08 March 2012

KONY 2012: Is this a Christian movement?

Kony 2012 is about to become one of the largest social media movements that we have ever seen.

Christians around the world have already started posting, sharing, liking and tweeting the film like there is nothing else on the internet. 

My purpose in writing is to share concerns as a Christian missionary within Uganda and to encourage Christians to understand the nature of this movement.

Let’s start with the positives:
1.     Joseph Kony should be stopped. If I don’t agree with that then you should start a campaign to capture me in 2012...
2.     Children are precious and valuable in the sight of God and should never have to live in fear of abduction, rape and violence.
3.     Making children into soilders should capture the attention of the world.
4.     These guys know how to create a movement, awareness and gut-wrenching films and that is their primary work. Other Christian organizations can and should learn from their methods.  Imagine if we were this creative in promoting the gospel!
Invisible Children is not a Christian Organization
My primary concern is that Christians may view this as a religious movement. Although it sounds a bit more like the Crusades! This is a social political movement not a Christian movement.

Invisible Children does not claim to be a gospel-movement or even a Christian organization. Read the Kony 2012 website and you will not find any obvious reference to their faith or beliefs. As Christians we need to be aware of this and make sure that we are not promoting it in our churches as a Christian movement.

Due to the methods and media involved with this movement many youth (and also adults) are getting swept up in it. My fear is that youth pastors (of which I was one from 1998-2005) around the US will take up this cause giving the youth in the church the idea that this is what Christianity is all about. My fear is that pastors will bring this into the pulpit as a Christian cause.  Which leads to my second point – 

Invisible Children is not promoting a Christian view of justice

If we are going to teach the church about justice let's teach about the justice that God desires.

Caring for and defending the orphans and vulnerable members of society is promoted throughout scriptures:

Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Psalm 82:3

Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17

God himself is seen as the defender of the oppressed:

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:17-18

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. Psalm 68:5
Seeking justice is to defend the oppressed but it seems that the focus of Kony 2012 and the weight of their resources are instead focused on capturing the guilty. On April 20 do you want your Youth Group out promoting an international manhunt?

I realize that the Rihanna, Tebow, Obama and Buffet are powerful people but as Christians do we really believe that social media is now more powerful than prayer?

Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the LORD that one gets justice. Proverbs 29:26

As Christians we need to ask ourselves if this is where we should be putting our efforts and money? Why not support the education, health care and most of all the spiritual development of these vulnerable children?

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

We need to be concerned about “looking after” the oppressed rather than chasing after the “oppressors.”

I'll post more on this tomorrow but for now...
Think before you post, share, like or tweet!
This is a political cause and not a Christian cause... treat it as such!


WhiskeyLynx said...

As a Christian, I don't see why their not being a Christian organization is an issue. Surely "looking after the oppressed" entails liberating them from oppression? Or are we just supposed to send them care packages and greeting cards in the hopes that should their child be abducted, our care packages will assuage some of the hurt? That, in my opinion, is ludicrous and laughable.
Don't misunderstand me when I say this, but I believe prayer only goes so far before we need to actively do something. You can pray as much as you want to win the lottery, but without buying a lottery ticket, your chances are slim. I believe the same principle applies here. We can pray all we want that Joseph Kony will somehow be removed from his position and that the LRA will be disbanded, but how long will we pray until someone steps up (maybe under the guidance of God?)to do that? James says that faith without works is dead. In this case, I see "faith" as the prayer that things will change, and "works" as the actions of making an informed decision to support charities that help these children and their families, in whichever way you see fit.
Okay, so they're not handing the kids a Bible when they're reunited with their families. But at the same time, show me a Christian organization that is putting in the same amount of effort in time and money to raise awareness about this situation. And I will research them and support them.

donozan said...

Samaritan's Purse has been in northern Uganda since 1994. Has an overhead of 11-12% provides aid with the gospel. While building sustaining and restorative programs with the Ugandans.


Jeff said...

Hi Whiskey

I completely agree that faith without works is dead - Amen!

But just because IC is popular and has the best film crew doesn't mean that they are doing the best work.

I would point you to ALARM Uganda - http://alarm-inc.org/where_we_serve/uganda

Or Samaritans Purse like donozan said.

Africa Renewal Ministries - www.africarenewal.org

Hope Alive - hopealiveuganda.org

I can go on and on and tell you clearly that unless Christ is preached our work of capturing Kony is nothing more than a social political movement.

ReasonFeel said...

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit”, says the Lord (Zech. 4:6)

ReasonFeel said...

There are many missionaries who have devoted 40+ years to the work in Africa; who have given up medical practices, 6 figure salaries and sold their houses; who moved their whole families to work and care for the African people; some have even given their lives for the work (An eye doctor-Dr. Little was killed just last year). Once KONY and "KONY 2012" are gone, then what? When KONY and "KONY 2012" pass away-by force or by age-what then? I know you do, too, that the people who have my respect are those who have given not just their time or cinematic expertise, but their blood, sweat and tears-their whole lives (and livelihood) to love the African People.

ReasonFeel said...

Thanks Jeff for giving a reasoned, coherent and cogent word of insight into the KONY 2012 movement. I hope many people read your post.

In Christ and For God's Glory Alone

Tami said...

It seems like your primary concern is that Christians do not have discernment to go to the Lord and ask Him according to Proverbs 3:5-8 what He would have them do. And that you are afraid the pastors and youth pastors don't have discernment to teach the truth. This really then isn't about IC but about individuals listening the the Holy Spirit lead them. I believe God can and does use organizations that aren't "Christian" to do His work. And I am joining in for the one night - but I won't be supporting them on an ongoing basis. And our "Cover the Night" activity will have a Christ centered, God is sovereign, theme which demands we give thanks and rejoice.
And as Christians, I think we should as GOD where HE wants us as His ambassadors to be putting our efforts and His money.

His ways are higher than mine.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

God uses strange ways to accomplish his plans... He used Rahab... I think research is important but we still have to each go and ask the Lord. And we GET to ask Him!!