-----------------------Reflections, Research, and Resources for Good Practice
Sunday, 29 November 2020
Humanity Care: UPGs and SDGs 10
Member Care Updates
Special News--December 2020
Member Care Updates
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Special News--December 2020 Persecution Pandemics: What Is Jesus Worth? The Insanity of God--The Hope of Humanity
Image courtesy and (c) ENOD 2017
Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with total commitment and devotion]? ...Feed My sheep…Follow Me.John 21: 16,17,19Amplified Bible -----------
In this Update we focus on persecution: the persecution of Christians around the world through harassment, imprisonment, torture, and death (part one), and the persecution of humans around the world through genocide, trafficking, racism, and corruption (part two). It is a tough Update to navigate because the topics are uncomfortable, perplexing, perhaps overwhelming, egregious, often horrific and they are extremely resistant to real change and sustainable solutions.
Nonetheless, a guiding light of encouragement for us has been the growing concern and concerted actions being taken locally through globally, many described in this Update. We are also heartened and instructed by the many historical examples of Christ followers and others taking risks to sacrificially and practically love vulnerable, exploited people. Such love is a command from the Lord to cherish and obey and we believe that it is the ultimate measure of our discipleship.
In part one we feature the film, The Insanity of God (2016) which explores the persecuted Church and which is making its rounds again internationally. We also include resources for understanding and supporting the persecuted Church. Permeating the material in part one is the central theme in the film: "Is Jesus worth it?" And a corollary question, "How can we learn from and love the broken, yet often flourishing Body of Christ, His beautiful Bride?
In part two we share some of the latest reading and thinking we have been doing--and struggling with--on the broader issues facing our world (Humanity Care). We present these issues in terms of humans experiencing four types of "persecution": genocide, trafficking, racism, and corruption (while acknowledging the relentless, often overlapping additional pandemics that lay waste to people and the planet such as multi-dimensinal poverty, gender-based and domestic violence, armed conflict, nuclear proliferation, trauma, environmental degradation, inequalities, humanitarian crises, forced migration, non-communicable diseases, and mental-neurological-substance use conditons--our many global ails: globeails). Is Jesus Christ, the hope of humanity, and are people, our fellow human beings, worth it? How can we support Christians and others who are working in these dark realities?
Finally, in part three, we continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic, sharing Perspectives and Resources for Covid Care. We have compiled a variety of materials over the past eight months to support you, your family, your organization, and others in your life and to support your work in mission and member care. Warm greetings, Kelly and Michèle
--Share your comments and resources on our MCA Facebook page --Send us your ideas and resources for future MC Updates --Forward to your colleagues and networks MCAresources@gmail.com
Featured Resources Persecution Pandemics: What Is Jesus Worth? The Insanity of God--The Hope of Humanity
All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11: 13,16 -----------
Part One--Persecuted Christians Loving the Broken Body of Christ My Beloved, My Beautiful Bride
Don't pray for the persecution to stop! We shouldn't pray for a lighter load to carry, but for a stronger back to endure! Then the world will see that God is with us, empowering us to live in a way that reflects His love and power. Brother Yun, Back to Jerusalem (2003, p. 58)
1. The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith and Persecution (2016 film) “The Insanity of God is the true story of missionaries Nick and Ruth Ripken. After the death of their son, this ordinary couple journeys into the depths of the persecuted church, asking the question- IS JESUS WORTH IT? How does faith survive, let alone flourish in the places of the world that are over come with the darkness of sin, despair and hopelessness? Join the Ripkens as they tell the story of being taught by believers in persecution “how to follow Jesus, how to love Jesus, and how to walk with Him day by day even when it doesn't make sense." The film is based on the best-selling book Insanity of God (BH Publishing) and is released in association with the International Mission Board (IMB).”
Note: For a limited time you can watch the film for free HERE.
Watch the film trailerHERE. Film review by World VentureHERE.
Quotes from the film (slightly paraphrased): --There is not one free church and one suffering church. There is only one church. --I have a doctorate but what can I teach this man who has gone through so much suffering for Christ? --Our prisons are our seminaries. --Is Jesus worth the lives of your spouse...of your children? --Jesus' resurrection and the gospel is authenticated by what people suffer for Jesus' sake.
