I have longed for thy salvation, O L-RD; and thy Torah is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments. Psalm 119:174-176

12 October 2012

The Girl Effect, part 2

Let's light up this world with the fire of our souls!

Did you hear what Rabbi Trugman said? Lighting the world by the fire in our hearts. Sounds very familiar doesn't it?

14 You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father..."- Matthew 5

32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”
- Luke 24

Think about what Rabbi Trugman said, and now recall all the Scriptures that talk about us living out the directives of G-d, and how on fire for G-d all these people are when given such a grand task to complete. Think about how you felt, when for the first time, you felt the calling of G-d on your life, or you realised that G-d was giving you a task to complete, a clear direction, a goal - beyond the goal of simply finishing the race.

This is a moment of unprecedented opportunity for the church. This is a moment to speak into this void with a positive, affirming gospel message for a global audience of women who are searching for hope. This is a moment for believers to embody a gospel culture where both halves of the church are thriving because following Jesus produces a climate of honor, value and love and we are serving God together as he intended from the beginning.
- Carolyn Custis James, "Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women", page 46

I'm currently reading this wonderful book. I'm about four chapters in, but it is seriously rocking my world. It's affirming things that I've noticed, and been feeling deep down in my spirit for a while. 
As we go along this road together, discussing "The Girl Effect", I want to share some things that stood out from Carolyn Custis James' book, that might also change the way you see women of faith; and how you live your live as a woman of faith.  I want to encourage you to put your thinking caps on, and scour the Scriptures, and investigate your heart and find out what G-d has in store for you, and all the women around you that you influence. Because I love you all just that much.

I didn't realize God expected so much of me. I grieve the loss of the church when so many Christian women believe it's possible to subsist on an anorexic spiritual diet... far too many women and girls are living with small visions of themselves and of their purpose.
- Carolyn Custis James, "Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women", page 19

For years I've thought something very similar, but I had no idea what to do about it.  I know now. As the well known saying says, "Let go, and let G-d."  Perhaps Nike says it better? "Just do it."

If you know for sure G-d is leading you to do something radical, something so life changing, something awesome to behold - even if only in a "tiny" arena, such as childcare or hospitality - go at it to the fullest of your abilities in G-d.  Follow proper religious channels, but if they will not allow it, step out on faith. Just do it. Walk that path.

G-d never said it would be easy for us. He never said that the narrow road wouldn't cause us to lose ties to family or friends, or that we will not be persecuted at some point for our choices. He never said we will always have our health, or our wealth, our homes, or good weather.

Contrary to the "name it and claim it" crowd, we can pray for things - but sometimes G-d says "No". Sometimes he says "maybe" or "wait a little while". And sometimes He will say "I think we need to talk about this." Like Jacob, who was given the new name "Israel" did, we will wrestle with G-d. We will question Him. We might fight. We might have words. We might quit speaking for a little while, or, we might speak very often at each other, while only one of us is speaking directly to their intended audience. We might get a little passive aggressive. We might, maybe, curse outright, or cry, or find ourselves in a deep depression.  But in the end, we will come out of this struggle with a new purpose.

As this blog post is about "The Girl Effect", I do want to share another one of their videos. And I want you to carefully follow everything said in it, because I have something to say afterwards that is similar, but not quite the same. OK? Do you follow me? Hang on tight, because this will be an interesting ride.

Did you catch all of that? If you aren't sure if you did, feel free to watch it again before reading what I wrote down below this line. My words certainly can wait.

For those of you who may have a slower connection and cannot view the video, the entire message is here.
The world is a mess.
So, what else is new?
What if there was an unexpected solution, that could turn this sinking ship around?
Would you even know it if you saw it?
It's not the internet.
It's not science.
It's not the government.
It's not money.
It's (dramatic pause) a girl.

Imagine a girl living in poverty.
No. Go ahead. Really, imagine her.

Girl (flies flying about), Baby, Husband, Hunger, HIV

Now, pretend that you can fix this picture.

