Sometimes people ask what it is like spending time in brothels with trafficking victims when I am powerless to do anything about it. This is it. It feels like a choice to love and a choice to give whatever I do have, even if it is only an offer to walk through the valley of the shadows alongside. I do it because the women and girls that I encounter are worthy of being loved. They are worth crying for when things do not turn out like I wanted.
The startling aspect of this notion is that if Jesus was fully human and “grew in wisdom” that means that his sinlessness wasn’t in that he always knew everything and had all the answers so much as that when he faced any decision, he always chose the right path, the godly path
Everything her traffickers did for her, providing food, clothing, and the bed she slept on or paying for her bus ticket to Bali, became a debt. And until she pays it off she cannot not leave the brothel premises. She hasn’t been outside the gate in four months.
Childbearing is radically different from the sacrifice system requiring the blood of the innocent in order to prevent ongoing violence between enemies. Instead, childbearing is the is the spilled blood of the willing in order to bring new life.
The call isn’t out there at all, it’s inside me… I am Moana. This declaration isn’t arrogance. When we understand that we are God’s beloved, uniquely and perfectly made, called to the wildness of his sea, there isn’t much left to do but walk in that knowledge. It changes everything. It empowers us to do what feels absurdly difficult. It allows us to live beyond ourselves for the good of others. It gives birth to joy and peace and love.
While others packed up and retreated in their grief (or fear of being associated with someone recently executed), Mary defiantly stayed and watched for the hours between Christ’s death and resurrection, perhaps even staring at the guards placed there to make sure no one messed with his body. I wonder if she knew what was coming?
Too often in Christian circles faith is equated with more certainty. More certainty means more faith. The truly mature do not doubt, or so the line goes. But that is a Western cultural perception that has everything to do with how much we live in our heads and intellectualize faith and very little to do with how Scripture describes the essence of a faithful life.
I struggle with a lot (most) of the pro-life movement’s rhetoric and norms. There are so many things that the pro-life movement pushes that are based on false information and false connections. There is good existing data that the pro-life movement ignores because it doesn’t feed the narrative that they push.
But what about the children for whom rescue never comes? What about the ones who will never be restored to their families or who will never play the role of a hero? Can God do nothing with their lives? Are they exempt from the affirmation that they are essential to the kingdom of God? Is participation in God’s kingdom limited only to those whose lives mirror Joseph’s story on some level?
After sitting with the questions of my identity and purpose for a while, with pretty sudden and perfect clarity I found answers: I am a barbarian.