Archives For Social Justice

Almost Isn’t Good Enough shares Wayne Elseyʼs story from a teenage boy on the verge of committing suicide to the founder of one of the fastest growing charities in the world. Along the way, Almost Isnʼt Good Enough takes a look into what has made Soles4Souls grow to where it is today.

Almost Isnʼt Good Enough will speak purpose into your life, much like the purpose Wayne discovered when he founded Soles4Souls. 100% of the proceeds will go directly towards furthering Soles4Souls mission.  For every book sold, 10 pairs of shoes will be given to people in need!

Wayneʼs hope is that this book will provide 200,000 shoes to kids around the world in 2011! Soles4Souls is asking you to join in using the book to change the world.

Buy Two, Give One, Tell Five

  • When you BUY TWO, 20 pairs of shoes will be distributed to people in need wherever you designate.
  • When you GIVE ONE, a message of hope and purpose will be given to someone you care about.
  • When you TELL FIVE, you will help Soles4Souls hit our goal of giving away 200,000 pairs of shoes to people in need all over the world.

TELL FIVE by sharing this post on your Facebook or Twitter. Use the hashtag #200kShoes. Sign up and share email updates from the book. When you do, youʼll be providing shoes to an entire village.

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 6 of Almost Isn’t Good Enough:

I chose to leave my corporate career and make Soles4Souls my life’s work. Just because I made that decision doesn’t mean that is the only option you have available. Maybe you’re in your twenties, thirties, fifties, or whatever age and wondering what you can do. You might be discouraged that you can’t leave your job and start a nonprofit organization to solve a looming social problem. Maybe your feet are backed into a corner with your career and family obligations and think there is no way you can get a do-over in life.

If you’re in your twenties, let me encourage you to learn as much as you can about yourself. Surround yourself with people who are better than you at just about anything. Listen, watch, observe, and practice. Change jobs more frequently if you need. Not everyone wakes up one day and recognizes what he or she will do with the rest of their life. With the pace at which technology is changing the world, chances are whatever you are doing today won’t exist by the end of your career. Even better are the chances of you stumbling into a career that didn’t exist when you graduated from college. Use this time to discover who you are, your unique talents,and how you can leverage those skills to help others and yourself.

If you’re in your thirties, keep a balance between work and family. Don’t be consumed with building your career that you leave your family behind. Your family will be there when your job fails you and when the company you have been so loyal to decides they no longer need your services. There is no amount of money that will buy you security you can find in the loving arms of the ones you love and who love you.

If you’re in your fifties or older, it’s not too late. You may be entering a transitional period in your life that is very similar to those who are in their twenties. Perhaps you are on the brink of retirement. Your identity is wrapped up in your work, your airline rewards account, and your membership to the corporate gym. Retirement does not mark the end of your life but an opportunity to invest in other areas.

To purchase your copy of the book click HERE.

Here’s a sneak peek into Almost Isn’t Good Enough:

My blog, my Twitter profile… my life: What I LOVE is when technology, innovation and social justice come together – it’s a beautiful thing. Innovative leaders use and leverage technology for good. That’s what my friend, Shawn Wood, is doing with 5 Days in May. Maybe you’ve seen or heard some of the buzz on Twitter and/or Facebook. Let’s make a difference!
 

Here are some facts to consider:

  • 1 in 6 people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water.
  • The Church could eradicate this problem, Why don’t we?
  • What if we all just gave up non-water beverages for 5 days, May 1-5 and donated the savings to www.5daysinmay.com
  • All money will go directly to (100%) www.watermissions.org
  • Follow on twitter @5daysinmay
  • Join the conversation on Facebook (http://ow.ly/3vyD)

Last Friday, with some friends in Oklahoma City, I saw The Soloist (with Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx). Going into the movie, I knew I would love it because I’m a musician and it seemed the movie was about a man’s love of music (which is a big part of it). 

What I left blown away by was the spotlight it shined on the areas/issues of homelessness and mental illness. These are true realities that we all come across and many are working to minister to people in these situations. I loved the brilliance of the movie. It was beautiful and brilliant in its messiness. 

They showed places in LA that I have actually been to and walked – rough, scary, real places. They involved the homeless in the movie and told their story. I thank God that someone is now putting the rawness of poverty on the big screen (like I raved about Slumdog Millionaire) and am now thankful for The Soloist. 

I encourage you to go see the movie and get a healthy dose of reality. Homelessness is real. Mental illness is real. How music can encourage, bring hope, bond and transcend is a gift from God and a beautiful part of this true story. Have you seen it? What did you think?

I recently came across another powerful movie that I’m going to go see here in Dallas. You can watch the trailer HERE. The movie is called “Trade”. I encourage you to go and see it with some friends, classmates, co-workers, people in your small group, etc.. Let it be a catalyst for discussion. I’m trying to do that here in DFW. If you’re near here and want to go with me, just give me a shout.

