Never stop learning. Go deep. Be deep. Have more depth than 140 characters.

romero

There are many beautiful aspects of our larger culture … and then they are broken things. There are also things that are incredibly encouraging and of course, disconcerting.

One of my concerns in our larger culture – including the Church:

We’re
lacking
d  e  p  t  h  .

In my first book – Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World? (set to release on September 1 but available for pre-order now),  there’s a chapter entitled, “Have More Depth than 140 Characters.”

I am the first to tell you that I don’t know everything about everything. But when it comes to my core pursuits, my passions, the issues that inspire me and drive me to serve, I try to learn as much as I can.

Over the past few years, I have met many people who are not only interested in serving the world in various ways but who are engaged in their convictions and passions. But I am often surprised to find out that they do not know the basic history and background of their chosen interest.

I remember one time in particular, at a conference, when a woman came up to me and told me she was very grateful and appreciative of a talk I had just given. We chitchatted, and eventually I asked her what she did as her vocation.

She said she worked at an NGO, serving the poor in Central America. We were having a polite conversation. She asked for advice, and I tried my best to encourage her in our short conversation. As I shared one of my favorite quotes from Óscar Romero, I asked her if she had read much of his works or about him.

“Aspire not to have more but to be more.” – Óscar Romero

She had this blank look on her face.

“No, I haven’t met him yet, but I’d love to. Can you connect me? How can I contact him?” Continue reading “Never stop learning. Go deep. Be deep. Have more depth than 140 characters.”

We have to see justice as part of discipleship and ultimately…our worship of God.

passion-2011-worship-and-justice

Over the years, I’ve been given by some the mini-reputation as a leader in the field of justice. At first, I took it as a compliment and  of course, I still do because I care a lot about justice. I know that people mean well. But I care about justice not  just for the sake of justice. I care about justice…because I care much about the Gospel.

And sometimes, when I hear folks talk about justice in the church, I cringe…

I cringe because if we’re not careful, we’re again compartmentalizing justice rather than seeing it as part of the whole Gospel; We need to see justice as a critical part of God’s character and thus, our discipleship and worship.

Just like we shouldn’t extract the character of “love” or “grace” or “holiness” from God’s character, such must be the case with justice.

People often ask me, “What’s the most critical part about seeking justice.”

My answer:

We must not just seek justice but live justly. Justice work and just living are part of our discipleship. Justice contributes to our worship of God. Justice is worship.
Continue reading “We have to see justice as part of discipleship and ultimately…our worship of God.”

Why we should support #EndItMovement and why we must ask these critical questions about human trafficking.

IMG_20140227_120619

There are approximately 27,000,000 – 40,000,000 million slaves in various forms all around the world. Human beings. People. Women, men, and children. We can’t mince words: It’s wrong and evil. For this reason, I’m sharing my support for ‪#‎EndItMovement‬. It sickens me to even have such a day or movement for this purpose but such is the reality of our world.

But for those that don’t know about #EndItMovement, here’s a summation:

…Join us and other Freedom Fighters from around the world as we SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY. Draw a RED X on your hand. Tell your world that slavery still exists and YOU WON’T STAND FOR IT. Just use your influence any way you can to help us carry the message of FREEDOM so even more people know. Let’s make this SHINE A LIGHT ON SLAVERY DAY even brighter than ever.

I support it and thus, I’ve taken the time to place an X on my hand…and to join with others in proclaiming that I don’t want this to be just merely a gesture, a red mark, a one time action…

I deeply appreciate Louie and Shelly Giglio – the founders of the Passion Movement and the instigators of the #EndItMovement. While it would be inaccurate to say that I know them personally, I’ve met Louis on couple brief occasions including at a meeting at the White House on the matter of human trafficking. He was also generous to write an endorsement for my book, Overrated: Are We More in Love With the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World?

Since organizations, leaders, and influentials have done such a good job in bringing the issues of human trafficking to the view of the larger mainstream, it’s especially important to highlight not just that “Human trafficking is wrong” but the critical discussion of “How we engage this justice work…” Continue reading “Why we should support #EndItMovement and why we must ask these critical questions about human trafficking.”

A moral budget: What would Jesus cut?

Update: I’m joining in solidarity with others in expressing deep disappointment and anger over the recent news and decision by the House Agricultural Committee’s decision to cut the SNAP program (formerly food stamps) by more than $35 million over the next 10 years.

While it should not make it past the Senate, I’ve emailed my elected officials to express this disappointment and to take actions. Regardless,  you have to wonder where our priorities are.

I am all for reducing our national deficit. It must be a priority but to do it at the expense of those who need food via this program is morally wrong.

Wrong.

Here’s a brief synopsis from Bread for the World’s blog:

Bread for the World is infuriated by the House Agriculture Committee’s decision today to slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) by more than $35 billion.

“Cuts to SNAP, particularly at a time of continued high unemployment and unprecedented need for food assistance, are a moral outrage,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “SNAP is working exactly as intended. It has grown to meet increased need and is expected to decrease to pre-recession levels as the economy recovers.”

You can read the full article here or one via Reuters and I encourage you to join Bread for the World’s efforts to advocate for the poor.

WWJC? What would Jesus cut?

I have reasons to both like and dislike Tupac but his words when he was alive still hit the core:

“They have money for war but can’t feed the poor.” – Tupac

Original Blog Entry:

Several weeks ago (right before I left for my sabbatical), I joined with six other pastors from around the country Continue reading “A moral budget: What would Jesus cut?”

why everyone needs to know vincent chin

Vincent Chin is no American Idol but he is someone that every American needs to know but unfortunately, hardly anyone will remember or know – even during this week as we mark the “anniversary” of his brutal beating and subsequent death on June 23, 1982. It’s important to remember because how we recall the past can be so important as it informs our future. If you haven’t heard, the world is changing and that includes the country that I call home – the United States. And in a society where Diversity is the New Normal and an increase in tension with Immigration and Xenophobia issues, it’s that much more important for people to know about Vincent Chin.

Who is Vincent Chin?

Vincent Chin was a 27-year-old Chinese-American raised in Metro Detroit. A week before his wedding, Continue reading “why everyone needs to know vincent chin”

89 million more reasons to get involved

img_2551
I get the following question all the time:

“Why do we need another organization?”

Sometimes, I wonder if it’s the same folks that ask, “Why do we need another church?”

I’m sure most folks that ask these questions ask with good intentions and while everyone should check their motivations and vision, I am thankful for the folks that went before us [like the orgs that you really really like…] that chose to move forward even when people asked them the very same question.  Had they stopped, they wouldn’t be around and while there are no perfect organizations, they are acting. My only hope is that they’re acting without ever forgetting the same goal of “working ourselves out of a job.”

You understand what I’m saying, right?

But if you need more reasons why we should all get involved and why I feel convicted about One Day’s Wages, I’ll sadly share another 89 million reasons. Continue reading “89 million more reasons to get involved”