Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Operation Broken Silence: a benefit show

"Human Trafficking" or "Sex Trafficking"... phrases we hear and think of war-torn places, countries where women are openly mistreated, etc. When I sat down with an OBS (Operation Broken Silence) staff member this week, I told her I'd heard these terms plenty of times throughout college, especially with the trafficking of child soldiers, made to fight ugly wars and develop lifelong wounds, on the inside and out.

And though I can't say images of my own city, Memphis, Tenn., come to mind when I think of trafficking, this reality is here with us.

When a teenager runs away from a bad situation at home and is given an offer to make money giving his or her body away, this is trafficking. Though only one example of many, when a person is a "good" to be sold, earning profit for someone else, we speak of trafficking. 

This Friday, June 29, at 8pm, Jeff and I will be joined by our friend Brian von Shulz of Hattiesburg, Miss., to show up and play tunes to raise awareness and funds for Operation Broken Silence and Tennessee's first shelter for trafficking victims, right here in Memphis!

The most immediate need is for an emergency shelter, a place where a trafficked person can be brought to escape imminent danger, receive care and have access to other resources.

The long-term plan is for a residential shelter, for recovery, education, protection and nurturing, and a host of other things to bring wholeness back to those living there.

Check out the OBS Blog to see the latest and COME TO THE SHOW! They'll be there with more information, and you'll get to hear some good music, too!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

June 29: Porch Concert and Benefit Show!

Stay tuned here at the blog for details AND more shows in the near future!

(Check out Brian's website and learn more about Operation Broken Silence)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Public Library: Top 10 Reasons To Go

If you live in Memphis, and you've yet to visit the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (the big one on Poplar Avenue), then you're missing out!

Since I can only live in one city at a time (though, trust me, if I could live in multiple cities at once, I would), I'm only speaking directly to the Memphis Library. But know that this post is for you, wherever you are, whatever the size of your library.

Just today, I returned 3 books, renewed 1, and kept 3 more, one of which I'm going nuts over (The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan)! I spent an hour inside using the Internet, on my own laptop, doing some work for an upcoming worship-leading commitment.

I love the library; I use the library. Here's why you should to:

  1. You pay for it. Don't ask me for the city's budget to see just how much, but trust me, your tax dollars in some way, shape or form are paying for the library.
  2. The books are free. Did you realize this? Have you been missing out on free books all this time?
  3. You can try out a book/author without dropping $20 on a book. That's right, you can stop buying books that you're never going to read.
  4. Free WiFi. Yep. Save your money and hit up the library instead of the coffee shop!
  5. It's got great bathrooms. Hey, how many times are you working at Starbucks (for the free WiFi, of course) and there's ONE BATHROOM? Not at Benjamin L. Hooks, no sir. 
  6. Lots of tables and chairs. You can go to any floor of the library and find small tables, big tables, individual desks. 
  7. The view. From the aforementioned tables and chairs, you can park it in front of the wall of windows.
  8. Outlets aplenty. There are tables with little "doors" you open, filled with outlets! Perfect for that laptop with 5% battery life. No more fighting for the outlet seat at Starbucks.
  9. People. It's a great way to see and meet the diverse population of Memphis.
  10. Used Bookstore. When you do get ready to buy books, check out the used bookstore on the 1st floor. I've purchased some of my favorite books from here, for $1.50-$3.00. A STEAL!
If I've not convinced you yet, go anyway! Prove me wrong.

There are [much smaller] library branches all over the city. They don't all have walls of windows, but they do have free books and Internet. You can even use the online catalog to look up books ahead of time to see if they have it before you go!

Libraries rock.

Monday, June 4, 2012

poetry: on the man and his boy

On the Man and His Boy

Who taught you not to look at me?
As you walk over cracks
careful not to break your back
while I uneasily take notice
from the front porch.

Who told you I was
to be feared or so respected?
Who planted those seeds,
roots grown deep?

Who, I wonder,
and did they make you to fear
or make you to hate
never go too near.
Who, I wonder.

Threatening, privileged,
intimidating, [invisible],
strange, different.
I probably stare too much.
But who told you I was?

Who taught you not to look at me?
I won't take what you have.
I might need you 
one day;
today, just to look.

Who told you I was?

The boy, through you,
is learning me, too.

work: what it is (unanswered questions)

Several weeks ago, I posted this entry about work, which has been at the forefront of conversation in our community for many months now. Check it out before reading this.


We've strayed very far, in so many ways.

Neighbor, to be mistrusted. Employee, to be exploited. Spouse, children, to be tolerated. Time, to be spent, used efficiently, quantified by mere numbers. Leaving byproducts of exhaustion, human suffering, conversations cut short - no matter; they are necessary for the end result.

Our work suffers, too, of this we can be sure. Hours of busyness, with the tap of the keys, swipe of the screen, negotiation for bottom dollar. The mind will be tired; the hands will be restless. Extracted from home, from family, work is "there", never "here". We will go to work, not stay to work. Vacation time, where family fits in.

What work is this?

We once heard that we should work for what does not spoil. Isn't all set to spoil? Fruit of the earth and fruit of the business deal? What, then, shall we work for? For these answers, I still search.

May the means become as important as the end. Every person, of more worth than the price they can offer. Every meal, longer than is necessary to strike a deal. Every decision, more important than its reflection on a pay stub, but its reflection of character.

And no matter your title, no matter your corner office, may you know the deep joy and reward in planting a seed and watching it grow and bringing its fruit to the table.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sex and the Gospel: a book review

Today's post is a book review of Sex, Dating, and Relationships: A Fresh Approach, written by Gerald Hiestand and Jay Thomas. Gerald mailed me a free copy of the book and in exchange, I read and reviewed it. You'll find Gerald blogging here, and buy the book here.


If someone had said to me, before I was married, that sex was about the gospel, I might have leaned in and listened to what they had to say. Or I would have thought they were a little strange. But then I would have listened.

In my reading of Heistand’s and Thomas’ book, “Sex, Dating, and Relationships: A Fresh Approach”, what I found most important is its thoughtfulness in helping us understand sex and its deep connection to the gospel. Instead of leading with the classic how-to manual and anecdotes, the authors first lay a foundation as to why sex matters. And we learn that sex matters because it is one picture of Christ’s union with the Church, our oneness with Christ, and, in marriage, our oneness with each other. They’ve elevated sex above what our culture has dragged it down to be: pure physical satisfaction and loss of control, assuming that our sexual desire is to be let loose, and we really shouldn’t do much to reign it in.

Though there were gender assumptions that we will not all agree on (men solely do the wooing, women receive it; men win hearts, women give them away, for examples), it deals head on with the cycle that most people go through at some point in their life – heartache after heartache after heartache. They acknowledge that pain and disappointment isn’t avoidable, nor should it be, while placing blame on our lack of sexual boundaries as the cause for much repetitive heartache. With this book, they declare that it is time to recognize there are clear guidelines for male and female relationships, the same for those who are dating and those who are not: no sexual activity.

As you read, you’ll find out more of what the authors mean by this, especially that they aren’t shy about calling us back from actions we might deem as innocent romantic expressions, such as kissing.

But before you run away, deeming this book unrealistic and out-of-touch with today’s culture, remember that we are the called-out, set-apart people of God. We are, indeed, seeking to be in a culture but not of it.

As one who has been through the throes of pre-marriage relationships with lack of sexual boundaries, I urge you to get a copy of this book!