Not For Sale Week 1

 | June 13, 2009 11:29 PM

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GrX and Not For Sale are running a four week Bible study called “Set The Captives Free. The Return of the Global Slave Trade – and How We Can Fight It.”  You can download the study from the Not For Sale Resources.

Allison Trowbridge led the first week’s study.  I really appreciated her enthusiasm and her heart to free slaves.

What was interesting also was how much of a heart Allison had for the Bible.  She started us off by reading Psalm 73.  Now normally in Bible studies we usually read a verse or two at a time but Allison always had us read the whole chapter.  Psalm 73 talks about how the wicked prosper and Allison asked us to think about that as we consider:

  1. There are 27 million people in slavery.
  2. 17,000 people are trafficked into our borders annually.
  3. The human slave trade made $32 billion last year.  It is the fastest growing criminal activity.

She then encouraged us, like the Psalmist, to enter “the sanctuary of God” to gain a Godly perspective and not to be overwhelmed.  Allison said “Justice isn’t forcing it on others but living it.”

NFS-Logo-Small Allison then introduced Not For Sale to us and said there are opportunities to serve using our own talents and passions.  An example was a party someone hosted who loved to shop where she sold products made by people formerly enslaved.  In response to “But I’m only…” Allison said that God takes us where we are at.

Next Allison had us read Isaiah 61.  She then linked it to Luke 4:14-21.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then we looked at 2 Corinthians 1:3-6.  From these three passages Allison encouraged us to have the courage to look at suffering.

Next Allison pointed out to us SlaveryMap.org.  On this map you can look at recent incidents of slavery in your own backyard.  Here in Sunnyvale the owners of a Corean night club, the Crystal Palace, along with a former Sunnyvale police officer, “were involved in a sex trafficking ring.”  The Crystal Palace “recruited women from Korea for at least two years, authorities say, paying traveling expenses and getting visas, but then forced the women to repay their debts through prostitution.”  When I heard this I was pretty upset.

bwsgcoverHow can we “live differently” and make a difference?

  1. Try to buy products not produced by slave labor.  The Better World Shopping Guide is “the only comprehensive guide for socially and environmentally responsible consumers.”  Has anyone bought this?
  2. Buy from companies that have pledged not to use slave labor.  Free2Work is a campaign encouraging companies to publicly pledge to “be free of involuntary servitude.”
  3. Don’t buy from companies that have been indicted for slave labor like Nestle and Firestone.
  4. Chocolate is in focus lately because 70% of cocoa comes from West Africa which is connected to child slave labor.  Fortunately Cadbury and Mars have announced they will certify their dairy-milk chocolate is Fair Trade.

Finally we concluded by reading Isaiah 58.

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?

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