Friday, April 27, 2007

Slavery In America

Did you know that there are around 27 million people in slavery today? Many of those people are right here in the united states. Human trafficking is something that has been heavy on my heart for quite some time now, and I believe it is something heavy on the heart of our saviour. When we think of human slavery, it's easy to dismiss it as a problem only in the third world, but some experts are saying there could be as many as 2 Million people in slavery in the united states. Most of these people are young women who are forced into the sex trade and 50% are children. My heart breaks over this issue, and I hope you'll take a moment to read the article and take a look at the video I've attached.

I, along with Tapestry (the church I pastor), will be getting heavily involved in this matter and I would encourage you to pray about what you can do.

Short Documentary:

Trailer (Not for sale Campaign):

Katherine Chon Executive Director & Co-Founder Polaris Project

I'm sure most of us are familiar with Craigslist, an online Web community where people post job opportunities, items for sale, and find activity partners. Over the past years, Craigslist has grown by leaps and bounds and now has Web sites representing over 300 U.S. cities. Many of us have used Craigslist to find a garage sale or buy a used couch.

However, despite its millions of users and various social benefits, there's a dark side of Craigslist that most users don't see. In the "Erotic" section, human traffickers have found Craigslist to be one of the most efficient, effective (and free) ways to post children and women for sale.
With a bit of research, one can realize just how much of a problem this has become. In one recent case, two Chicago women were charged for selling girls as young as 14 years old on Craigslist. The girls were forced to have sex with 10-12 men per day, and the traffickers made tens of thousands of dollars. A Boston man and his niece were charged with plotting a child trafficking operation with teenagers as young as 13 by selling them on Craigslist to predators from Massachusetts to New York. These cases are just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, law enforcement efforts to fight trafficking nationwide are consistently reporting a spike in online Craigslist ads, and how sex trafficking has "moved online" lately.

In Washington, DC, we see an average of 500 of these such Craigslist ads each new day. Yet, it is important to realize that a significant percentage of these ads on Craigslist do not advertise solely "legal escort services" as Craigslist may like to believe. Instead, a considerable percentage of the ads are a thinly veiled guise for one of the many faces of human trafficking that exists here in the United States. Although Craigslist may convince itself that it has created a beneficial online venue for advertising legal escorts, in effect, what it has done is create a fertile ground for traffickers to further their trade in human misery.

Many of the victims of human trafficking that Polaris Project has served have had their pictures posted on Craigslist. Through serving them, we've learned how the pictures on Craigslist hide the pain behind the smile. Maybe Craigslist should ask itself if the marginal benefits of this form of free advertising for the sex trade are worth the far larger human costs.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Today I write all of you from the airport somewhere near Saint Paul, Minn. It’s been a crazy week. I got home from a three day engagement Saturday night and had just enough time to kiss my wife, get in a fight with her, make up, get some sleep and stop by the office. I flew out early this morning (Monday). I’m on my way to meet with a group of church planters from around the country who are affiliated with the Conservative Baptist Association. We’re meeting at a conference in Orlando. Tough life I know. You may be wondering why I would have anything to do with an association/denomination of churches, since I generally want nothing to do with them, but this situation is a little different.

My dad is the director of church planting for the Rocky Mountain Conservative Baptist Association, based out of Denver Colorado. Although my dad and I are separated by at least one cultural generation, we have some similar views on the role of the church, as well as, similar views on what we believe the direction of the church needs to be in the years to come. My dad has asked me to come to this conference to be a part of a conversation with his church planters about new forms of church planting. I must admit, I’m excited to spend some time around other men who share my passion. Most of these guys have some pretty old school views of the church and I’m there to provide a little bit of shock value.

However, sometimes I feel like an attraction at a circus freak show. You know the bearded lady, the bendable man, the giant, the dwarf, and the progressive church planter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a sought after speaker like some of my peers, I only get 8 or 10 opportunities each year. But, when I get asked to speaking engagements I’m expected to shock people. I’m afraid my ideals have created a bit of a monster.

Today I’m asking the question; is there value in “shock value?”

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Only in America

Can you imagine a world where the Govoner of New York State has to ask permission to have access to a no talent, nobody, wannabe singer? I can. Last nights White House Correspondents Dinner reached new lows. Click the link and read for yourself. Only in America could this nonsense be real. Something is truly, and fully wrong with this picture!

"Sanjaya Malakar, the shy, slender, 17-year-old "American Idol" reject, was at his table when a tall, middle-aged man stopped by to ask for an autograph. The boy's hosts, from People magazine, tried to shoo him away. "We are trying to let him eat," they explained.
The man protested: "But I'm the governor of New York."

read the article here

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Eight Bucks to Drive in NYC

Thought this was interesting. Check out the video and tell me what you think. It's an interesting problem.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

VirginiaTech: Victims Photos

At the link below you'll find photos of all but one of the Virgina Tech victims. I don't post this to be crude, but because it made it very real to me tonight. It's so easy to write off faces we see on the T.V. as someone elses loved one, but these photos made it seem closer to home some how.

