The Sunday Supplement: An Inconvenient Angel

Do we have guardian angels? Personal angels who go where we go, protect us, guide us … even speak with us? I don’t know for certain, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

There are many Biblical references to angels: “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7). “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:11). To name but two.

And there’s experiential evidence too. All of us probably have stories where a complete stranger seemed to appear at just the right time to prevent an accident, help us make the right decision, find something that was lost etc. etc.

I came across this lovely story recently, which I am happy to re-post. It certainly makes you think …

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Have you ever had a slow moving car pull out in front of you while you were rushing to get somewhere important?

Well, that’s happened to me many times.

GRRRRRRR!!!!!

Ah…but there was this one time that I had to thank my lucky stars for such an encounter!

Picture it…rural Georgia 19??

Lady G, a young mother and graduate student, was driving like a bat out of hell in order to make it to class on time.

I was running, oh I don’t know, 85-ish in a 55 mph kinda situation.

(My brother Tack says I should have been arrested as that was, indeed, ‘reckless driving.’)

Anyway…

I was making pretty good time when, seemingly out of nowhere, this 130 year old man pulled out of a side road onto MY highway!

Yessir!

He was going my way!

Or maybe I was going his way?

Who knows?

Whatever…

Moving on…

Fortunately, I…

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The Sunday Supplement: Slavery 2.0

In 1833, slavery was abolished in the UK. In 1865, it was abolished in the US. In 2017, there are more slaves than in any time in history.

A few appalling statistics

  • There are an estimated 20 to 30 million slaves across the world today. As they are frequently hidden, it’s difficult to be exact.
  • An estimated number of 800,000 people are illegally trafficked across international borders every year.
  • 161 countries are affected by human trafficking.
  • The total yearly profit gained from human trafficking is over $30 billion a year.
  • In terms of profit, human trafficking is ranked as the 3rd largest international crime industry – just behind drugs and arms trafficking.
  • Most modern slavery victims are between 18 and 24 years old.
  • 1.2 million children are enslaved through forced labor and exploited in the sexual industry each year.

Different kinds of slavery

Sexual exploitation: Working in brothels, Internet sex, sexual abuse, forced prostitution and the abuse of children for the production of child abuse images.

Domestic servitude:  This involves a victim being forced to work in private households, performing domestic chores and childcare duties.

Forced labour:  It can happen in various industries, including construction, manufacturing, laying driveways, hospitality, food packaging, agriculture, maritime and beauty.

Criminal exploitation: The exploitation of a person to commit a crime, such as pick-pocketing, shop-lifting and drug trafficking, to get financial gain for the trafficker.

Other forms of exploitation: Organ removal, forced begging, cannabis cultivation, forced benefit fraud, forced marriage and illegal adoption.

Why is slavery so prevalent today?

Migration: Millions are on the move from poorer countries to wealthier ones, and from poorer rural areas to cities, in search of work. Far from home, often with no money, and unable to speak the local language, migrants are especially vulnerable to being tricked by traffickers pretending to be legitimate labor recruiters.

Corruption: Although slavery is illegal everywhere, some governments are so corrupt that they turn a blind eye to slavery, allowing it to go unpunished, or even thrive. In many countries, those in slavery have no police protection from predatory traffickers.

Discrimination: Social inequality is increasing, based on factors such as gender, race, tribe or caste, creates widespread economic and social vulnerability.

What can I do?

Here are some links to specific pages of organizations that are active in this area, with a host of practical actions:

Stop The Traffik

Free The Slaves

Anti-Slavery

Not For Sale

Alliance Against Modern Slavery

Walk Free

A view from the UK

A view from the US

 

 

 

The Sunday Supplement: God in the Jazz Club

I’m a great fan of Paul Simon, and have been for the past 40 years. One of his most recent songs is “Wristband”. It’s about a performer (I like to think in a jazz club) who “stepped outside the backstage door, to breathe some nicotine, and maybe check my mailbox,” when the stage door slams shuts behind him. He has no option but to go around the front of the jazz club to get back in … but he doesn’t have a wristband. So he can’t. As the bouncer tells him: “If you don’t have a wristband, my man, You don’t get through the door.”

This used to sum up my view of God for many years of my life.

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