Just realized I haven’t posted anything on here in awhile. Hmmm, I’d better change that. Stay tuned…
I’m writing this more to get some thoughts out of my head than to really say anything profound about the cultural phenomenon that has become Kony 2012. This will be a short post about something that, for whatever reason, has really struck a chord with me.
I am not an activist. I give to charities. I sponsor a Compassion child. But I generally do not protest, picket, rally, fundraise, etc. etc. etc. I don’t object to activism, in fact I admire it, but I’ve never been moved to join in…
…until I saw the Kony 2012 video.
Like many of you, I’ve been aware of the diabolical injustices of life for children in many parts of Africa for quite some time, so the facts put forth in the Kony 2012 video weren’t new to me. But the vision of the campaign and the potential to get millions of people rallying around one singular, focused cause like bringing Joseph Kony to justice was new to me, and it moved me. I bought the kit, and shared the video in earnest. I mean, who could object to helping the world criminal court bring Enemy #1 to justice through something as simple as advocacy and publicity?
As it turns out, a lot of people could and did object, and continue to do so at an alarming rate. And now, filmmaker and co-founder of Invisible Children, Jason Russel, has been detained for some strange and lewd public behaviour which you can read about here: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/jason-russell-san-diego-invisible-children-kony-2012-142970255.html
No doubt Russel’s detractors will use this mental breakdown as fodder to further substantiate their criticisms of Russel’s own motives and his organization’s much maligned policies. They will do so without ever realizing that it is highly likely that they themselves are in fact the ones to blame for Russel’s recent bizarre behaviour.
Imagine you are an idealistic young creative, moved by a real experience of inexplicable human suffering. Moved so deeply that you decide to make it your life’s work to raise awareness of these appalling injustices amongst a population that has the resources and the wherewithal to do something about it. You start a non-profit, you begin to raise some money, all the while telling everyone that you are an awareness and advocacy group and not a humanitarian aid organization. People give you money, on those terms. You realize you’ve raised enough money to actually make your dream happen. You’ve figured out a way to put your cause in front of hundreds of millions of people all over the world and some simple ways that they themselves can join in if they feel so inspired. It’s time to act.
You launch your campaign. Your campaign that you’ve poured your life into for the last 9 years. You pray earnestly that it will actually make a difference. It works!!! The video goes viral. Millions order kits and join the cause. You’re elated! You can hardly contain your excitement and you bask in the feeling that you’ve actually done the hard work to make a real difference in this broken world…
…and then the critics, the cynics, and so-called “experts” start to surface. They question your motives. They question your character. They question your organization. They tell people not to support you, instead soliciting support for their own pet organizations which are obviously far more effective. They think you’ve failed to understand a complex problem because your solution is too “simplistic”. They say it like they think you’re an imbecile, like you didn’t already know that arresting Joseph Kony wouldn’t solve every problem in Africa.
They bring up some legitimate criticisms too, like “what about how Ugandans feel about making Kony famous?” and “why isn’t your organization more transparent with it’s finances”? You try to address these criticisms, but you realize the damage has already been done. Your campaign is irreparably tainted and you have been labeled at best a “well-intentioned do-gooder who got it completely wrong” and at worst a self-interested, egotistical fraud.
How would you feel?
Look, I don’t know Jason Russel and I don’t know everything about Invisible Children. I think they’ve made some mistakes and earned some of the criticism they’ve received, but I still think Kony 2012 is a great idea. There are too many problems in Africa to solve them all. They decided to pick one specific problem - the fact that Joseph Kony is still at large - and try to solve that. It may not work. But at least they’re trying to do something. That takes conviction, imagination and far more effort than I, or any cynic, can ever imagine. The pressures of instant fame and life in the hot-seat have obviously taken their toll on Mr. Russel. Can we get off his back for awhile…please?
Just wanted to share this for those of you who attended the clinic and/or the concert. It was an excellent weekend at Moncton Wesleyan learning from Stu G and hearing some of my favourite songs played by the man who wrote or co-wrote them. Here’s Stu’s message from his blog:
from the guitar clinic and concert at guitar church moncton canada.
had a really great weekend doing this, loved leading the clinic and really loved playing a mixture of delirious, OSS and self penned songs in the concert.
thanks to all who came and to those who played with me in the band.
Delirious performing “Investigate” at their farewell show - Just wanted to remind everyone how great and influential this band was and continues to be in modern worship music. Stu Garrard, their lead guitar player, will be performing a FREE concert this Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. in the Moncton Wesleyan Life Centre, then he’ll be sitting in with us for our regular morning service on Sunday at 10:30. All are welcome! …And if you’re getting tired of hearing me go on about Stu G, sorry, I’m just a little excited!
Fantastic acoustic version of Kanye’s “Heartless” by Stu G. Stu will be at Moncton Wesleyan on Jan. 14th at 10:00 a.m. for a 2-hour guitar clinic to kick-off this year’s Guitar Church program. He’ll also be performing a FREE concert that night at 7:00 p.m. sharing some Delirious songs and some from his new band One Sonic Society. Mark it on your calendar and come on out!
If you’ve never seen the incredible process Jeremy Cowart uses to create some pretty moving artwork, check out this time lapse video/artwork he did for People of the Second Chance. Insight into his artistic process makes the finished piece 100 times more powerful when you see some of the subjects he used to create his composite image.
Can’t remember the last time I was more excited for a new record to come out.
REcreate Fine Arts Exhibition - We’re excited about this one! A chance for worshiping artists to share their talent with each other and the local community for an entire week this fall. Visual and performing arts will all be represented. If you’re an artist connected to Moncton Wesleyan in any way, we want your participation!
The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
- Psalm 103:15-16
The rapid decline and passing of NDP leader Jack Layton today has me thinking of this verse and others like it. How a man at the height of his political career, having achieved more than any NDP leader in history, can have it all ripped away suddenly, without prejudice or passion, by the common curse of mankind - death. Just a few short months ago, he looked like an unstoppable force. Now he is gone.
My Dad had prostate cancer just a short while ago. It seemed like a pretty innocuous, business-as-usual type of cancer. One quick operation and it was gone. Not much worse than tonsillitis or appendicitis, really. To think that it could’ve had this type of effect on him, or still may, is a sobering and scary thought. Jack Layton was given a clean bill of health after his prostate treatment. So was my Dad. Some day the odds are good that I’ll probably be diagnosed with prostate cancer myself. Will I beat it? Will it beat me?
Regardless of what you thought of the man or his politics, it’s sad to see a man taken in the prime of his life. He’ll never have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of this great political victory, everything that he’d been working towards for decades. Does a thought like this change how you’ll spend your own time and talent today, tomorrow, forever? Should it?
Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.