Each photo has a link to a personal bio of each victim. Stop for a moment and read a few of the bios.

Supreme Court Upholds Partial Birth Abortion Ban

I don't often express my political views, but here is one I have no problem rejoicing over. Today the Supreme Court upheld the ban on partial birth abortion. Two days ago we lost 32 people to a cold blooded killer, a tragedy not soon forgotten. Yet every day hundreds if not thousands of innocent lives are taken through abortion procedures, with no fan fair. We've lost to may lives this week, this decision saved lives. Read the full article at the link below.

"WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court's conservative majority handed anti-abortion forces a major victory Wednesday in a decision that bans a controversial abortion procedure and set the stage for further restrictions."

"For the first time since the court established a woman's right to an abortion in 1973, the justices upheld a nationwide ban on a specific abortion method, labeled partial-birth abortion by its opponents."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Some of Their Names...

Some of the names of those killed at Virginia Tech. Real people, real families, real dreams, real stories.
( From Michael Savages website )

_ Ross Abdallah Alameddine, 20, of Saugus, Mass., according to his mother, Lynnette Alameddine.
_ Christopher James Bishop, 35, according to Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany, where he helped run an exchange program.
_ Ryan Clark, 22, of Martinez, Ga., biology and English major, according to Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins.
_ Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, a French instructor, according to her husband, Jerzy Nowak, the head of the horticulture department at Virginia Tech.
_ Daniel Perez Cueva, 21, killed in his French class, according to his mother, Betty Cueva, of Peru.
_ Kevin Granata, age unknown, engineering science and mechanics professor, according to Ishwar K. Puri, the head of the engineering science and mechanics department.
_ Caitlin Hammaren, 19, of Westtown, N.Y., a sophomore majoring in international studies and French, according to Minisink Valley, N.Y., school officials who spoke with Hammaren's family.
_ Jeremy Herbstritt, 27, of Bellefonte, Pa., according to Penn State University, his alma mater and his father's employer.
_ Rachael Hill, 18, of Glen Allen, Va., according to her father, Guy Hill.
_ Emily Jane Hilscher, a 19-year-old freshman from Woodville, according to Rappahannock County Administrator John W. McCarthy, a family friend.
_ Jarrett L. Lane, according to Riffe's Funeral Service Inc. in Narrows, Va.
_ Matthew J. La Porte, 20, a freshman from Dumont, N.J., according to Dumont Police Chief Brian Venezio.
_ Liviu Librescu, 76, engineering science and mathematics lecturer, according to Puri.
_ G.V. Loganathan, 51, civil and environmental engineering professor, according to his brother G.V. Palanivel.
_ Daniel O'Neil, 22, of Rhode Island, according to close friend Steve Craveiro and according to Eric Cardenas of Connecticut College, where O'Neil's father, Bill, is director of major gifts.
_ Juan Ramon Ortiz, a 26-year-old graduate student in engineering from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, according to his wife, Liselle Vega Cortes.
_ Mary Karen Read, 19, of Annandale, Va. according to her aunt, Karen Kuppinger, of Rochester, N.Y.
_ Reema J. Samaha, 18, a freshman from Centreville, Va., according to her family.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech: Tonight We Pray.

My heart breaks tonight for the families of those who lost their lives at Virginia Tech this morning,2933,266421,00.html . Thirty-plus people killed in a senseless act of violence. I have no doubt that there are many people asking questions tonight about the love of God, or what may seem like the lack there of. Tonight my prayers are for them. The moms, dads, brothers, sister, husbands, wives, and friends of those who lost their lives.

I pray that those touched by this horrible act of volitional sin, will find safe harbor beneath the wings of a God who truly loves them. That the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard their hearts and minds. May they experience the comfort that can only come from the God who knows the pain of loosing a son.

Folks, for all of you who read this blog, lets not forget to pray! Don’t be one of those who turn off the T.V. and forget.

We’ll talk more about today’s events in the days to come, but tonight we pray.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Seminar of Strange Truths

This morning I sat through a management seminar that would normally have bored me to the point of nausea. We were presented with the typical psycho-babble one might expect from this sort of thing, you know, the whole higher-self, find your inner animal, dance naked around a fire sort of stuff. To keep it exciting we were asked to do the whole arrow in the neck exercise.

For those of you lucky enough to have avoided these sorts of get togethers, the arrow in the neck exercise is actually pretty cool. The instructor makes you sign a release form to build the drama (and just incase your neck is punctured and you bleed out on the linoleum floor), and then tells you that there “really” is a chance of death during this “fun” little example of trust. Once you’ve signed the release you’re handed an arrow, a real arrow mind you, and you’re instructed to place the sharp end of the arrow right in the center of your jugular notch. The instructor then places his hand on the end of the arrow creating enough pressure to hold the arrow in place while you lean against it.

With arms spread out to your sides, you’re instructed to walk toward the instructor with one fluid movement. Um…….okay!!! I have an arrow in my neck and you want me to put pressure on the tip of said arrow and impale myself so you can prove a point about team trust. Well……of course I tried it. To be honest I was more than a little anxious. Being careful to follow all the instructions I took the step into the arrow. Just when I thought it would puncture my skin it snapped into a million pieces. AWESOME!!!! I was stoked I proved to the class I had some balls and I got a little adrenalin boost while I was at it.