2. Going Further--More Resouces Commemorating the Witnesses to the Faith (chapter five in Doing Member Care Well, 2002, scroll to the chapter) "This homily was delivered by John Paul II during a special ecumenical gathering, 7 May 2000, to honor all those Christians killed for their faith during the 20th century. It was given at a unique memorial service at the Coliseum in Rome, the ancient site where so many early Christians...gave their lives for their faith.... "[following] the footsteps of the crucified King, becoming a numberless multitude "from every nation, race, people, and language"'...bold heralds of the gospel and silent servants of the kingdom." " Listening to Our Global Voices
(chapter 2 in Global Member Care Vol. 1: The Pearls and Perils of Good Practice, 2011) "Our colleagues from around the world have so much to share with us all. We want to carefully listen to them and to learn from one another...--the joys and sorrows, issues and insights--of working in difficult settings. Their voices, and at times their cries, collectively recount the struggles and sacrifices of mission/aid workers, along with their incredible resiliency, the organizational responsibilities for care, helpful member care programs, and discrepancies in resource allocations."
Responsible Logistics for Hostile Places (chapter 43 in Doing Member Care Well, 2002, scroll to the chapter) “Doing logistics well in potentially dangerous and antagonistic settings: that is quite a task! This chapter explores this subject via a team which went through sudden expulsion from their host country. There is much to learn as the authors discuss the salient factors which affect outcomes: good preparation, group cohesion, contingency plans, debriefing, organizational support, and concern for persecuted national believers.”
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” (Articles 1,18)
Part Two--Persecuted Humans Loving Broken Humanity Genocide, Trafficking, Racism, and Corruption
If you travel here, you will feel it all: the brightest and the darkest. If you travel here, listen to your heart and take with you what lasts forever. Traveler’s Song, Future of Forestry (music video)
1. Genocide --Global Integration Update (December 2020).This new Update features the contributions from genocide scholar Dr. Jane Gangi. As the Guest Contributor, she shares her perspectives as well core resources for understanding, preventing, and confronting the crime of genocide. Historical examples of genocide and current crises are also highlighted, noting that genocide in its many insidious forms continues to plague humanity and that confronting it entails political, social, and personal action--and risks.
--Geneva Peace Week (GPW), 2-6 November 2020. You can now access the events –presentations, panels, interactions, etc.—from this year’s GPW. The events are arranged into eight thematic areas, accessible HERE. The themes are: Harnessing the Economy for Peace, Horizon Scan for Cyber Peace, Building a Culture of Peace, What Works in Peacebuilding, A Ne Vision for peacemaking, How to Build peace, Peacebuilding in a Post-COVID-19 Era and Beyond, and Environment, Conflict, Climate, and Peace.
--The Power of Creativity: A Path to Healing for Survivors of Sexual Violence, War, and Displacement(23 November 2020), Global Geneva. “The Rosebush’ is a story cloth created by a woman whose teenage daughter was raped and murdered in front of her by men who had broken into their home at the dead of night. After escaping from Colombia to Ecuador, she joined a women’s circle facilitated by The Common Threads Project. Creating story cloths gives survivors the opportunity to heal and to bear witness to the trauma and sexual violence that are endemic in conflict situations. Catherine Butterly, psychotherapist, trainer and Adviser for the Common Threads Project, spoke to Sarah Grosso, anthropologist and gender consultant, about the healing powers of creativity and the resilience and courage of survivors of SGBV (sexual and gender-based violence) in conflict.”
2. Trafficking in Persons --Human Trafficking. Humanity Care: Unreached People Groups and the Sustainable Development Goals Number 9 (6 November 2020) CORE Member Care: Reflections, Research, and Resources for Good Practice, Member Care Associates. This weblog features the special issue from Mission Frontiers (November-December 2020, 10 articles), Human Trafficking: The Church Should Stop Supporting It. “People are trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour, forced begging, forced marriage; for selling children and as child soldiers, as well as for removal of organs. Women make up 49% and girls 23% of all victims of trafficking. Sexual exploitation is the most common form of exploitation (59% share) followed by forced labour (34% share). Most victims are trafficked within their countries’ borders – those trafficked abroad are moved to the richest countries.” World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (30 June, United Nations).
