anti-advocacy! pro-action!

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Eve said…
In Proverbs 27:17 it tells us:
as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

If you have ever gotten the chance to watch a blacksmith you know that this sharpening is a full contact event. The iron needs to literally smash into each other, setting off sparks, leaving each piece marked and changed forever. If you think talking could possibly do this..well then tell me how.

I believe a speech could start a fire in us, but the iron would still just be lying there, waiting to be changed into something useful.

We are probably the most intelligent generation in history, yet given all our knowledge, we are ineffective on so many levels! action.

If you are a leader, get up and lead already, and if you need help, cry out for someone to come and pick you up out of the fire.

The more I live the more I see, we need each other, but we are getting farther away from each other. {See previous post on Modesty}

The story is yours to finish, are you going to pick up a piece of iron and form it, or are you going to let someone reform you into a tool, or are you just going to sit there talking about it? You don't need to change the entire world at all, but I bet you know someone who needs you, and someone you could learn from so you could pass it on.

Revelation 3:16

So because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Heat it up and start some sparks! Get sharpening already!
Renny said…
Stephen, another brilliant post. I work at United Way, and so many times we have to work hard to gather research to present to state legislation to get them on our side to start a new project, but even with the facts in front of them they don't want to help!! Why did they get elected to office? Why did they run if not to do something proactive to make the world a better place? Its not like United Way wants to do controversial things, I'm pretty sure wanting children to grow up in healthy happy homes is a universal desire, and yet...
Keep doing! PS, saw you in Salt Lake last night, you guys were incredible as usual :)
Rachelogisys said…
Mad kudos for this blog. Nothing will ever happen if no one takes action. We're all capable of something amazing, we just have to find it within ourselves.
Anonymous said…
Hear hear! As a big supporter of To Write Love On Her arms, I often find myself thinking, talking or writing about people and how we should just take notice of our fellow human beings and be more caring. Then I realize that I need to put it into action and actually do what I am urging others to remember. So often we forget to actually do the things we want to do.
Lady of the Forest said…
Ah, Stephen...

this blog post is a thorn in my foot.

And that is a good thing. ;)

"With the help of the thorn in my foot, I spring higher than anyone with sound feet."
-Soren Kierkegaard

So often am I the "talker" and not the "do-er." I think we are all guilty of this. We are all human and therefore imperfect.

Sometimes I feel frozen and unable to move, unable to actually do anything. :(

I don't know why or what to do about it. God help me...
Lady of the Forest said…
Reminds me of this, an excerpt from the book "The Orthodox Heretic and Other Impossible Tales," by Peter Rollins. (I found the excerpt on another blog I like to read...)

No Conviction

In a world where following Christ is decreed to be a subversive and illegal activity you have been accused of being a believer, arrested, and dragged before a court.

You have been under clandestine surveillance for some time now, and so the prosecution has been able to build up quite a case against you. They begin the trial by offering the judge dozens of photographs that show you attending church meetings, speaking at religious events, and participating in various prayer and worship services. After this, they present a selection of items that have been confiscated from your home: religious books that you own, worship CDs, and other Christian artifacts. Then they step up the pace by displaying your many poems, pieces of prose, and journal entries that you had lovingly written concerning your faith. Finally, in closing, the prosecution offers your Bible to the judge. This is a well-worn book with scribbles, notes, drawings, and underlings throughout, evidence, if it were needed, that you had read and re-read this sacred text many times.

Throughout the case you have been sitting silently in fear and trembling. You know deep in your heart that with the large body of evidence that has been amassed by the prosecution you face the possibility of long imprisonment or even execution. At various times throughout the proceedings you have lost all confidence and been on the verge of standing up and denying Christ. But while this thought has plagued your mind throughout the trial, you resist the temptation and remain focused.
Lady of the Forest said…

Once the prosecution is finished presenting their case the judge proceeds to ask if you have anything to add, but you remain silent, resolute, terrified that if you open your mouth, even for a moment, you might deny the charges made against you. Like Christ, you remain silent before your accusers. In response you are led outside to wait as the judge ponders your case.

