Archive for February, 2006

The Lost Children of Uganda

February 25, 2006

(additional information can be found in this BBC article from 2004, or by searching LRA, Night Commuter, or Uganda Crisis on Google)

Imagine a war that is fought by children, some as young as 7, against children their own age. Imagine being abducted and then forced under threat of death to kill or maim your own siblings. It sounds barbaric and obscene, yet it happens today. Organizations like World Vision, Save the Children, and others are engaged in center of a political and cultural war that is claiming the lives of thousands of children in Northern Uganda.

Take the time to look at the articles above. They are eye opening – or google the LRA or Ugandan Children

What do we do? The greatest travesty would be to sit idley by and do nothing. Spread the word. Talk about it at school and at church. Lets ask our politicians why something as inhumane as this can be allowed in our world today. Children by the thousands are walking up to 8 miles per night just to sleep in safe compounds to avoid abduction by the LRA, then walking home in the mornings to try to go to school.

Some excerpts from the Christianity Today article:
Even while LRA terrorism directed against children has intensified, the U.S. government has not made the conflict a high priority. Many believe that without U.S. involvement, the abductions, killing, and maiming will continue.

In August 2004, the U.S. government enacted the Northern Uganda Crisis Response Act, which essentially calls LRA terrorism a great tragedy, offers limited support for a negotiated solution, and warns Sudan not to support the LRA. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., said, "I will remain committed to stopping the horror that has stolen the innocence of so many Ugandan children." The Bush administration has placed the LRA on tier two of its Terrorist Exclusion List, which means the LRA is judged not to be a threat to U.S. interests.

The people most familiar with LRA terrorism agree that the best hope for ending the carnage is putting it on the radar screen of the Western world. Akello Lwanga, a physician, spent two years treating LRA victims at an internally displaced persons camp in Pader. "If Americans saw this on TV as often as they see the Middle East," he said, "it would stop."

"There are a lot of sympathetic [members of Congress], but no significant leadership to move the issue to the point where there are congressional hearings, and hearings are one of the first important steps to focus administration and congressional attention on the severity of the issue," said Rory Anderson, senior Africa policy adviser for World Vision. "Hearings will not happen unless people contact their members of Congress and demand it."

Please… sign in with your thoughts.


Be your Kid’s Search Engine

February 25, 2006

I had the pleasure of sitting down with a man the other day who likely has a greater personal understanding of evangelism than most people unfortunately will ever strive to obtain. He is the director of a national ministry that introduces the general public to their need for Jesus Christ, and has led thousands to a relationship with their Savior. One of the most poignant memories of the discussion, however, is a comment that he made with regards not to that relationship, but to his relationship as a father with his own son.

He told me about a scenario wherein he had been, as a good parent should, monitoring his son's activities on the internet. He came to find some history that suggested that his son (under 12 for the sake of discussion) had googled a term that led to him viewing some unacceptable explicit content. He knew he needed to discuss the situation with his son. Here is how it unfolded.

He sat down with his son, and started a discussion. He asked about what they were doing at school, and what they had been talking about at lunch. He took the time to ask the questions, and (important note here) they had enough of a history of regular conversation that his son was not put on an immediate defensive because of dad's "sudden interest".

After a little well-directed discussion, his son said that he and his friends had in fact gotten onto some "stupid" discussions, one of which had led the son to search for a term that he didn't understand by googling it. To understand it in context, he clicked the resulting links, and found himself in a place that he knew he didn't need to be. Just like that – a confession without an accusation! His response to his son, instead of "why did you do that" or "I thought I taught you better" was, quite wisely, "In the future, why don't you let me be your search engine first". Way to go dad.

A couple key notes for this story:
1. This would not have worked had he been a disengaged father. I think that too often we fail to take the time to have relationship with our children, and then we punish them for doing things that we should really be blaming on our own parental shortcomings.

