Sometimes God lets us see some of the really cool ways he works. In October I told you in my “near & far” post that I was working through a Tim Keller article on idolatry. Well, in my October 19th update I shared how God’s Spirit opened my eyes to my Nokia phone idolatry and turned my heart to repentance and thanksgiving. I’m thankful for God’s good gift of my mobile.
Another area in which I’m seeking to unmask any idols and grow in faithfulness is how I use social networks. I want to use them well as tools, from a position of faithful thanksgiving for God’s good gifts, for real communication with people, and for faithful action in the world.
To that end, Nokia was running a contest for people to nominate their favorite charity in Facebook and say in 250 words how it lined up with Nokia’s corporate values. I entered International Justice Mission (IJM), because IJM does great work fighting human trafficking and slavery. Here’s my entry essay:
“We worked all the time. We would only stop to eat. If we tried to rest, they’d abuse us and force us to work again,” said Dambru Jani, a 20-year-old laborer who’d been enslaved in a Chennai, India brick kiln. The CNN Freedom Project reported 6/29/11 that officials from the Tamil Nadu state government, working with International Justice Mission (IJM), raided the kiln, freeing 500 slaves from brutal conditions and constant work.
I nominate International Justice Mission for the #NokiaCareUSContest because modern-day slavery is today’s urgent human rights issue. CNN Freedom Project reports: 30 million people are slaves today, international human trafficking (70% women, 50% children) generates $32 billion annually, and some 17,000 people are trafficked into the United States annually. This problem is massive.
IJM pursues a collaborative casework model to help local communities and governments stand against modern-day slavery. IJM works with local communities and governments; follows individual slavery cases through rescue, victim aftercare, perpetrator accountability in local courts, identifying and confronting corruption along the way; trains local law enforcement, advocates stronger laws to bring perpetrators to justice, and strengthens local communities against slavery.
IJM’s work aligns with Nokia’s core values: Passion for Innovation by working with and improving local criminal justice systems; Very Human rescue and care for victims, Achieving Together by building trust with national partners to reduce slavery, and Engaging You by raising global awareness of the massive scale of slavery and by providing quantifiable results freeing slaves and taking perpetrators to court.
After the initial entry, people would vote on Twitter to narrow the list of charities to a top-ten list. Then Nokia’s judges would pick the one they felt best fit Nokia‘s core values and give that charity a $2,500 check. I tweeted. You tweeted. Perhaps you prayed that IJM would win, as I did. Then in early December NokiaCareUS tweeted:
Winner of the #NokiaCareUSContest is…..International Justice Mission!! cc @IJMHQ @jkepler
International Justice Mission won their contest, and even while I’m raising support for Ukraine I was able to use some of God’s good technology gifts to give $2,500 and some publicity to IJM! You can see the photo directly here: http://t.co/0ryMMhcz:
The really cool part of this story is that God took something I’d made an idol of, unmasked it for me, opened my eyes to see his gift-goodness in new ways, and let me see Nokia’s contest advertizement. Thank God with me for his grace, for his power changing my heart, and for his good gifts to me and to everyone who uses technology or social networks to do good in the world.
Perhaps Caesar Augustus idolized his power and glory when he issued the order for all the world to be registered. Yet God used the census to send a young expectant Jewish couple to Bethlehem, setting the stage for the central act in all history. Praise God with me this Advent that he hasn’t abandoned his world, but worked in it, and graciously still works in it to push back the effects of the Fall and redeem all things–even my idolatries.