What If My Nephew Was Sex Trafficked?

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Hate, Anger, and Helplessness…

would be my three predominant thoughts if my little nephew was taken from my family and put into the bondages of the sex trafficking world. A criminal prostitution enterprise that is prevalent throughout the world, holding 25 million people as slaves and earning $32 billion per year. Here in Atlanta we’re among one of the hubs. If my nephew were to be abducted, I can accurately envision how my life would ensue afterwards:

The world around me would feel as if it were in flames. Not a day would pass where I had not spent time searching for him. I would go from hotel to hotel and constantly search Craigslist for explicit listings as if I were a potential customer myself – hoping to find something that could potentially lead to my nephew. It would be disheartening to see how most people are unaware of what is going on right under their noses. On our streets. In our society.

My time spent with family and friends would gradually diminish. My family would remind me too much of my nephew so I would avoid them altogether. My friends would irritate me, as their continual attempts of consolation would fail to physically help bring my nephew back any sooner. My friends would only slow me down from my mission of finding him.

My mornings would be spent in silence in order to effectively plan where I’d go searching during my lunch break at work. There would be no more lunch with co-workers or going to the gym after work. Every single second of my day would have a predetermined purpose. My work productivity would decline. Matter of fact, I’d eventually have disdain for my male co-workers. Statistically, the most sex trafficking customers are middle and upper class males. The average victim receives 40-50 customers a night. I would reason, or what we call to be reason in this world, that statistically anyone around me could be my nephew’s customer.

There will be glimpses of hope though: some nights I will dream of him being saved and returning to our family. Yet, to the contrary, the majority of my nightly dreams would be of men on top of him. Electrocuting and cutting him whenever he disobeyed. Forcing him to perform hard labor during the day. I would wake up in sweat and tears many nights. Other nights I’d be too afraid to shut my eyes for the fear of what would be envisioned next. Nightmares would become a kind of ritual.

6389490_orig.jpegDuring the day I’d again dream of him returning. Then I would realize that could welcome other heaps of trouble. My loving nephew who loves playing the drums, wishes The Ninja Turtles were a real, and thought the movie Inside Out was simply “ok” at best…. would never be mentally nor emotionally the same kid again. His youthful vitality and zeal will be shattered by the evils of this world. He may likely have depression, guilt, shame, HIV/AIDS, sleeping disorders, PTSD, etc.

 

If my nephew were taken my spiritual faith could go either direction. Sure I may push in closer to God, rely fully in Him and sing hymns all day. However, if I’m honest, that would be extremely difficult. Most of my time I would likely go the opposite way (I am reminded of a dear friend who wrote a blog post a few years back of her mom being literally days away from dying of cancer. She was emotionally broken but her faith and thankfulness in God was somehow strong. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, I want that strength, but I would be going completely insane if I were in her shoes.”) It would be very tough to focus on the goodness of God. At the same time, my prayer life would sky-rocket because I would understand how limited I am and the miraculous power God has in saving my nephew. 

If I were given the chance to be face to face with my nephews capturers, would I kill them? I honestly do not know. But physical harm and unforgiveness would be on my mind for sure. That is what makes Jesus dying on the cross so much more crazy. If Jesus is real – if Jesus did die on the cross – and He is real and, yes, he did die and resurrect this means that God watched as we beat His son senseless, cut him bloodied, and massacred his body continually as if He were a piece of trash. Those tears and blood were for us because we needed Jesus to die for the forgiveness of our sins. He”undeservingly” did so because He loves us; especially the children. Jesus also loves the child molesters and desperately wants them to truly follow Him as well. That is grace.

That type of love is supernatural and beyond my comprehension. I guess that is why He is God and I’m just an uncle. That said, if you do not think there are millions among millions of people being sexually abused everyday and sold then you are tremendously mistaken. What are we going to do about this monumental problem?

Hey, everything is alright though. My nephew is fine. Haha, forget about the other 25 million women, children, and men involved in human trafficking. I will sleep well tonight. So will you, right?

Again, seriously, what are we going to do about this?

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A Letter to My Future Wife of 50 Years

First things first, let’s get this awkwardness out of the way. Sure, you’re roughly around 75 years old, which means that you are approximately 50 years older than I currently am. Yes, you are from the future and I, conversely, am sitting here in the abstract year of 2013. But regardless, I’m your husband still. Also, you are the true weird one for marrying me. What we you thinking Sweetheart? Did your parents not warn you about me? Oh well, fifty years have now past so you’re well coveted in this relationship…there is no turning back now.