Girl (flies flying about), Baby, Husband, Hunger, HIV (image slowly removes everything, leaving only "girl")

OK. Now she has a chance.
Let's put her in a school uniform, and see her get a loan to buy a cow; and use her profits from the milk to help her family.
Pretty soon, her cow becomes a herd.
And she becomes the business owner who brings clean water to the village.
Which makes the men respect her good sense, and invite her to the village council where she convinces everyone that all girls are valuable.
Soon, more girls have a chance and the village is thriving.

Lower HIV
Healthier Babies

Which means the economy of the entire country improves and the whole world is better off.

Are you following what's happening here?
Girl -> School -> Cow -> $ -> Business -> Clean H2O -> Social change -> Stronger economy -> Better world

It's called the girl effect.
Multiply that by 6 million girls in the developing world, and you've just changed the course of history.

The Girl Effect.
It's no big deal. Just the future of humanity.

 Now, given that this is a secular NGO project, you will not see mention of G-d anywhere in this picture. So pause a second. Think about this.

Y'shua came to this earth. He was in the uterus of Miriam (Mary) for nine months. He made himself a little lower than G-d, just like we are, and then lived life on earth for around thirty three years.
He studied, no doubt, in a rabbinic setting, following many Pharisaical teachings and modified them to be in accord with Scripture. He called women and men as his disciples. Right there with the twelve (male) disciples, there were a host of women there with him. Some of them, we get to know by their first names.

There were the Marys, the mothers and wives of the other disciples,  possibly His sisters and cousins, His mother, women in high born places, and women in very low places.  He even called a Samaritan woman, after sitting at Jacob's well. The well that Jacob fought long and hard for, which had provided water for a couple thousand years by the time he sat down in person next to it, in a fleshly body just like ours. Alone.
Along came a shunned woman, not at the normal time of day when other women gathered to bring water - but alone, so that she would not be hassled.

Mid-4th century Lunette in an arcosolium, catacomb on the Via Latina
39 Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” 40 When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, 41 long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”
-John 4

 Did you notice that? Are you sure? This woman, talked with Y'shua, her life was so changed by what she knew that she went and evangelized her entire village. Y'shua stayed for two days in Samaria, so that more could hear His message and believe.
This woman was unhindered by the religious leadership, her family, and the town council from all appearances. She offered to give Y'shua water, and He gave her Living Water, which she then shared with everyone who she knew, or who could possibly know her.

She's not the only one either. So many women did exactly that, until some point in Church History, where it became "unseeming" for women to have anything to do with education, medicine, midwifery, theology, or even mixing in polite society, unless she were a nun. Then, all of these things were available to her for a price. The price of an ascetic lifestyle.  This worked for many women, but did not work for many millions of others.

 Think about "The Girl Effect". Put Y'shua in that message. Rewind to some point between the time the girl is 3 and 13. Give her a religious education as well as a secular education. Ensure that she knows about G-d and His destiny for his light bearers in the world. That she is made in the image of G-d, just like every other child, whether male or female. Ensure that she knows that the sin of the fall does not rest squarely on the shoulders of Eve, nor is she a "daughter of Eve" looking to destroy mankind. Ensure that she knows that in Messiah, she too is a disciple, called to do many things.

Perhaps one day, she will be like the daughters of Phillip or a great lady like Lydia, Deborah, Mary, Martha, Junia, Euodia, Syntyche, Eunice or Lois. Perhaps one day, she too will impact her entire village, and Y'shua, by way of the Bible, will stay a while with them.  Maybe she will be the next Amy Carmichael, or Lottie Moon... Or maybe she will the the nice lady in the neighborhood whose home is known for its hospitality.

This "Girl Effect" may radically change the face of Christianity in our world, as it has in many places, such as Korea - where women are given a voice, places of leadership that the Bible readily allows to us, and we find a Gospel explosion take place.

Perhaps, we might see this very thing happen in the next generation, once all of us ladies are empowered to bring up our children or those who we mentor and reach out to; and we have become comfortable with the Gospel message that we are greatly empowered with. Perhaps it will take another generation who has learned these things are theirs for the taking. And like the vision of Alice Paul, women will change the world for the better, simply because they now have a voice.

Think about that for a little bit.

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
-Philippians 4

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