Archive for the ‘guest’ Category

Not For Sale (2007)

February 4, 2008

“There are times to read history, and there are times to make history. We live right now at one of those epic moments in the fight for human freedom. We no longer have to wonder how we might respond to our moment of truth. It is we who are on the stage, and we can change the winds of history with our actions. Future generations will look back and judge our choices and be inspired or disappointed”. -David Batstone

When we speak of slavery, many think of it as a problem of our past. But in reality it has only taken on a new face — many faces, in fact. According to David Batstone, human trafficking (modern-day slavery) “generates $31 billion a year and enslaves 27 million people around the globe, half of them under the age of eighteen.”

Does this shock you? My guess would be yes. The invisibility of both the victim and the trade is a key to the survival of this booming business. If you knew that “girls and boys, men and women of all ages are forced to toil in the rug loom sheds of Nepal, sell their bodies in the brothels of Rome, break rocks in the quarries of Pakistan, and fight wars in the jungles of Africa,” wouldn’t you want to do something about it?

Most people might say that knowing about such things isn’t enough — well, I am here to tell you that it is. If invisibility is our enemy, then we need to bring light into this dark world of corruption and abuse. Not for Sale is a tool for the average person to find out what is going on and what they can do about human trafficking. Start talking. Talk to you friend, your neighbor, your best-friend’s ex-boyfriend’s twice removed uncle … but just start talking. Let those around you know that this is happening in the world.

-Bonnie Rapp

Check out Not for Sale’s website or the book on Amazon.

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What is Truly Unjust?

February 4, 2008

So here’s something we should all consider: the Gaza strip borders Israel and Egypt, yet it is not recognized as a part of either country. There have been and continue to be wars over the ownership of this land. It is presently being controlled — dare I say ruled — by Hamas, a group that has been described as “a murderous terror organization.” Israel, an ally of the United States, has decided to cut off power to the Gaza Strip as a form of “economic warfare.”

Pause here to think about everything we use electricity for. There will be no electricity in homes, schools, hospitals and public places. The Gaza strip has 1.5 million residents that include innocent civilians — men, women and children; sick, healthy and dying. They all need electricity to purify their water, incubate their babies and run their dialysis machines, among other things. What is truly unjust? Yes, we can take a stance even in such a long-standing problem. Find out more about the war, make petitions, talk about it, raise awareness — but most importantly, PRAY!

-Ibukunoluwa Akinboyo

Links to Justice

February 4, 2008

During Justice Week we are engaging people that are on different levels of knowledge about injustices around the world. After learning and dealing with these issues during Justice Week, we hope that people will be motivated to respond to their calling. Below is a list of just a few organizations in which you can get involved in to help further the cause for justice:

Campus Coalition Against Trafficking (CCAT)
This is a university campus movement that seeks to build the anti-trafficking movement by training emerging leaders, fostering youth empowerment, raising awareness about human trafficking and encouraging linkages among social injustices. (www.ccatcoalition.org)

He Intends Victory
This organization has been active since 1990 and has worked to promote the hope of Jesus Christ to those affected and infected by HIV/AIDS. He Intends Victory is committed to sharing the hope of Christ as a cure for the hopelessness that comes with HIV/AIDS. (www.heintendsvictory.com)

ONE:: The Campaign to make Poverty History
ONE is Americans of all beliefs and every walk of life united to help make poverty history. As ONE, we are raising public awareness about the issues of global poverty, hunger, disease and efforts to fight such problems in the world’s poorest countries. As ONE, we are asking our leaders to do more to fight global AIDS and extreme poverty. Everyone can join the fight. (www.one.org)

The Micah Challenge
Micah Challenge is a global Christian-run campaign. Our aims are to deepen our engagement with impoverished and marginalized communities; and to challenge international leaders, and leaders of rich and poor countries, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, which could halve global poverty by 2015. (www.michachallenge.org)

There is a long list of Justice Organizations with which you can get involved. A few more to add to this list are: Not for Sale, The Simple Way, Trade as One, Compassion, International Justice Mission, Free the Slaves, World Vision, World Relief, Acting on AIDS, The Salvation Army, Tearfund and Bread for the World.

