Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Camping In The Sky

This one's for all you climbers out there. 

I think portaledges are pretty much the coolest thing to happen to camping. I've seen a lot of beautiful photos lately of them dangling precariously half-way up a big wall climb, some grand valley or riverscape in the background...but yesterday my friend, Baylor, introduced me to the concept of the "treehouse" portaledge, and I'm in love. One day, I will have a backyard...and a tree....and someone to sit in my portaledge treehouse and talk about the day with. 

For now, I'll be in Jesus Haus Rm 101 trying not to freeze. Enjoy these happy summer thoughts on this epicly cold winter's day! 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Erased, Deleted, Lost.

Click image to see full-size.
This is a photo series I've been working on that I put out for critique at our open art exhibition on Wednesday night. Here's the story:

Ciudad Jaurez, Mexico is a city very close to my heart, and physically close to my home in Texas. I grew up spending my summers there building homes and churches with Casas por Cristo. The presence of the drug cartels was evident in a very real way. One summer there was even a group of gang members, guns out, in a low-flying helicopter threatening us from the sky to move on---we were trying to build a home on cartel land (which is essentially all the land).

According to the UN, over 1,200 children and teens have been killed by the drug cartels of Juarez since 2008. There’s an especially high rate of female homicide within the city. Several mass graves have been discovered in recent years, the bodies showing evidence of brutal rape and mutilation. Thousands more are still missing.

These photos of children in Mexico from the early 1990s were taken from the US Library of Congress archives (they are not copyrighted). I chose the words erased, deleted, and lost because, like David Badstone said at the Not For Sale Conference, “We are all writing our own story, and when trafficking happens, it’s like the pen has been taken from your hand.” In the same way, when a life is lost to this kind of violence, not only does the pen get taken from them, it's like their story gets erased. There’s no opportunity to take the pen back, to regain the childhood they lost. The story that could have been---should have been---is lost indefinitely. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today was great! I had the privilege of sharing a very untraditional Thanksgiving meal with seven of my  friends here in Herrnhut. Being so far from home during the holidays is hard for a lot of us, but it's so beautiful to be able to look around and see family everywhere. I have dozens of brothers and sisters here.  Not just in the cheesy "brothers and sisters in Christ" kind of way, but in a real deep loving kind of way. I'm continually amazed by the way this community looks out for one another and lifts each other up. Sometimes that looks like sending each other out into the nations, and sometimes it means dressing up like pilgrims and indians and eating an insane amount of food together. I think it's clear what I'm thankful for today. Hope your day was full of people to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Trees Are Naked

The changing seasons of Herrnhut along my walk to work.
The trees are naked now.
The first snow has fallen.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

All The Poor & Powerless

This might be my favorite song right now. Download "All The Poor & Powerless" by Sons&Daughters here for FREE. In the meantime, watch it below!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Brought To Light

So there's plenty of bad news: there are a lot of people living in slavery all over the world today (at least 27 million people). They're laboring on coffee farms in Hawaii, filling the brothels of New York City, and some aren't even "lucky" enough to make it to their trafficking destination. It's a harsh, overwhelming reality.

There's also a lot of good news---no, great news. Firstly, we serve a God of Mercy and Justice. A God who cares deeply for the broken-hearted and the oppressed.  A God who can heal and restore not only the lives of the victim, but also the abuser. How beautiful is that? You guys, so many people are already fighting these crimes against humanity. We're not alone! I read two articles today about justice being brought to trafficking situations this week in America (article 1, article 2). Incredible!

2 Corinthians 2:11 encourages us to not be ignorant of Satan's schemes, so let's be ignorant no longer! Not For Sale Campaign has come up with an awesome website, slaverymap.org, which allows people all over the world to document cases of Human Trafficking---bringing to light what was once hidden in darkness (John 3:20). Go there, find out about the injustices happening in your area, and speak out. The Bible calls us to be more than sympathetic, it calls us to advocate on behalf of "the least of these." The first step is to open our eyes.

Here's a video inspired by slaverymap.org that was made by a fellow Pick-A-Pocketer!