Thursday, March 16, 2006

"Invisible Children" Update

We had a great night last night. We didn't get a hard count but we believe 780-800 were in our building for the showing of the "Rough Cut" video. Our people have already been captivated by this effort on behalf of the children of Uganda (see as Josh and I did a short introduction last year. Last night we had several area churches -- some from our fellowship and some not -- send representatives to see what this was all about. They reacted very positively to both the Invisible Children video and to our congregation; several commenting at how wonderful it was to see a church so deeply involved in missions all over the world and locally (whichis true: this weekend a large group is going back into one of Detroit's most blighted neighborhoods to feed people and clean up trash).

I cannot really guess the number of our small groups that have invited their friends and neighbors into their homes and then screened the IC video but it is a significant number.

The merchandise table was swarmed for an hour after the presentation ended. Another table was set up by our ladies to raise money for Invisible Children by selling cookies and muffins for donations. The ladies were stunned that people kept coming by and giving them five and ten dollars for a cookie, waving away any change.

We have several dozen of our people already signed up for the walk on April 29th. We expect to have a hundred of our members sleep overnight, outside, in Lansing. And remember -- it is not uncommon to have snow in late April in Michigan!

Side note -- and one that may prove more controversial than I want it to: Six or seven people came up shaken by the experience and asked me why America doesn't just send in Delta or Marines to "take out" Joseph Kony, the psychopath who abducts and kills so many children in Northern Uganda. While I am known for supporting the military and the use of violence to protect the innocent, I am not sure it would work in this area. But more puzzling and troubling to me is this: we don't intervene in Africa. When the Rwandans were being slaughtered, we stayed away. We haven't done anything for the people of Zimbabwe who are being intentionally starved by Mugabe. We haven't stepped in to protect the Christians who are being slaughtered by the Muslims in Sudan. We went in briefly to Somalia but the President who sent us in made it a humanitarian mission that, predictably, failed so the next President made us run away.

Is it because they aren't the right color and that they have no resources we need? I pray to God that that is not the case, but the idea keeps me awake at night. I told the questioners that in the Psalms we see the people praying for the death and destruction of their enemies and that in 2 Peter we are told that some people become brute beasts, born only to be destroyed. If that is true, I told them, it is all right to pray that Joseph Kony die. (Yes, I would love it if he could be reached by the gospel but I fear it is far too late for him. Forgive me for my lack of faith)

Agree with me or not, please do something for the children. God bless you.


At 3/16/2006 08:17:00 PM , Blogger LEM'S Politics said...

I believe if we stand up for the children and the poor we might be forgiven for other shortcomings if we do not I doubt that we can.

At 3/17/2006 09:51:00 AM , Blogger Kevin J. Bowman said...

KUDOS!!!! You have said what needs to be said!!!! It is sad that the "religious right" is more concerned about issues of personal moral decision rather than issues of global moral imperative.

It is and has always been the job of the prophets to PROCLAIM TRUTH from the pulpits. I believe that your words ring valid in that great tradition.

As always... Thank you!

At 3/17/2006 10:00:00 AM , Blogger Chalmers said...

Patrick, I too have sleepless nights thinking about these young people, hiding, teaching themselves and being forgotten by most of the world. My wife and I support invisiblechildren financially, and I am proud to say that my kid sister-in-law coordinated an event at her college for the invisiblechildren folks to come and inform more people of the opportunity to serve. What is most daunting is the personal action. While I know that I cannot "earn" salvation, I fear I am still not doing enough.

Peace be with you as you serve,

At 3/17/2006 10:13:00 AM , Blogger David U said...

Sounds like you had a GREAT event, and that the Spirit was there with you! DUH! Didn't we get that promise? :)

Thanks for the efforts of your fellowship, and the example it is to all of us.

I don't even want to go there in the discussion of why the USA has NOT gotten more involved in Africa.
It's too hurtful. May God forgive us.