I wonder why I’m okay letting a perfect stranger put a tool designed to kill very large animals at the center of my throat, but I’m afraid to follow the simplest command of God.

The first of many questions raised in the Seminar of Strange Truths…..more to come

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Emerging Question: Part Two

As I’ve conversed with my emergent peers around the country I’ve realized something. Those who stand for the truth of scripture have ministries that have exceeded their wildest imaginations, and those who have not seem to have struggling ministries. It’s amazing to me how much smack I hear voiced by “emerging” pastors about “emerging” pastors. In fact I’m slung some smack myself.

Seattle is home to several men who have developed national or even international voices on matters pertaining to the Christian Faith. Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church ( and Ken Hutcheson of Antioch Bible Church ( are two men whom you may have heard of. Both of these men are pastors of what we call in the emerging movement “mega-churches.” The idea of a mega-church to an emerging leader is something that needs to be publicly condemned, but is privately desired. The term “mega-church” is second only to the f-word on the swear scale in the emergent community.

Mark and Ken are frequently the topic of conversation in Seattle, and the majority of the time the conversation isn’t positive. Why? Well, in the eyes of many emergent leaders they have “sold out.” I’m not sure I know what that means, but that’s the word on the street.

However, and that’s a big however, both Mark and Ken have take outspoken stands on controversial matters such as homosexuality and male leadership in the church. They are standing firm on the pure word of God. They haven’t watered down the gospel, or flinched in the face of adversity, they have spoken truth in a world that hates truth. I’m not sure I fully agree with their ministry strategies, but I have nothing but respect for their courage and intestinal fortitude.

The question must be asked; why is it that men who speak truth without compromise have ministries affecting the world, and those who seek to compromise with the culture do not? Have they sold out to achieve international notoriety, or have the received international voices because they have refused to sell out?

This is a question I want an answer to.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Emerging Question

This morning, I had the pleasure of meeting with a group of pastors from several different “emerging” churches here in the Seattle area. A couple of the guys have national voices, and or, have been published so it was interesting to hear a bit about their views on God, church and culture. What I’m about to say has nothing to do with today’s meeting. The men present at this meeting were all brilliant, amazing men of God who I respect tremendously. However, in the presence of these men I couldn’t help but feel a little disconnected from this movement we call “emerging churches.”

First off, although Tapestry (our church in downtown Seattle) would be by definition an emerging ministry, I don’t really understand what the hell the term means. I get the idea behind it all, and I understand the definition, but I don’t see what all the hype is about. I’ve read the books, lots of them, I’ve sat in the conferences, and I’ve even spoken on the issue to a small extent, but I just don’t see why it’s become so “cool” to be an “emerging” church.

Within the emerging movement I see guys with ideals. I see guys with passion. I see guys who seem to know and love God. I see pride. I see arrogance. I see faith. I see hope in the future. I see pride. Have I said that already? We all want to be different, but I fear our desire for uniqueness isn’t always rooted in a desire to reach souls. We package our models for ministry in “emerging” wrappers, but the motives behind the wrappers seem to be the same as those who have gone before us.

I guess in my limited understanding on the matter I’m a little disappointed that the emerging church isn’t a pure movement dedicated to moving past selfish desires for large congregations (even if decentralized), speaking engagements and international notoriety. Our churches look different, we swear a little more, but I don’t know if the differences go much deeper.

We need to emerge past the emerging.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Once Again

My life has a tendency to be cyclical in nature. In other words, I always seem to come around to the same places. The most frustrating thing about this never ending cycle is that each time I arrive at the same place I’ve already been I realize that the lessons I thought I learned the previous time around, I in fact hadn’t learned at all.

Tapestry (the church I’m planting in Belltown) is doing great. We’ve set everything up correctly and done a ton of work to ensure that we have the foundation necessary to be a long-term ministry and not another flash in the pan. We’ve successfully completed the first phase of our plan on time and we’re now merging into phase two. However phase two is were churches either take off, or die.

I’ve been here before. I tremble at the thought of phase two, because phase two requires FAITH!!! Once again I find myself in the position of realizing that up to this point everything that has been done for this project, has been directed by me. In other words it was the busy work of setting up the website (, setting up the board of directors, writing up the bylaws and constitution, creating a phased model etc. I always had something to do, something that could occupy my time and feed my need for hope in the vision of Tapestry. I didn’t need God help.

Today phase two looms on the horizon and I realize there is nothing I can do. The busy work is done. I stand with my hands in my pockets wondering if it’s going to hold together. Wondering if the time I neglected to spend with God will bite me in the ass. Wondering if God plans to get onboard with my plan (ouch). Have I heard Gods voice, or have I been acting on my own volition? Only time will tell. From this point on I have to volunteer control and spend a lot of time on my knees.

The cycle has once again been completed, and once again I see how many thing I took into my own hands. When will I learn?