It's a title that comes from a Chinese proverb: "Women hold up half the sky." It's also a remarkable book by the Pulitzer prize winning author, Nicholas Kristof: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.
It was my privilege to hear Nicholas this week at a lecture series in Newport Beach. Half the Sky isn't easy reading. Nicholas Kristof says that the moral challenge of this century is "the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape." And story after story illustrates his point.
He showed pictures that made us gasp. I could sense many in the lecture room had never heard of, or seen such atrocities. They weren't sensationalist kinds of pictures. The shock was their stark reality. The reality of these women and children's daily lives in bondage to sex traffickers.
As I sat in that lecture hall, tears in my eyes, I wrote some names on a piece of notepaper: Wess Stafford, Don Stephens. I thought of them and others who are champions for oppressed women and children; whose message is as compelling as the one I was hearing. And how important it is that we do all we can not only to assist them in being heard, but be a personal part of a message of hope for women and children who literally have no voice, no lobby, no government representative, no hope if we neglect to speak up, to act on what we know.
In the Q/A session that followed, Nicholas Kristof acknowledged the contribution the evangelical community makes, but said his desire is that we begin to work more together-to become a force to be reckoned with.
Would that it be a force of compassion, hope and healing-an enduring hope through Jesus Christ!