Here is something from the movie’s website:

The practice of slavery in the US is something most people think ended with the 13th Amendment in 1865, but in recent years it has returned in an even more virulent form. Fueled by the collapse of the Soviet Union and other eastern European countries, new technologies like the internet, and sieve-like borders, the traffic in human beings has become an epidemic of colossal dimensions. The State Department estimates that as many as 800,000 people are trafficked over international frontiers each year, largely for sexual exploitation. Eighty percent are female and over fifty percent are minors. Many people in this country push this atrocity out of their minds, believing that it only occurs in faraway countries like Thailand, Cambodia, the Ukraine and Bosnia. The truth is that the United States has become a large-scale importer of sex slaves. Free the Slaves, America’s largest anti-slavery organization estimates that at least 10,000 people a year are smuggled or duped into this country by sex traffickers.

EXTRA:

One organization that I forgot to mention the other day is World Vision. My wife and I have been supporters of World Vision for 14 years. I encourage you to look into their ministry as well.

This isn’t about me – it’s about them (the 27 millions slaves around the world). God has been stirring in my heart since August and I’ve simply had enough. I’m stirred, moved, angered, disturbed, determined and trying my best to be obedient to my Maker’s call: I am an abolitionist.

This isn’t just a fad or phase – for me, I can’t return to the way I used to be. My eyes have been opened and I vow to spend the rest of my life fighting, praying, serving, rescuing, enlightening, spreading awareness, raising support – whatever small part I can do to be a part of this God-movement.

According to Wikipedia: “Because slavery still exists, with an estimated 27 million people enslaved worldwide, a new international abolitionist movement has recently emerged.” I and many others are a part of that movement.

The beautiful thing is that this movement is something that people of all faiths can agree on and join together in. I’m reaching out to my atheist, Morman, Muslim, Jewish and Universalist friends to join me in this movement. Do we each have our own beliefs, doctrines and convictions? Sure. I do not waver in my faith in Christ.

BUT I feel that we can join together in causes around the world: the poor and homelessness, the environment, AIDS, clean water, slavery and human trafficking, etc. These are issues that we all should be concerned with and join together regardless of our differing faith or religious views/backgrounds.

*** 12 things that I’m a part of and committed to work with:

What about you? What has God laid on your heart? Do the things that break His heart break yours? What is He up to in your life these days?
 
PERSONAL:
Today, my beautiful, precious daughter Grace turns 8. Grace is a gift from God and a true blessing in my life.

Are you orange? ORANGE IS THE COLOR OF FREEDOM. Wearing orange shows you’re a part of the movement to stop slavery. 

Also, I had a great phone conversation with Charles Lee from JustOne this week. They are working on some wonderful initiatives to raise awareness and support for some causes that the Church should take seriously. We’re meeting where they headquarter for the Church 2.0 Local Forum in Portland on Nov. 7th. I look forward to hearing more about their ministry as they share at this gathering.

Here are some facts that were printed in my church’s bulletin this past Sunday: The modern practice of human trafficking enslaves 27 million people around the world. This is more than at any other time in history. UNICEF says that most children who are trafficked are “sold” by unsuspecting parents who honestly believe that the children they have just “sold” (most for under $5) will be educated, learn a trade, and be carefully looked after by their new “caretaker” (human trafficker).

Little do the impoverished parents know that their child is likely to be sold several times, moved to other countries, and will become virtually untraceable. The United Nations office on drugs and crime has estimated that the total market value of illicit human trafficking is more than $30 billion dollars per year – a third of this profit coming directly from the sale of individuals.

This is not simply a problem on a foreign shore: there are more slaves in the United States today than ever, including the era of American slavery and the Civil War. The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) reported that every ten minutes, a woman or child is trafficked into the United States and forced into labor. The CIA recently reported that as many as 50,000 women and children are brought into this country every year under false pretenses and then forced unwillingly into roles as abused laborers, servants, and prostitutes.

*** I blog about this because this is a huge part of Church 2.0. Church leaders in the 21st Century have to be aware of and battle against social justice issues. What can you do?

  • Donate: I listed some great organizations in my last blog on slavery
  • Get Educated: Check out the links HERE
  • Pray: for the victims of human trafficking
  • Write: Send a letter to your local and state officials asking them to approve stiffer laws against human trafficking.
(Most of the info about trafficking came from the October issue of Relevant magazine, pages 55-56)
 
*** Not For Sale reports that “last week, 150 Abolitionists from across the country gathered in Washington, DC to advocate on behalf of the 27 million people in slavery around the world… To close out this fantastic event, Abolitionists held a candlelight vigil before attending a premier screening of Call + Response, the new independent film that features the work of Not For Sale and its president David Batstone alongside critically acclaimed artists and prominent cultural figures.”
I saw Call + Response earlier this week. WOW>such a good film. Very well done. Amazing music. Very informative. Very moving. A must-see!

 

Do you think that slavery ended with Lincoln? Today I want to share what has been breaking my heart lately. These Church 2.0 Local Forums I’ve hosted around the country have been used by God to stir my heart. God really used the Atlanta one to open my eyes to the problem of child sex trafficking right here in the good ‘ol USA. Since that time I’ve done some research and soul-searching.

Did you know that there are more slaves today than ever before in human history? Alltop now has a slavery version. You can find great information and links HERE. In my blog about the Art+Music+Justice Tour, I mentioned one of their sponsors: The International Justice Mission – a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. I highly encourage you to get to know IJM and support them. 

A few things you can do to learn more about this real problem:

I know that slavery exists in Atlanta, Phoenix and Dallas (you may know of other cities). This is not a 3rd world country. This is happening right here in the states. Wake up Church!