Archive for the ‘sk’ Category

David Batstone — Not for Sale (2007)

April 18, 2007
The current hot topic of justice is the subject of David Batstone’s “Not for Sale.” Offering detailed accounts of slavery found in the United States and in outside countries, the words flowing from the pages touch close to home. This is not an easy read. Although it is intriguing and heart wrenching, it is also scary, holding stories of which we would rather claim ignorance.

The official book of the Amazing Change campaign, this book both challenges and offers hope. Batstone skillfully networks together the different abolitionist efforts such as International Justice Mission and Free the Slaves, showing that this is a joint effort that needs more energy. He writes with passion and high expectations as he challenges readers to become abolitionists, a vocation that he believes still continues. This book tells stories of college students who have made successful efforts towards abolition.

Read this book. I challenge you to read it and to not feel a fire burn inside of you as you read of children soldiers in Uganda, of little girls being enslaved, of women continually tricked into prostitution. My hope is that after reading “Not for Sale” you will be unwilling to except the sight of injustice without digging past the surface.



Catch a Fire (2006)

February 21, 2007
Attempting to depict the oppression and the turmoil endured in South Africa during the 1980s, Catch a Fire illustrates the unfair treatment that blacks faced during apartheid.

This film tells the true narrative of Patrick Chamusso, a black South African man who led a simple life with his wife and two daughters. Careful to never challenge the “bosses” (police), he repeatedly kept his head down when enduring humiliation. But, when he is charged and tortured for a crime he did not commit, and sees his battered wife after the police beat her, Patrick is pushed over the edge. As he turns towards violence and joins the rebel organization ANC, it is difficult to not empathize with his actions. Ironically, the government seems to have turned him into their enemy. The very acts they were punishing an innocent man for are the acts he now performs.

This film encourages critical thought about South African apartheid while also offering hope because this apartheid of injustice was eventually resolved in peace. Considering the violence that occurred in South Africa, the film makers carefully keep the movie from being gory, although in an attempt to accurately portray the story, it contains scenes of torture and killings. This film never appears overdone and fake, and is successful in connecting the main character in the movie to the real Patrick Chamusso.

The film has definite improvements it could make in plot development, detail, and emotion. It resembles a weakly made movie that was a slight upgrade from a documentary, though it is possible that this was an intentional effort. Certainly not a movie to relax to, this does not disregard the fact that this film brings up crucial issues regarding violence and peace worthy of consideration.


Switchfoot – Oh! Gravity. (2006)

February 7, 2007
Caught between dreaming and waking up, this album wrestles with what we are “meant to be” on this side of gravity in a sometimes disturbing and colorless world. Switchfoot’s cover mirrors these themes with skulls, watching eyes, and monsters. Resembling a nightmare more than a dream, the occasional tentacles and hands grab and pull one into a crazy world of confusion and chaos caused by this thing that we call gravity. Looking closely, the songs are echoed in the artwork. “Spinning around in circles,” you want to “wake up kicking and screaming.”

Switchfoot’s lyrics attempt to lead us through the maze that we have constructed out of life (notice “enter here” arrow on back page). Like a coloring book, the empty album cover is screaming for color and life…similar to many chasing after excess. Jon Foreman recognizes this and sings colors into the microphone. He masters his words so that even without music the frustrations and tension ring through. Whether daring us to move or questioning the American Dream, Switchfoot has always challenged our contentment with “modern machines” and “being puppets on a monetary string.” As the band moves more into the mainstream and big time lights they do not lose focus. Foreman confesses that he is “head over heels” and pleads with One to “Let your love be strong.”

Switchfoot sounds a bit different this time around as their frustration is more evident through the tension of heavier guitar features and contrasting sounds echoing their pleas to wake up and realize that when “success is equated with excess, the ambition for excess wrecks us.” Taking creative risks, their abstract cover matches what’s found inside.

International Justice Mission at Geneva

January 29, 2007

A little girl sits and stares, her big brown eyes empty and unseeing. No tears fall because she has none left to give. Though not understanding what is happening to her, she knows enough. The bruises and soreness tell stories of months upon months of forced prostitution, of abuse when she does and doesn’t give in. Raped of her innocence, she is left broken.

You’ve heard the stories, you’ve seen the issues, you’ve experienced some of it. AIDS in Africa, forced labor in India, and sex trade in the United States are a few. Topping that off are child porn, genocide, kidnapping, forced migration, and murder of street children. The list is long.

The phrase Human Rights and the word Justice are thrown around. What do they mean? This is what students want to find out. Beginning a chapter of International Justice Mission (IJM) on our campus is one new effort to discover what justice is and how we can help it take place. Students who have a passion for the countless quiet sufferers are crying for justice and seeking God’s heart.

They are coming together in prayer, educating themselves on current Human Rights issues, and taking action by educating others, and raising money to free the many types of slaves around this world. This is the vision. Beginning this semester, IJM is an attempt at learning what it means to truly care for the widows, the orphans, and the beaten. If you are interested in advocating on their behalf, do it.

Human Rights are complicated and justice is a long process but do not let that scare you away. Learn with other students as they wrestle with being faithful in an area that is difficult to understand. Interested? Email