--Global Slavery Index 2018. Walk Free. "Too often, the onus of eliminating modern slavery is placed only on the countries where the crime is perpetrated. They certainly have a responsibility, but they are not alone in this regard. An atrocity as large and pervasive as modern slavery requires a united, global response. Last year, the Global Estimates of Modern Slavery, developed with the International Labour Organization and International Organization for Migration, showed that more than 40 million people globally are living in modern slavery and over a period of five years, 89 million people experienced some form of slavery – whether for a few days or several years. These numbers represent people held in debt bondage on fishing boats, against their will as domestic servants, trapped in marriages they never agreed to, and numerous other abuses. Though almost every country has declared it illegal, modern slavery still exists on a shocking and unacceptable scale in these and many other forms. And yet, action from the countries most equipped to respond is underwhelming. By declaring modern slavery as a problem that happens “over there”, high-GDP countries are ignoring their culpability for this human rights crisis." (page vii)
3. Racism --The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism (2019), Jemar Tisby. “[This book] is not a call to shame or a platform to blame white evangelical Christians. It is a call from a place of love and desire to fight for a more racially unified church that no longer compromises what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality. A call that challenges black and white Christians alike to standup now and begin implementing the concrete ways Tisby outlines, all for a more equitable and inclusive environment among God's people. Starting today.” (quote from Amazon). “History demonstrates that racism never goes away; it just adapts” (p. 19). “We must learn to discern the difference between complicit Christianity and courageous Christianity” (p.24). “History and Scripture teach us that there can be no reconciliation without repentance. There can be no repentance without confession. And there can be no confession without truth” (p. 15). Watch the book trailer here.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (2012), Katherine Boo. This is an outstanding work of narrative journalism that takes us into the daily lives of people in Mumbai’s Annawadi slum. I (Kelly) found it to be gripping, disturbing, eye-opening, and at times heart-wrenching as it explores the very personal realities of multi-dimensional poverty; individual, institutional, and systemic corruption; and the despair as well as the tenacity of those who survive the undercity, and those who do not. Over one billion humans live in slums or informal setttlements (UN, SDG 11, sustainaable cities and communities).
--Faith and Public Integrity Network. “The Faith and Public Integrity Network exists to help Christians deal with the root causes and long-term effects of corruption. We recognise that most efforts to control corruption have failed, and that churches and individual Christians are often complicit in corruption. However, based on the research findings of leading scholars and the experience of our members, we think there is potential for the global Christian community to make a difference.”
The 19th International Anti-Corruption Conference (30 November--5 December). The theme is Designing 2030: Truth, Trust, and Transparency. Virtual, free. Archives hopefully availble too. "A global community of anti-corruption experts have contributed to the programme…[and] more than 500 speakers…Together, we will assess the future we want to see in 2030, examine the challenges of combating corruption in the current political climate, and connect with filmmakers, activists and journalists who lead innovative and effective advocacy and action against corruption.”
Part Three--Covid Care Perspectives and Resources Don't fear. Trust God. Do good.
Image courtesy and (c) ENOD 2017
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38,39 NIV
1. Perspectives Pandemics, like many crises, bring out the best and the worst in us--our selfless and our selfish qualities. The reality of the uncertainties and anxieties of life, and indeed survival--existential risk--is heavy upon the world. Positively, the current COVID-19 pandemic certainly provides plenty of opportunities for us all individually through internationally--to reflect on the types of people we want to be, the types of societies we need to build, and the types of changes we have to make.
We join together in solidarity with the world community's efforts, locally through globally, on behalf of covid-care and in hopes to stir up the heroic in all of us. We also note that the many overlapping, problems in our world continue unabated--shadow pandemics--even as this covid pandemic dominates the center stage globally: multi-dimensional poverty, protracted violence, human rights violations, gross inequalities, racism, mental ill health, environmental degradation, etc. This is the ongoing, cascading context--full of challenges and opportunities--in which member care resources need to be provided and developed for workers and their sending groups around the world. And from our faith-based perspective, as co-workers with God engaged in the many areas of “humanity care,” we live and work for God’s glory.
Our recent Updates below are compiled for helping ourselves and others withcovid care. Examples of issues/resources: anxiety, trauma, depression, confinement, loneliness, loss, grief, relationship strains, coping for children, work insecurities, spiritual struggles, uncertainty/concerns about what is going on, etc. Have a look!
Member Care Associates Inc. (MCA) is a Christian non-profit organization working internationally and across sectors. We focus on personnel development for mission, humanitarian, development, and health workers and their organizations; global mental health; ethics and good practice; and integrity/anti-corruption. Our services include consultation, training, research, developing resources, and publications.
Our Special News-Updates1) promote the wellbeing and effectiveness (WE) of staff and sending groups and 2) support the diversity of colleagues with member care responsibilities. The focus is on the mission sector with applications for/from the overlapping health, development, and humanitarian sectors.
Global Integration(GI) is a framework for responsibly and actively engaging in our world--collaborating locally through globally for God's glory. It encourages connecting relationally and contributing relevantly on behalf of human wellbeing and the issues facing humanity, in light of our integrity and core values (e.g., ethical, humanitarian, human rights, faith-based). See more perspectives about GI HERE.
Disclaimer: The material and information in these Updates are shared as a service to the community and should not be seen as an endorsement by MCA or as a substitute for professional medical and/or mental health advice.