I am writing this soliloquy right now simply because I do not know you. However, my Father in heaven very well knows you. I am clueless as to the specifics of your personality, your current spiritual walk, your race and ethnicity, financial status, physical attributes, your love language, hobbies, or whether you Screen shot 2013-10-28 at 11.31.09 PMlike sports or not … I know nothing. Fifty years from now, I presume that our children are grown and out of the house. We’ve retired and settled into a house somewhat in close proximity to our grandchildren (because we LOVE to spoil babies). I would also reluctantly suppose that at this point our marriage has lost that youthful vibrancy that it once had. Our knees may not be the same dancing knees that they once were. We’ve probably grown accustomed to our habitual tendencies to the point where there is not much room for surprises anymore. Justin Bieber’s grandson will lead the new generation of youth with their annoying futuristic boy-band music that will give us all headaches.

With all that said, there is no place I’d rather be than with you. You are God’s gift to me and you are such the blessing that I cannot currently fathom. You are obviously, after 50 years of marriage, very acquainted with my downfalls. My weaknesses. My shortcomings. I am sorry for the times I grew angry with you. Whenever my prideful ego flared up. Each time I was passive as a leader. Please forgive for the times I embarrassed you (there will be a plethora of those coming, ha). On the other hand, I thank you for loving me and staying with me. I praise God for the spiritual gifts and talents that he blessed you with to help lead our family. For the times you submitted with trust. Know that I pray for you now. Admittedly, I should pray much more – the Lord knows I should. Luckily there are older, Godly people in my life that pray for you consistently. As God continues to mold me into a Christ-like leader and cultivator, I pray that he is molding you as the crown jewel that you are. I am not saying you are The One (aka bad Disney movies). But since God chose us to be together, apparently you are the one that God wants for me, and vice versa.

Psalm 139: 13-16 shows that God knows all the days of our lives. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Isaiah 46:8-11 will even go further and proclaim that God purposefully directs the flights of a single bird; and the everyday travels of an individual person. There is also Acts 17:24-27, 16:7,14, Genesis 50:20, Philippians 1:6, Ephesians 1:3-6, Jeremiah 1:5 and many other verses will vividly depict that we move by the hand of God. Therefore God, in his eternal state, is simultaneously aware of me in 2013 AND of you when you read this letter post-2063. He sees our first date, first kiss, last date, and last kiss all at once. Mind-blowing huh? That’s our Father!! He is in charge of our marriage and loves us too much for it to be lackluster! My goodness I hope that we pray and read scripture together. That we forgive often. That joy externally overflows from our relationship for the good of everyone around us. I pray that we do not grow lukewarm in our faith and content with our futuristic gadgets and money. I pray that we are well involved in the church, in missions, and in discipleship — yearning for a deeper relationship with Christ. May we never forget the excitement that lies within the Gospel!

I hope that you are not insecure in your beauty at an elderly age. I will have wrinkles right alongside you. If my focus was on your youthful looks, then I’d be writing this letter to the 30-year-old version of yourself instead. But I’d rather write this to you as you are. It was always about you. Your spirit and soul. The things that are timeless. Plus, at age 30, you were such a pain in the butt. I still cannot believe that I put up with you. Please, let’s not have an argument over this right now. We may have just had the first argument over the space-time continuum. Good thing I won. Seriously, I hope to love further and deeper at 75 years of age than I did at 30 years of age.

By far, the only sad thing about this post is that God does not promise us 50 years of marriage (i.e. to live that long). He does not even promise us 5 years. Our lives are a brief and fragile morning fog that can vanish at any second. Fifty years together would solely be another grace-filled gift from God. However, if we both do not make it that far in age together, we’ll still have eternity to spend in heaven. It is there, that we can begin to dance again. There will be no more lackluster “Us”. For we will dine with our gigantic family of believers in spirited joy – with the presence of Jesus Christ our Lord shining in His full and radiant glory. That is our truest hope. Halleluiah.

I love you Girly. Fifty years of marriage … the best is yet to come.