The hours pass slowly as you sit under guard in the foyer waiting to be summoned back. Eventually a young man in uniform appears and leads you into the courtroom so that you may hear the verdict and receive word of your punishment. Once you have been seated in the dock the judge, a harsh and unyielding man, enters the room, stands before you, looks deep into your eyes and begins to speak,

“Of the charges that have been brought forward I find the accused not guilty.”

“Not guilty?” your heart freezes. Then, in a split second, the fear and terror that had moments before threatened to strip your resolve are swallowed up by confusion and rage.

Despite the surroundings, you stand defiantly before the judge and demand that he give an account concerning why you are innocent of the charges in light of the evidence.

“What evidence?” he replies in shock.

“What about the poems and prose that I wrote?” you reply.

“They simply show that you think of yourself as a poet, nothing more.”

“But what about the services I spoke at, the times I wept in church and the long, sleepless nights of prayer?”

“Evidence that you are a good speaker and actor, nothing more.” Replied the judge, “It is obvious that you deluded those around you, and perhaps at times you even deluded yourself, but this foolishness is not enough to convict you in a court of law.”

“But this is madness!” you shout. “It would seem that no evidence would convince you!”

“Not so,” replies the judge as if informing you of a great, long-forgotten secret.

“The court is indifferent towards your Bible reading and church attendance; it has no concern for worship with words and a pen. Continue to develop your theology, and use it to paint pictures of love. We have no interest in such armchair artists who spend their time creating images of a better world. We exist only for those who would lay down their brush, and their life, in a Christlike endeavor to create a better world. So, until you challenge this system and become a thorn in our side, until you die to yourself and offer your body to the flames, until then, my friend, you are no enemy of ours.”
Hudson said…
But yet another issue is raised. What difference does it make if we're leading people to broken cisterns and not Living Water? If we eradicate poverty, cure AIDS, and stop murder, and still no one is believing in a Savior, then they're living a lie and we've worked in vain. Sometimes I think a lot of advocacy groups in Christian circles seek to bring Heaven on earth, and that is not what we've been commissioned to do. We are to bring Living Water to the thirsty, and that will allow people to better deal with the circumstance life has them in.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to be passive and curing AIDS and poverty is a waste of time, but for this particular post I wanted to address the ultimate goal we should be pursuing.
Great stuff--congratulations too! I like how you said, "i am growing weary of ‘advocacy groups’ whose primary purpose is to raise awareness and then stop there!" I'm glad you said "growing weary" because I would have said "sick and tired." LOL :P
vada south said…
i entirely agree. i've become so disappointed with everyone talking with such passion and care but doing so little about it. awareness is a noble thing, but it is only step one of two. what bothers me is the way people don't want to take the time out of their lives due to the “inconvenience“, and actually get their hands dirty. they would just much rather write a check and have someone else do the work for them. funding is certainly vital, but entirely useless if there is no one to do something with it. everyone is so obsessed with convenience and saving time, only to waste that time. so I don’t understand why don’t they take the two hours they saved out of their day and volunteer at the organization they donate to? i am certain it would be more fulfilling than an hour on facebook and watching reruns on tv.
i have always taken the saying, "acta non verba" to heart, and do my best to follow through on it. i just wish others would do same.
Rach said…
I feel if I comment I'll be doing exactly what this post is against.

If I read this agree with it, and walk away...what have I accomplished?

