is Wilberforce When You Need Him?" We refuse to "get involved" and in doing so fail to give credibility to the very life work of Jesus. My "growing up in the church" years helped me ignore these issues as certainly Jesus’ words should be spiritualized. After all, we are talking about those who are poor spiritually and captive to sin. So we absolve ourselves of action because everyone is poor spiritually and captive to sin. However, when it comes to churches we would rather bring Good News to the wealthy among us. Somehow we looked beyond Matthew 25
Our concern is for old hymns but we do not connect the story of Amazing Grace with Wilberforce and the work of the abolitionists. Newton’s hymn inspired Wilberforce. Today the hymn only conjures a personal nostalgia. The move to privatize our faith means it unnecessary to inspire modern day Wilberforce’s.
Batstone’s book inspires us with the stories of modern day abolitionists. What would it take for you to be inspired. Get the book and read it. Become aware of where you eat, what you buy and those trafficked in your area. Jesus said, "when you saw me naked … when you did it to the least of these, you did it unto me."