Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes, and General Mental Mayhem


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The Justice Conference: Film Festival

1001275_10151902467461540_1779359943_nThe third day of The Justice Conference is a film festival. It’s literally a 12-hour day of movies back to back. My kind of day! And, of course, cool to see so many movies focused on justice all together. I’m not great about watching documentaries either, so this was a good chance for me to stretch myself.

I didn’t love them all, but there are some real gems in here. Give them a try when you get the chance. (Some of them are less than 10 minutes.)

Here’s what we saw:

IMBA MEANS SING

There are over 12 million orphans in the sub-Saharan Africa. Every year thousands audition for the chance to escape poverty and travel for the African Children’s Choir—only 20 make the cut. This is their story

50 PEOPLE 1 QUESTION: SKID ROW

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Skid Row is a 50-block community that over 4,000 people call their home. Jubilee Project spent a day in Skid Row asking people on their streets on question, “What is your dream?”

TIHARU

It’s quickly becoming the most populated country in the world, but India holds a dark secret. Men and women who make their homes in poor villages throughout the central region are forced to make decisions that no parents should ever have to make: sell a child into slavery or watch your children starve to death?

A PLACE AT THE TABLE (Streaming on Netflix)

A documentary that investigates incidents of hunger experienced by millions of Americans, and proposed solutions for the problem. Featuring music from The Civil Wars.

MY NEIGHBOURHOOD

When a Palestinian boy loses half of his home to Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem, he joins his community in a campaign of non-violent protests. Efforts to put a quick end to the demonstrations are failed when scores of Israelis choose to stand by the residents’ side.

UNDIVIDED

Undivided is the hop-filled, challenging and inspiring true story of how a church and a public high school forged an unlikely friendship—initiating a beautiful transformation for both he school and faith community.

NEVER A NEVERLAND

The Kingdom of Swaziland  hosts the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world, leaving 1/3 of its population orphaned or vulnerable. Never a Neverland documents the reality of a kingdom moving towards extinction and the hope of a people to ensure it never becomes a “Neverland.”

SEVEN DAYS OF CHANGE

Get inside the lives of people affected by the world’s most compelling causes; witness the Sevenly team, a sylish Southern California  company race the clock to implement a life-changing solution for a deserving charity every seven days.

BLOOD BROTHER

A young man from a fractured family and a troubled past went traveling through India without a plan. Then he met a group of HIV positive children living in an orphanage—a meeting that changed everything for him.

THE PINK ROOM

After selling herself at fourteen to a brothel inside her home of Svey Pak, Mien takes and undesired path all over Cambodia for the remainder of her teenage life.

RISING FROM ASHES

Competing in a white man’s sport, reserved for the privileged, a rag tag group of cyclists coached by the first American to ride in the Tour de France is transformed into a powerful symbol of hope for a country recovering from one of the world’s most devastating genocides.

THE DROP BOX

One winter, a South Korean pastor finds a baby on the church steps, and decides to build a “drop box” to rescue future foundlings. This inspiring story takes place after the box was first installed and documents the incredible changes that take place.

 


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Giving A Care

Not too long ago I was at a fundraising event with some friends. A great deal of money was raised in just a few hours, with more pledged to follow in just a few days time. It was really exciting to witness, and as the evening was drawing to a close, one of my friend’s looked at me and said, “It’s amazing what can happen when people actually give a care.” This statement really stuck with me, though not for the reasons you might think. It stuck with me because, in my case, it’s not true.

I’ve always been blessed with incredible friends. If it’s one thing I ever did right, it was the people I chose as my friends. And my friends have done wondrous things. They are givers. They’ve given to me, their friends and family, and many times, even strangers. The people I know and consider to be my friends do, in fact, actually give a care. Many of them may be broke for this very reason. 😉

Some of my friends have raised money with athletic organizations like Team in Training. Some have gone on local, regional, national and even international mission trips. Some have served in churches or shelters or political campaigns or soup kitchens or at nonprofits or animal hospitals or as mentors. They all have given days, but I can easily name those who’ve given weeks, months or years, cumulatively speaking. It would take more than my four extremities, actually, to name them. They give their money, their time, their talents and their influence.

A few summers back I distinctly remember getting close to 10 letters and emails from friends raising money for something. Note: this period was just a couple of months. I was freaking out trying to think of how I could send money to each of them because I wanted them to succeed. I’ve grown to realize that these letters and emails will be a regular occurrence for me. AT LEAST one of my friends will always be raising money at any given time. And that statement makes me smile.

I don’t say all of this just to brag on my friends, though they deserve it. While the frequency in which I receive these requests may be greater than yours, we all still suffer from a common syndrome at one time or another: compassion fatigue. (No, I didn’t make that term up.) Sometimes needs are presented to us so often that they can easily become 1) exhausting or 2) white noise. We give to all, some, or none. But couple these personal requests with what we see on the news, internet and radio, and it can quickly and easily become an emotional overload.

I would urge you to push through the compassion fatigue. There are times I give to causes just because my friends ask, not because I particularly am passionate or invested in the cause. And that’s ok. When I have the funds available to do that, I will do so happily. I want to support them in what they care about, and encourage them to keep at it. We all don’t have to care about the same things. Just care about something. And better yet, give part or all of your heart to it. Don’t just send a check, though those are always good, but personally invest your time, talents and influence as well. When we give a care, we are acknowledging that life exists outside of us. We gain a greater perspective of the world. We become good citizens of it. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to make a difference, large or small. Giving a care is one way of doing that. Champion a cause and see how your life can change for the better. Realize that there’s more going on than just you. Understand that everything on this planet is not put here to serve you, but instead, serve the planet in some capacity. It won’t be a waste of your time, I promise.

Try different causes and see what fits. What makes you happy? What breaks your heart? Where do you see a need you can fill just by being you? What fuels your passion? For me, my two biggies are my faith and modern-day slavery. Both have taken over my heart like nothing else. I champion them because I can’t help myself; I feel compelled. What compels you?

Go on. Give a care.

(And if you need some help finding it, I’m happy to help you explore!)


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Missional Communities

Many of you have asked me what this “missional community” thing is that I’ve immersed myself in. I recently found a good explanation from my friend, Gailyn Van Rheenen, who has a heart for training people to be a part of this movement. Here is what he says…

Missional churches are theologically-formed, Christ-centered, Spirit-led fellowships who seek to faithfully incarnate the purposes of Christ. They are communities formed by the calling and sending of God and reflecting the redemptive reign of God in Christ (http://www.missiology.org/mmr/mmr34.htm). These become church planting movements because a missionary impulse is embedded within their DNA. They are simple, replicable, and thus able to spread like a virus over a geographic area. These missional churches are, however, fragile in their inception because the first step is “making disciples.” This disciple-making takes time because followers of Jesus must be nurtured as they grow to spiritual maturity and become God’s sent people on mission with Him. I believe that missional DNA exists in every faithful Christian and every local church but nurturing and equipping are necessary to unleash it in neighborhoods, families, work places, and third places.

That is probably a much more eloquent way than I’ve been explaining it, so I hope this helps. I will certainly be talking more about it here and to many of you verbally, but just wanted to throw this out there.

Happy Friday!