Monday, July 21, 2014

What is worse than enslaving someone?

Well, in some places that would be blocking the door of the metro. As I have been here in South Asia, I have gained a greater understanding of just how far away justice can be for some people.

The fine is more than twice.
How bad can it be? Well, the answer lies not just in the plight of the persons in bondage, but in the institutional response (or lack of response) to it, the evaluation of criminal actions. A most telling (and motivational) moment for me has been this sign (at right) on the Delhi Metro. It warns the potential criminal punishment for obstructing the door of the metro train, including up to four years imprisonment.

On the other hand, India's law outlawing bonded labor, coercive exploitation of laborers due to debt or cultural obligation, states the criminal exploiter “shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and also with fine.” Three years. That is the maximum punishment. Because the fate of some travelers on public transportation who might be held up matters more than the freedom of individuals like these, who had their hands brutally amputated for refusing to work in bondage.

I have been struck in the past by the fact that the taking of someone's liberty, particularly for the purpose of economic gain and exploitation, is one of the few capital crimes listed in the law given by God to His people (see Exodus 21:16, Deuteronomy 24:7) It provides insight into the value God places on the freedom for the persons he has created, and the seriousness with which he views the sin of violating that freedom. Rejection of this God and His law by a culture completely reverses the valuation of life and liberty to where justice becomes injustice; justice becomes almost impossible.

This is why the work of organizations like International Justice Mission is so important. And why the Gospel of Christ, which includes the only proper foundation of Justice (His word) must be taken into every area of life and the globe. As God’s people, we are called to do just that. As I get to work with IJM for the next 10 months, and learn more about the gravity of the evil being faced and the work being done, I continue to thank God for the prayer and support of so many. If you would like to support my work here, you can designate a donation for me through IJM’s support page found here. Follow the link and choose my name from the drop down menu.

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.
- Isaiah 1:16-17

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Learning as We Go

Having spent a week now in South Asia, I have noticed a few things and maybe even learned a few other things.
  1. Someone really needs to turn down the temperature over here.
  2. Traffic, both vehicle and human, does not follow the traditional western rules, but that doesn't make it chaotic. It allows for constant negotiation between everyone sharing the roadways for a more efficient use of the limited space.
  3. Riding in auto rickshaws is a fun experience, but the drivers need to learn to use the meter as intended.
  4. The most fun mode of transport is walking. That's when I get to be part of the negotiations. I'd do it more if not for number 1.
  5. The monsoon rains make traffic very interesting.
  6. I miss seeing people smile more often. Thankfully, my colleagues make up for the general populace.
  7. Shopping is not so bad once you actually are able to find your objective.
  8. Riding the metro is the best form of vehicle travel. It's safe, reliable, and consistent; no haggling necessary. It really does amuse me how much people will press toward the doors of train without necessity as if they need to get off quickly, but how slowly they actually walk.
  9. Lines are optional.
  10. I love the challenge of finding my way around a completely new place and of remaining aware of my surroundings.
  11. Much heat is very tiring.
  12. There are too many different kinds of curry, and most of them aren't really that good.
  13. Apparently, spices go in everything, including our drinks. Like, why can't we just have some things plain? Not everything needs all the flavors.
  14. I never expected myself to like the taste of air fresheners. But I  never expected my dessert to taste like one either.
  15. Some Indian food is really good. And roti with everything is the way to go.
  16. I never thought I'd actually look forward to taking cold showers.
  17. Truly realizing that every person you see is an image-bearer of God is a lot different when you are traveling.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Orientation Day 1:

Monday of Orientation at IJM may well end up being my favorite. At least at this point the others will have a lot to live up to. 

On Monday we heard from IJM founder and president, Gary Haugen about the spiritual foundations of IJM. In my view it was more if a glimpse of the organizations heart. That heart is reflected in IJM's vision and mode of conduct. It is a spiritual heart directed toward the glory of God and the spreading of the Gospel. 

In this IJM relies on the Word of God first and last to receive its mission. Most beautiful is the commitment to prayer on an individual and corporate level to infuse every workday with the knowledge of the end of worship of our Creator and King. 

It was awesome to see how this builds the vision around the core mission of IJM which is to protect the world's poor from everyday violence and injustice. The commitment to focus on that one thing while being open to addressing the immortal soul and partnering with others who can carry other aspects of the Gospel alongside this important work. 

And as Gary reminded us, God cares just as much about how we do as what we do. And this is why IJM is committed to Christian and professional excellence in the manner as well as the goals. 

Additionally, I appreciated IJM's commitment to the spiritual growth of its own staff on the same level as those helped. 

Needless to say, I have never felt the passion for IJM's work stronger than I have today. I see God removing able fears and reservations about his call to this internship. If you are inspired as well, you can be a part of IJM's important work. Please prayerfully consider sponsoring my work with IJM by following the "Give" link at and choosing my name from the dropdown menu of interns on the donation page. 

Some other interesting notes on the day. I visited the headquarters of the influential and somewhat infamous Council on Foreign Relations.