2. We need to be keeping track of our children, not only to hold them accountable for what they are doing, but also to be there to safeguard them when things like this do happen, and to be ready to take these opportunities and turn them into positive learning experiences as we see here. This young man didn't get "punished" because he already knew that the space in cyberspace was the wrong place for him to be, and of his own volition, hadn't returned there since. He did, however, solidify that his dad was a rational person who he could trust to understand, and will be more likely to come to him as a result.

3. This dad took the time to calmly think the situation through. Simply reacting to the initial data he saw on his reports would have likely built a wall between he and his son that would have taken years to break. Instead, the situation drew them closer, and increased the son's faith and confidence in his father's interest in his well being.

4. The software that made this situation possible is called PCTattleTale, and is available online for $49.95. that's cheap for what it can do.

To the man who shared this story with me…Thank you for the fine lesson on parenting. You know who you are.

Time to talk

February 24, 2006

Stay tuned for some great insight I got from a parent about dealing with his children. I'm working on this one, and it will be coming soon!

Its a Whole New World

February 23, 2006

Returning to our offices today in Boise, we find ourselves remarkably in a different world than that which we left a week ago. Through the power of education, networking, and observation, our lives are somehow "different".

The church today should have the same effect on those around us. We should be caught acting like the people Christ wanted us to be. Poeple should observe us living a life based on biblical principles. We should be engaging society, not boycotting and shunning it, looking reactionary.

Lets have the discussions and answer the questions that the world is screaming about. Do you find it ironic that the top shows on TV today are shows with names like LOST and DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES??? Could it be that society is trying to tell us where they see themselves by what they can identify with?

OK, so maybe its just my little revelation, and those thoughts are not as deep to anyone else as they are to me. Thats fine. As the title says, these are my thoughts, and my world. I can live with that!

Church Done Right – Fellowship Church

February 22, 2006

Wow. My first impression walking into Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX. Amazing. This place did it right. You walk into the bookstore alone and can get a hearty respect for the fact that these guys did their homework. Well done FC. You made church look GOOOD.

Nrb final evening

February 21, 2006

NRB_Banquet Mission Media

This years NRB Banquet was a great evening. Here, Roger Zanders & Michael Boerner of Boise, Idaho's Mission Media join Natalie Nichols of Shades of Grace Ministries of Nacogdoches, Texas at the 2006 NRB Banquet.

The evening featured music by the CCM group Selah, as well as presentations of the Word by renowned author Kay Arthur and Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer, Henry Blackabee. In addition, the crowd was addressed in a video greeting by President George W. Bush

The NRB, the USG’s, and other interesting insights

February 21, 2006

I sit today at lunch at the National Religious Broadcasters association national conference in Dallas, TX, and I am reflecting on the amazing cultural and generational contrast of the people at this event. One of my colleagues here today coined a new acronym for me… the USG's or "untucked shirt guys". You see, the NRB is predominantly a collection of the "old guard"; blue pinstripe suits, white shirts and ties. Polished edges. I even brought 3 suits for the week. But this year, NRB started something new…

REACH conference – home of the USG's
The Reach conference was intended to be a progressive, innovative Christian media conferece. The speakers, the music, the sets – its all different. It is at the front end of the NRB, and brings in a TOTALLY different demographic. The suits are replaced with frayed jeans. Ties don't exist. Its actually "relevant" to culture today. wow, what a concept – a relevant church in the eyes of the young!

Kudos to Phil Cooke and the progressive group of thinkers that pushed for the concept of Reach. The NRB is still the NRB, and it needs to stay that way. It would have been a stretch and probably a tragic flop to try to make the NRB "hip". They are a cornerstone of the religious broadcasting industry, and have all the integrity, class, and knowledge that you could ask for.(I have the utmost respect for the years of ministry, history, and service that members of the NRB have contributed to Christianity today, so please don't find me irreverant) Yet they have seen in their wisdom that it was also time that they open the door to the "new guard". A new seat has been brought to the table, and the USG's have arrived. They have some good input that the church will do well to respond to.