Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Dude, Where's my lifeboat?"

If you've been following news reports surrounding the capsizing of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy and have ever been (or contemplated going) on a cruise, it's hard to keep from thinking you could easily have been one of those terror-stricken passengers.

As divers resume their search for missing passengers, more details are surfacing to fill in the blanks of what actually happened. One of the many shocking accounts came in Rich Lowry's National Review Online article, "Dude, Where's my lifeboat?", where he reports of women and children "being pushed aside by hysterical men as they tried to board lifeboats.”

Coincidentally, the book I'm reading is The Myth of Male Power in which author Warren Farrell is speaking up in defense of men. Not that he would approve those men who were pushing and shoving on the sinking cruise ship. But Farrell does assert (with some rather impressive endorsements) that cultural expectations of men as protectors, providers, and rescuers produce powerlessness, not power.  He defines power as "having control over one's life," which he believes men forfeit with the obligation to protect women and society by going to war or giving up their seat in the lifeboat. He turns the current discussion of gender on its head when he observes that when it comes to power, "men are not at the tip of the pyramid, but at its base."

Consider some of Farrell's statements: 
"Today, violence against women is rightly abhorred. But we call violence against men entertainment."
"The message of religion for boys is that there really is no choice but to save."
"We don't call 'male-killing' sexism; we call it 'glory.' We don't call the one million men who were killed or maimed in one battle in World War I (the Battle of the Somme) a holocaust, we call it 'serving the country.' We don't call those who selected only men to die 'murderers.' We call them 'voters.' Our slogan for women is 'A Woman's Body, A Woman's Choice': our slogan for men is 'A Man's Gotta Do What a Man's Gotta Do.'"
Is chivalry another sinking ship and should it sink? Are unreasonable and even unjust burdens placed on male shoulders when they're expected to rescue, protect, and provide simply because they are male?

On the flip side, are these callings only for men except in unusual circumstances or do women also share these responsibilities? After reading Lowry's article, a friend reflected on what happened on the Titanic, "I suspect there were women who would have given their place in the lifeboats to another if they had been allowed to do so." How does the Blessed Alliance factor into this discussion? Don't we have heroic stories of ezers like Esther and Deborah, Chai Ling and the Freedom Climbers who were willing to risk their lives for others? Are these women rare exceptions or role models for the rest of us? 

So is it part of the job description for ezer-warriors to be looking out for others versus expecting others to take care of us?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Preparing to Summit

In a matter of hours, the Freedom Climbers will reach the summit. I only wish we could watch it as it happens.

This from Day 4 Report:

"Uhuru Peak is the climber’s final destination and the highest point.  The climbers will begin the summit in the dark, at midnight on Kilimanjaro, with flashlights on their heads.  They will climb far above the sunrise.  After they summit, they will hike many miles back down to about 7,200 ft.  This will help them breathe easier and start feeling better, but it is about a 12 hour hike tomorrow."

At 6 pm/ET this evening, their final 12-hour climb begins that will take them to the summit and then start their descent.

There's a lot more on their website—photos, reports from the climbers, and more information on what they've accomplished and what they're facing now. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Nearing the Summit of Mt Kilimanjaro

“I’m feeling kind of excellent…
I think everyone is acclimating really well…just one step at a time, everybody is just moving, moving, moving.” 
Madison (the youngest climber)

The Freedom Climbers have finished Day 3 and are resting up for Day 4. They'll summit Sunday (Saturday evening State-side). 

They're heading into the toughest part of their climb, although the first three days haven't been easy.

Visit their blog to see pictures, reports of how they're doing, and prayer requests. What a remarkable group of ezers!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Follow The Freedom Climb!

Day 2 of the Freedom Climb is over! Their blog contains photos and daily reports from the bold ezer-warriors on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

To follow their progress and pray for this effort, go to:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Something to ponder ...

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?"                      —Isaiah 58:6

Freedom Climbers

Ready to go!
photo © The Freedom Climb: Justice for Women
& Kibo Slopes Safaris Ltd on FaceBook

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Freedom Climb Countdown!

This just in!  The Freedom Climbers arrived safely in Kenya. Tuesday they traveled to Tanzania. And on Wednesday, January 11, U.S. National Trafficking Day, the climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro begins! They'll be well on their way by the time most of us are waking up.

They need prayer for their safety and endurance as they climb. They're excited, resting up, and firmly committed to the climb!

To learn more about this incredible effort to raise awareness and funding to combat sex trafficking, read yesterday's post: The Freedom Climb.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Freedom Climb

Skeptics reacted negatively to the CitiBank commercial where a young woman (accompanied by her boyfriend) climbs to the top of Ancient Art—a rock formation in Utah that spikes into the sky like an upside-down icicle.

The commercial ends with the female climber perched triumphantly on a frighteningly narrow surface where a sudden gust of wind or slight loss of balance would send her plummeting to her death.

Makes my hands sweat just thinking about it.

Comments on the Internet read, "No way that's real!" and "Total green screen."  So many people raised doubts, CNN's Jeanne Moos decided to investigate.

The girl, it turns out, is Katie Brown—one of the world's top female rock climbers. She's been climbing since she was twelve. Her "boyfriend" is real-life Spiderman, Alex Honnold, featured by  60 Minutes for his daring free-solo rock climbing (meaning without ropes). When asked, Brown confirmed, "Yeah, it's real." She really did make that climb. She really did pose for cameras "up there."  

The lesson? Never underestimate what ezers are capable of doing. Never!

That lesson was reinforced for me by a mind-boggling email from Cathey Anderson of Operation Mobilisation. 

Cathey, like growing numbers of us, is outraged over human trafficking. But she is doing more than fume. Her outrage turned into action—a bold out-of-the-box vision that exceeded anything I would have imagined. Her vision?  For Christian women across the globe to raise awareness and funding to combat modern day trafficking of women and children by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest mountain!

Cathey held onto that vision for months. She was emailing to tell me reading Half the Church spurred her into action.

Her hope of twenty women climbers quickly mushroomed into forty-six. The climbers range in age from 18 to 73!  Half the Sky, by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn has fueled their passion and determination.

As I write, The Freedom Climb is moving forward. Right now, the climbers are gathering in Nairobi from around the world. You can read their stories here.

On Wednesday, January 11, National Anti-Trafficking Awareness Day, they'll begin their climb.  It takes 4½ days to reach the summit and 1½ days to come back down. They've been training and will be accompanied by professional guides.

It needs to be said, the choice of their initiative isn't just random. These women are physically making a statement. Mt. Kilimanjaro's summit is Uhuru Peak. Uhuru is Swahili for freedom. By climbing the mountain, this team of ezers are symbolizing the huge climb to freedom millions of enslaved women and children worldwide face daily.

What I love about this initiative is that, not only is this a powerful and creative way to engage the fight against the evils of human trafficking (and I'm praying the outcome will exceed their hopes), it raises the bar for the rest of us. Every day new reports surface about global atrocities against women and girls. God is moving more and more of us to get involved. We're all asking, "What can I do?" The Freedom Climbers are opening the door for us to get creative and reminding us never to underestimate what ezers are capable of doing!

Check out the Freedom Climb website to learn more.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Amazon Kindle Sale!

Kindle versions of Half the Church and The Gospel of Ruth are on sale now for $1.99!  Don't know how long these prices will last, so act now if you want to download a copy!

More good news:   Half the Church is listed on Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed Books of the Year!