I also used my knowledge of DC's event processes to secure a spot at the Mediterranean Leadership Award Gala Reception where Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma was supposed to be presented with an award. The senator never showed up but I fulfilled my real mission by filling up on the free food. :) 

Here's to what God brings next. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Internship Update: Getting Oriented in DC

Back in January I let you all know about my exciting internship opportunity in South Asia to work with International Justice Mission and their communications team in combatting modern slavery. Time has flown by since then. Many of you supported and are supporting my work with your money and prayers for which I am continually grateful. I hope to continue to connect with you all and share various aspects of my work on this blog. 

The first step to beginning my internship is spending a week of orientation with IJM staff and interns in Washington DC. I will be here in DC for the next week and will try to provide updates as the week progresses. 

My view of Dulles Airport as I wrote this post at 3 AM.

Here I will learn much more about IJM's mission and processes as well as to make personal connections with those who will be joining me in the fight for justice and spreading the gospel of freedom around the world. 

"I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."
- Amos 5:21-24

Monday, February 17, 2014

When Your Government Doesn't Care - Special Post

This week I was given the opportunity to publish an article in the Hillsdale Collegian, my school's weekly student newspaper. It deals with pointing out important hypocrisies in the claims and actions of government leaders. I was very appreciative of the opportunity the Collegian gave me to talk about what I see as an important and overlooked issue. I thought you all might be interested in it as well.

You can see the whole newspaper on Scribd, may article is on page 5. Otherwise you can read my article here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Life Update: My Exciting Internship Opportunity

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God
- Micah 6:8

As many of you probably already know, I like to talk about justice on this blog. Thus, it will be soon be apparent why I am very excited to give this update on my life and where God is taking me. I will graduate from Hillsdale College in May with B.A. in Politics and Philosophy. I have greatly enjoyed my time at Hillsdale and grown personally, academically, professionally, and spiritually from it. In the not too distant future, I plan to pursue graduate studies in international relations.

My interests have directed me seek out and achieve an internship position with the International Justice Mission for work that will take me to South Asia for 10-12 months beginning this summer. This wonderful opportunity will allow me to grow professionally while enabling the continued work of a strong organization committed to the promotion of justice throughout the world.

The International Justice Mission is a human rights organization initiating change to meet the needs of many living under oppression of various forms. Now in its sixteenth year, IJM has developed a highly successful model, working directly with law enforcement to bring justice for both the offenders and victims of sexual trafficking, forced labor slavery, illegal detention, illegal property seizure, citizenship issues, and sexual violence which pervade many countries around the world. IJM also works with policy makers to influence long-term development of broader and deeper commitment to justice. I invite you to browse the IJM website at

The better understanding and promotion of justice has long been the primary motivation in my life. I take seriously God’s calling on my life to use the skills he has given me to promote justice in every way possible. I have chosen to study philosophy and politics in order to dig deeper into foundations of justice and how to prudently implement it.

I am very excited by the opportunity to spend to work with IJM in Asia. I will be able to focus my work particularly on bonded slavery issues. Slavery continues to be a major problem in the modern world. Many poor persons are denied basic rights forced into unchanging state of servitude through debt and violence.

I will use my research and writing skills to study the policies and create content to facilitate IJM’s work towards sustained changes. Thousands have already been freed, but many more need justice. At the same time, the cultural experience will prepare me for a future in international relations and the further study of ethical issues.

This wonderful opportunity to learn and grow requires my providing for my living expenses and travel for my yearlong mission. Thus, I am pleased to present you with the opportunity to support me and IJM in this powerful work. I have a fundraising goal of $20,000 for my time in Asia.

I am thankful for the investment you have made in my life directly or indirectly over the years. I would gratefully appreciate the opportunity to communicate with you about my internship. You can contact me at and continue to follow this blog for updates. I would be very thankful for your continued prayers and support. And if you would have the desire to support me (and IJM) financially in this endeavor, I would be grateful. No amount is too small and all donations to IJM are tax-deductible.

If you want to give right now, you can do so easily and securely with a credit or debit card. Link here: and follow the “Support an Intern/Fellow” link on that page and be sure to choose my name from the intern dropdown menu.

If you would like to give another way or ask questions, email me:

Thank you for your prayers and support.

*Bonus Read* Follow this link to see the work IJM has already been doing on the slavery issue. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Reviewing the Shutdown: Losing Prudence

Politicians continue to speak of prudence in political discourse, but the recent government shutdown highlights a lack of actual prudence in present policy debates.

Classically, prudence is practical wisdom, the virtue of politics. Prudence unites the intellectual and moral virtues, the realms of ideas and actions. Prudence unites the best means to proper ends. As practical wisdom, prudence understands the limitations of action. Thus, in uniting ends to means, prudence always necessitates practicability, the best possible means for the best possible ends.

U.S. political history provides vivid definition to prudence in action. While maintaining the right to political revolution against tyranny, the Declaration of Independence cautions, “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes…” The implications follow neatly. The people can properly engage in political revolution responding to tyrannical government; altering a tyrannical government is a worthy goal. The caution though entails that proper means can be matched to a good end and still be imprudent. Prudence looks at the whole picture, practicability and necessity of the particular means for achieving the goal.

The recent government shutdown reinforces the Declaration’s maxim: proper means and good ends are not enough. Prudence dictates the best possible means for the best possible ends. Forgetting this important lesson, the GOP harmed its own cause and weakened the possibility of achieving the proposed end.