At 3/17/2006 02:43:00 PM , Blogger Bill said...

Did you hear about the guy on ABC’s “American Inventor” who wanted to invent the eleven-foot pole?

When asked why he said something like: “To reach all those things people wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.”

You must have picked up a prototype.

I don’t have answers to the questions you raise in this post, but I applaud you for asking them. Perhaps, your willingness to broach these topics will be, in no small way, the beginning of the answer. I hope so.

The heart of the issue, in my estimation, is just that: This is an issue of the heart. Like, when Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We need to look closely at “where our hearts are” when we discuss things like this. Do we not protect that which we treasure? Are we not willing to give our lives for that which we value most?

Perhaps we are in need of a change of heart?

At 3/18/2006 10:25:00 AM , Blogger Niki said...

My feelings of helplessness to fix the whole problem do not keep me from doing something to help, but no matter what I do, I always feel it's not enough. Perhaps I need to be praying like Jesus prayed when he needed to feed the 5,000. Lord, take this humble offering and multiply it to meet the needs of all who need.

I'm one of those "Christians" that is constantly told I'm not doing enough, I'm concentrating my efforts on the "wrong" things, and I'm a hippocrate. People need to be careful with the finger pointing for those of us who are trying to do what God called us to do but happen to wear the same name as those who don't.

Thank you for keeping all things invisibe before us Patrick!

At 3/18/2006 10:29:00 AM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

Niki, you have it exactly right. I refuse to join those on the far right or far left who constantly attack their own, blaming them for all the ills in the world. My experience with Christians is that they all want to do good and most of them are doing something. Their works are "invisible" to others, so others judge them. How sad. Thank you for doing what you can. Remember -- Jesus' greatest compliment was "she has done what she could."

At 3/18/2006 12:05:00 PM , Blogger Josh.Graves said...


Thanks for leading the church in a healthy shift from "navel gazing" to "missional."

It is a true joy to work with you, Chris, Jason, John, et al.

I can't wait to see what the next five years has in store for Rochester.

At 3/18/2006 09:53:00 PM , Anonymous Trey bliss said...

My name is trey bliss. I read your blog b/c i found it through my dad, Bob Bliss. I just got back from Plackman's Parish Lousiana. What you said about the affects of Katrina not being able to be held in a picture is so true. The destuction is amazing and unbelievable. I also really enjoy your blog and appreciate your view points. I feel like its a little bit of fresh air from the normal church of christ view point. Thanks a lot.

At 3/20/2006 08:40:00 PM , Anonymous renee cutts said...

Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new messiah,
Offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
'Twist that darkness and that light.

Then to side with truth is noble,
When we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit,
And 'tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses,
While the coward stands aside,
Till the multitude make virtue
Of the faith they had denied.

By the light of burning martyrs,
Christ, thy bleeding feet we track,
Toiling up new Calvaries ever
With the Cross that turns not back.
New occasions teach new duties:
Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still and onward
Who would keep abreast of truth.

Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet 'tis truth alone is strong;
Through her portion be the scaffold
And upon the throne be wrong,
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow,
Keeping watch above his own.

by James Russel Lowell

This poem was taken from the book "Brotherhood of Darkness" by Dr. Stanley Monteith, a review of history and how it has been shaped by secret and elite societies that are the forces behind the men who rule the world.

It's about time we question the sense of it and we are right as Christians to take a stand by trying to do good against the tide of harm. The powers behind the political machines, and the media that is their voice, would have us believe all is hopeless. Let us pray that God may indeed forgive us but let's not forget He tells us if we learn of these things and do nothing, we may find ourselves in the very dispair of those we should have helped.

We need to take hold of the fact that the church has a far greater power backing it than any nation. As Christians, despite our government's action or inaction, Christians are called out separate from those powers to be good stewards of what we have been gifted by God in spirit and in talents of wisdom, abilities and wealth. The Invisible Children's mission seems to be exactly such a use of those blessings at such a time as this.


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