You make a very good point in this I just need to find a way to get involved in what I want to change...even if it only involves prayer or supporting others (for now).
Thanks for the convicting words.
Wow. *stunned* YES!! Thank you for that stirring call to arms! As the next generation, I hereby vow to carry this torch until the day I die so help me God! Life isn't about the money you make or the success you have...but about how many lives you touch!! What good are words?! What words have saved a soul save those that proclaim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and ruler of their heart? Enough with the waiting around for someone else to do what's right! Enough with the procrastination, stagnantation, and the division! The latter refers to the church. We've divided ourselves into denominations and therefore seperated our visions. The church needs to become one again and be the TRUE body of Christ...eyes, ears, hands, feet...ALL of it! You have no idea how much this post moved me to action. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And now that I've stated all that, I'll be off to see those words through so they don't become exactly what you spoke of...mere words with no action.
Anonymous said…
so good stephen.

i've been involved with invisible children for quite some time, and truly i didn't do that much in the 'field' to help them, but my friend lived in uganda and when i talked to her she proved to me that invisible children was really doing what they said they do. that reassurance made me glad that they were legitimate about their intentions and willingness to really get out there and help.

i appreciate your thoughts, and i do need to get more out there instead of dreaming and failing to do. nothing should stop me, but so many times we let dumb things prevent us.

Anthony said…
Your post reminded me of the Franciscan Benediction:

A Franciscan Benediction
May God bless you with discomfort

At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships

So that you may live deep within your heart

May God bless you with anger

At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,

So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears

To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,

So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and

To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness

To believe that you can make a difference in the world,

So that you can do what others claim cannot be done

To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

ted said…
so incredibly true. if all those groups actually exhausted their efforts into DOING something they'd change the world more than just "raising awareness." knowledge is power but it's just the first step.

i know you're usually the one to suggest the books but "the hole in our gospel" absolutely bleeds this entry and talks about our sins of omission (what we DON'T do but should) whereas our world likes to focus on our sins of commission (ones we commit like murder, adultery, etc.)

it's really sad, all this talking the talk but no walking the walk.
ted said…
and just to add to my last post, i think 2 of the biggest problems regarding this are (1) the "it's-not-my-problem factor" and (2) people don't know how to get involved. how do you help someone half a world away without the money? how do you help out in the community when you can't find out where it's all going on?

as to the first factor, it is our problem (though that's a very selfish reason to act but nonetheless...). it's called judgment day when God separates those who followed his commandments and let's not forget the two greatest: love God and love your neighbor. how can one love their neighbor if we can know all these stats and figures about the 2 billion poor in this world and do nothing? i don't think Jesus went around and said "see this homeless person, here? this is some bad stuff." then walked on.

as martin luther king jr. and thomas jefferson said, "don't just ask, act!"

The Keirsey test finally worked, and I'm actually a rational. I don't know if you care, but yeah, that's what I got. Hey, they're pretty good too! I noticed it yesterday when I was sitting in front of the TV thinking of nothing but my little project. Haha, cool.
Have you done many blogs for Relevant? Is it going to be a regular thing?

I ought to have you write a column for Black Velvet each issue.

I agree that more people should do things. As I've mentioned before I'm into animal rights and I hate when a big national protest is happening that I will tell friends about it and see if they will come on the march and even though they may be vegetarian or support animal rights/be against animal cruelty, they just don't bother. How are we supposed to change the world if people just sit and do nothing? It's very frustrating when you know things can be done with action but some people do nothing. They ask how it was afterwards like they're interested and they 'care' - but why don't they put some time aside and get up and join in? It's not like they're going to get in trouble just for marching in a protest. Even little things like voting - people hate how the country or world has become but then when it's time to vote tons of people don't even bother. You can't expect a better future if you don't speak up or do something. The world needs more people who are intelligent enough to know that they are needed to do something. Even if it IS a little thing - little things are better than nothing. And the more people who do little things, the bigger the chance of a change for the better.
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mathimus said…
i just love how soemone in the public eye has finally thrown out a challenge to the world to put words into action. it's just like the great commision we are given, it doesn't say talk about how we should be, but to "go and make." stephen, i've always been not just an advocate for your writing, but a doer as well. telling others about your book, blog, and music. hopefully we can all not only hear but follow through on what you've brought up. thank you

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