It just wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t find a way to tie in my recent posts on Dressember to one of my favorite subjects of all time: books. Reading has been a big part of making me who I am today, and my thoughts and actions in raising funds and awareness for International Justice Mission this Dressember have also been shaped by books.
Without further fanfare or explanation, let’s jump into my list of recommended reading on the topic of the fight against human trafficking today:
* The Gospels. I don’t mean for this to be the 3rd grade Sunday School answer of “The Bible” to the question “What should I read?” Of course the Bible has something to say on the topic of taking a stand for the least of these in the face of their oppressors — but just because the answer seems obvious doesn’t make it any less important to mention it. The number one reason I want to publicly call attention to the tragedy of modern slavery is that Jesus says he came to this earth to bring freedom. He brings freedom from slavery to sin and death, and by helping to eliminate physical slavery on this earth we are living out a picture of what he has done in our hearts. You can read more about my thoughts on Dressember and the coming of Christ in this blog post.
* Pursuing Justice by Ken Wytsma. For a comprehensive read on the question of justice and why anyone who is a follower of Jesus should be involved in the work of making right the wrongs of this world, Wytsma’s Pursuing Justice is an excellent, thought-provoking choice. I wrote a full review of the book here, but these lines are from one of my favorite paragraphs in that write-up: “Social justice seems to have become a fad in certain circles, and a lot of us really don’t need another pet cause. What we need is a deeper understanding of what the Bible says about justice so that our heart and our actions line up as we seek to live out a right relationship with God and with other people. After reading the book, I feel challenged not just to continue finding ways to give my time, money, prayer, and efforts to serving in my hometown or around the world, but to look more closely at my personal relationships and how they are or are not a reflection of the gospel of Christ, how I am or am not considering others before myself (Philippians 2:3-4).”
* Sold by Patricia McCormick. I also mentioned this young adult novel on my blog a while back, as part of my list of fave books in 2010. The memory of this story still haunts me in its nightmare portrayal of a young girl trafficked from her home in Nepal to a brothel in India. To understand the realities faced by millions of girls around the world, told in heartbreakingly poetic language, you must read this novel.
* Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, if you have a lot of time to read — or The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn if you want a more succinct version of Alcorn’s teaching on giving. Over and over Alcorn points the reader back to the words of Jesus: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21) A pretty simple concept, but a life-changing one. If I’m living a life of following Jesus, it should be reflected in how I spend my money, including spending more on supporting work that will last eternally (like bringing freedom to slaves) than on junk I don’t really need.
* The Locust Effect by Gary Haugen. This last one I haven’t read yet — it will be released February 2014, but you can read a free preview here. Written by the president of International Justice Mission, the book explores the idea that the end of poverty requires the end of violence.
Are there any other titles you can think to add to this short list?
(There’s still plenty of time to give to our Dressember campaign — we’re still quite a bit short of our goal and would love your help! You can donate here. 100% of Dressember funds go to the work of IJM. Thanks!)