What Dancing Secretly Reveals About The Opposite Sex…

There is something about the art of partner dancing that transcends itself past the dancing itself. Past the swings, past the dips. Beyond the sweaty moments and the awkward small talks. Beyond the skillful moves. Past the variety of personalities or cultural backgrounds. For the past three years my passion has been both swing dancing and contra dancing. It seems that the longer I dance, the more God alters my eyesight in a way that I am able to see the picture that He is showing us within the art of dancing.   ImageWhen you think about the concept of dancing, it is a weird deal. Think about it; complete strangers attempting to interact on the dance floor and wiggling their bodies??? Going into an even deeper layer, you realize that each person is going through some legitimate pain, struggle, or happiness. They have come to the dance floor, seeking answers. Looking for a fun-loving, joyful time! Contra dances display this picture very well. Where else will you find a woman in her 60s dancing with a young man in his 20s? Where else can you see a Taylor Swift fanatic dance with a nerdy businessman wearing a kilt. The further beauty of it is that.they.really.are.having.fun. You can see it in the way their mouths openly smile, their entire body laughs, their head tilts, the silly ways they mess up together during moves…they are having a ball together; along with everyone else on the floor.

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What has more specifically caught my eye as of late, is the picture of a true biblical relationship that can be seen through dancing. If you read my older blog post, “Girls Are Cute And Atheism Is Strange (https://earnestbjohnson.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/girls-are-cute-and-atheism-is-weird/)”, you would know that I very staunchly believe that girls are the most adorable beings on the earth. That being said, I have learned a great deal of the opposite sex simply through dancing with them. Swing/contra dancing requires the male to lead the female throughout the dance. The responsibility lies on him to make sure that not only does she have an awesome time, but that she does not bleed in the process. With the same token, it is the females job to simply submit to that leadership and trust that the male will lead her into a good time. ImageHowever, this does not happen easily. Lord knows it does not happen easy, ha. Dancing requires 3 key elements:  (1) touch, (2) listening to the music, (3) and trust. I can dance with certain women and literally feel from her touch just how much she trusts me, and vice versa. I can also feel how susceptible she is to follow my lead. It is quite interesting. There is a certain tension/weight given that is felt when performing moves that tells me how she is feeling at the moment (good or bad). My favorite is when I can feel that extra tension, but can tell that she is trying her best to trust me and follow. Then, as the dance goes on, I can feel her tension and tightness lighten (Gosh girls are so cute) and her trust and laughter increase. On the other hand, where she gives too much tightness or sudden resistance, something is off basis there.

Why is that?

Well in Genesis 3:17-19, after the Fall, God tells Adam that everything man attempts to do will now “war” against him. So we were designed in God’s image to be builders, creators, and cultivators….. but with that “warring against”, it will not be easy. This hints that the tension that I sometimes feel when dipping a woman…that hesitation given by her….is a shadow of the “warring against”.

But how do we as men, still follow through with leading the women when dancing? How do we become the full cultivators and leaders that God created us to be in a fallen world? To answer that Biblically and through a swing dancing lens, the answer can be translated from God’s call on man in Ephesians 5. When I get married within the next 10 months to 40 years, God’s call on me will be to love my wife like Christ loved the church…..regardless of her response. As we dive into the historical beauty of how Christ initiated the loving pursuit and salvation of His bride, i.e. the Church,…. it reveals that our call to a female is to initiate initiate initiate. The scriptures are absolutely clear on this. In our society, women have begun to carry the burden of being the initiators and that’s not how God designed them. On the dance floor, things flow much smoother when the males are correctly playing their God-given role. When a girl decides to not trust me or to go her own way during a dance, it is my duty to go after her and lovingly guide her back into the flow of the dance. From my dancing experience I can admit that this is not as easy as it sounds – but it does work and can yield a warm response. The Bible does not hide this difficulty either. Proverbs 27 is going to describe moments like that as grabbing oil. Accordingly, that text is then followed by the entire comforting book of The Songs of Solomon, which describes the beauty of cherishing the woman and the fruit that come from it.

Too many Christian men have lost this concept. We must fight to get this concept back into our culture and society. Our Christian sisters are left sitting around waiting for the men to man-up and ask them to dance. All they want to do is to be led and experience the joy of the dance. They were wired for it. But until we get the guts, myself included, we are leaving our gorgeous sisters to stay in their metaphorical claim of contentment. We are such punks in this area and Satan is winning. If I pursued and led a girl like I pursue Kobe Bryant, I’d probably have that girl’s parents weeping of joy right now. This is something we must work for. The more unified that we men are in this, the exponentially easier it will be. As a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Act like men. Be strong and courageous. Stand firm in the faith.”

Lets fix our society from one that objectifies women, into a society that sees the soul of a woman and chooses to protect that soul and lead it toward happiness. Happiness can be found on the dance floor, sure. But something better, everlasting joy, is found in our Creator God. We must lead them closer to Him. The true, celestial treasure.

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