Have you noticed the fast growing social justice trend? Each day seems to see as many new social justice organizations as Starbucks locations. If you name a subject or cause I can probably name at least three new groups fighting for that issue.
First let me say I was being somewhat sarcastic above: I am NOT against social justice groups. I am very happy this generation seems to be shedding the apathy that's plagued us in the past. I am excited to see people taking action rather than just complaining about the world's problems. What I am worried about is that this is just another trend which will die out when the novelty fades.
So often I see causes and movements rise to popularity, then fade as people get bored or "grow up" and enter "the real world". It seems that, like music styles, even causes run their course and then become trendy or outdated. Kids that get involved get mad when everyone else suddenly likes a particular organization so they move on to the next new thing. The passion we have for making a difference often fades as we graduate college and enter the workforce so we can pay for the American dream we're programmed to believe is our prize.
I've watched this scenario play out over the last 17 years of my involvement in the pro-life movement. In 1993 I started an organization called Rock For Life. For years the pro-life movement had been mostly older people who had no real connection or understanding of youth culture. When we started, there were very few adults who considered Rock For Life relevant or necessary.
Over the next few years I watched as the popularity of Rock For Life and the youth pro-life movement began to grow. I partnered with the guitar player from a popular Christian rock band, Erik Whittington and we began to see things blow up. By the late 90s and early 2000s we saw an explosion of kids wanting to take a stand against abortion.
For several years Rock For Life was one of the most popular and well known pro-life organizations in the country. Our presence and popularity at music festival was only rivaled by the biggest bands. You couldn't walk five feet at most festivals without seeing someone wearing a Rock For Life shirt. It seemed there was a momentum that could not be stopped as more and more kids wanted to get involved. However, it seems this was just a trend to most people.
For the past five years I've been running Stand True and have seen incredible growth in this new organization. With a different approach we have seen a new resurgence of young people wanting to get involved with pro-life. I have once again seen a passion from young people wanting to take a stand for the innocent children who are being killed by abortion. I just wonder if this too is just another trend that will die off when the novelty wears thin again.
Now I know there are many of you who have been involved with Rock For Life or Stand True for many years. I know that this is not just a trend to a lot of you. I understand that even though the novelty has worn off for many, there is still a faithful group of people who are committed to the work we do.
I understand we have to live life and take care of responsibilities. I do, however, wonder if what we have been sold as the "American Dream" is a good excuse to forget what we were passionate about in our youth? It seems that as long as we have the good job, nice house, 2.5 kids and are plugged into a local church with the best programs and the coolest coffee bar we are satisfied. We get so comfortable inside our perfect Christian community bubble that we forget what is going outside. As long as we get our fix of Fox News and vote republican we feel we know what is going on and are satisfied that our politicians are taking care of things.
If that is what growing up and becoming a responsible adult is, then I refuse to take part. If that is what it means to be a good "American Christian", I need a new way to refer to myself. I will not allow the passion of my youth to be replaced by the complacency and apathy of adulthood.
I am excited to see so many young people wanting to make a difference in this world. I am thrilled to see so many great organizations starting up and wanting to take action against things like hunger, thirst, poverty, AIDS, human trafficking and abortion. I want to see these organizations succeed and take root in our hearts so the passion never dies. I don't want to see this new popularity for social justice ever die off like a trend.
Now more than ever there are great opportunities to get involved in organizations that make a real difference in the world. With the internet and social networking websites it's easy to find a cause. Why not turn off the corporate news and research events the cameras won't show you? Turn off reality shows and see the reality of a world that needs us to love our neighbor as our self?
If you think our next president will have the answer or the change we need, you're fooling yourself. If you think just by voting for someone who is either "socially conservative" or "standing for change" you've done your part, you will be sadly disappointed. Voting is important, but it cannot be the extent of our action. Get involved.
I know there are many great organizations to get involved with out there. Not every one of these will be organization you agree with completely, but they do a lot of good work. Please take some time to see if any of them have programs or projects you can get involved with.
Stand True - Christ Centered Pro-life - http://www.standtrue.com
Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity - http://www.silentday.org
The Love Alliance - http://www.thelovealliance.net
Compassion International - http://www.compassion.com
Survivors - http://www.survivors.la
Blood:Water Mission - http://www.bloodwatermission.com
Heart Support - http://www.heartsupport.com
Abort73 - http://www.abort73.com
Rock For Life - http://www.rockforlife.org
For Christ I stand,
Bryan Kemper - firstname.lastname@example.org