-Katie Martin

Justin McRoberts – Grace Must Wound (2005)

February 4, 2008

With an album title inspired by Flannery O’Connor’s haunting words “Grace must wound before it heals,” Justin McRoberts uses his musical platform to usher listeners into the far reaches of grace. He draws a needed distinction between our ways and the identity of Christ, since Christianity in itself fails to exhibit pure grace. Nothing makes this theme more clear than his cover of Pedro the Lion’s “Secret of an Easy Yoke,” a critique of the Church who reduces God to a distant figure accessed through feel-good rituals.

If there is going to be change in the world, McRoberts knows there must be “Change” that brings each individual life and then offers it to the broken. Such surrounding brokenness is illustrated powerfully in “When They Bring You Down,” a song from God’s perspective to those who have done injustice. Christ fights for a healing justice on behalf of the oppressed, enslaved and demeaned individuals described in this song, and it is because of God’s special interest in justice that we can join McRoberts in asking Him to “Be Not Far Off (Psalm 22).”

Grace Must Wound is a collection of honest songs that showcases McRobert’s unique acoustic-driven sound. His picture of grace paves the way for his upcoming work Deconstruction, scheduled to release this spring. This album will focus more specifically on issues of justice and mercy, as well as the God-given capacity for humans to respond.

-Tesni Searles

Listen to Justin McRoberts on Myspace

William & Catherine Booth: The Life and Legacy of the Booths

February 4, 2008

“What are you living for? What is the deep secret purpose that controls and fashions your existence? What do you eat and drink for? What is your marriage — your money-making and toilings and plannings? Have you the assurance that the ruling passion of your life is the same as that which brought Christ to the manger, led Him to fight the foul fiend of Hell in the wilderness … nailed Him to the Cross of Calvary … If not, you may be religious … but I don’t see how you can be a Christian.”

These are the words of William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. In a book that shattered my life, Trevor Yaxley outlines the lives of two people who did the unthinkable with Christ. William & Catherine: the Life and Legacy of the Booths is an account that will take you to the heart of our warrior God.

Yaxley’s book provides black and white examples of how to take action, especially significant during Justice Week. The converts of the Salvation Army took on staggering injustices including the infiltration and abolition of child prostitution, revolution of factories that had taken countless lives, the fall of brothels and revival in the most unthinkable place and lives of their time. You will see the mighty works of God in the past and be faced with the question of what against hell are you doing now?

This same Salvation Army is still fighting for the lives of the innocent in this very city of Beaver Falls. On Sunday afternoons from four to six, come with us to serve along-side these weary soldiers. Go to the Facebook group “God Lead” for details. Last Sunday I spoke with one of the officers as she prepared the evening meal. She shared past victories and her sadness that not many were brave enough anymore to proclaim Salvation in the streets. Then she looked at us.
“You must do it. You must go down amongst the perishing crowds. Your happiness now consists in sharing their misery, your ease in sharing their pain, your crown in bearing their cross and your Heaven in going to the very jaws of hell to rescue them. Will you answer His call? Will you go?” — William Booth.

-Amanda Griffith

Supporting the Visual Arts in Beaver Falls

February 12, 2007

The Center for Creative Arts Expression is an open art studio created and run by Jerry McCorr, the Beaver Falls High School’s art teacher. Her vision for the center is to promote and support the visual arts within the community. The uniqueness of the center comes from its location, the previously vacant John T. Reeves Bank on Main Street, just half a block from the McCartney Library. Each teller window now offers a pallet of different art media, such as acrylic, watercolor, scrap booking, stamping, charcoal, pencil and ink. Two pottery wheels pose in the bank’s vault. Pottery, crayon batiking, quilting and other classes are available.

Jerry is a one-woman show, playing secretary, paying the electric and sewer bills, cleaning the toilet, buying the majority of the center’s supplies and making the coffee for the Café Art. She now awaits the artists. The center is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3:30-6 and Saturday 11-4, though more hours are available by appointment. A year membership for children and students is $15 and for adults, $20.

–Shayna Morrison