"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
There really aren't words for what I've just seen. But I need to try, so at the very least you will click on a weblink -- and hopefully do a lot more.
Reynolds Whalen, Gary Cartwright and +John Lipscomb have introduced me to what is happening in Northern Uganda. The Lord's Resistance Army has been waging a 20-year war against the Ugandan government ... but more truthfully it has been waging the war against its own people, particularly the children. (they also are being funded by the Khartoum government in Sudan and have been taking their war across the border into Southern Sudan).
The LRA gets soliders by abducting children between the ages of 5-13, brutally conditioning them and training them to be killers through desensitation, abuse, torture, manipulation and murder. A lucky few escape.
In the small villages of Northern Uganda, children live in continual fear. Every evening, while their parents stay to protect their meager land and belongings, the children walk for miles into the city, where they are safe from the rebels. They by the hundreds and thousands in parking lots, bus depots and anywhere they can find space. Before dawn they begin their journey back and the cycle continues.
Three Americans in their early 20s went to Northern Uganda in 2003, documented the stories of these children and turned it into this film: Invisible Children. It's a little less than an hour and it may be the most amazing and powerful film I've ever seen. It lays out very plainly, very truthfully, the lives of these children.
I could describe the film beyond that, but it would do such an injustice to it that I won't even try. Go to the website and you can see many clips and read the story and learn about the movement to put pressure on the U.S. government to bring an end to this conflict.
I'm coming home with several DVDs of this. Reynolds and Landen, I've got one earmarked for you and ECM. This directly relates to our relationship with Southern Sudan (and Reynolds can continue to help us connect those dots), so as a diocese, this is important for us.
I'm thinking we also need to include this in EGR's General Convention presence. Have a screening of the film. Have the bishops from there, who have worked with Bishop Lipscomb and others, be available to tell their story. Certainly the fourth Millennium Development Goal: Reduce Child Mortality doesn't just have to do with disease but with children who are being slaughtered and live in death's fearful shadow.
EGR resources and connects the church to embrace what one person, one congregation, one diocese and one church can do to make this mission of global reconciliation happen.
Want to find out more ... check our our website at www.e4gr.org.
"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."