Kony Critics & Throwing Rocks
by Jen Hatmaker on March 15th, 2012

When I was a senior in college in 1996, the administration assigned us all an “email address.” I distinctly remember rolling my eyes, saying: “Who in the world is going to send me a [finger quotes] email? Like anyone is going to use this! How would they even know? If someone wants to talk to me, they’ll just call me, for cripes sake! What a waste of time!”

I got my first real email address in 2005. You read that right.

I am often slightly late to the proverbial party.

So it is today with my response to the Stop Kony campaign last week. (I like to strike when the iron is tepid.) The thing is, the response evoked such strong emotions in me, I decided to let the dust settle so I wouldn’t rip off a hysterical, manic blog while my cooler head was waiting to prevail.

With every new cynical response that hit the interwebs after the Stop Kony campaign was launched, parroting each other, citing the same (sometimes unvalidated) statistics and coining exact phrases, my blood boiled a little more. I wrote scathing rebuttals in my head. I had imaginary confrontations. I dug out my Lamaze breathing techniques and tried to go Zen.

Here is where I’ve landed:

There were plenty of good, solid points made on either side of the issue. (Rachel Held Evans did a great job compiling resources already here, if you'd like a glimpse into the controversy.) I’m always encouraged when a justice issue finds its place in the spotlight. It’s healthy to discuss integrity, empowerment, sustainability, and philanthropy ethics. These are often shoved into a corner, neglected and abused. I deeply appreciate people who address these matters with respect and intelligence. Discussing how to help well, how to serve well, how to live well, how to really, really improve Planet Earth as its citizens…I’m for this. I’m for learning. I’m for educating ourselves. I’m for reforming. I’m for constructive criticism. I’m for evaluating. I’m for reevaluating.

I’m not for throwing rocks at the soldiers from the sidelines.

After sifting through all the rubble, when I dug deep to discover what was upsetting me so deeply, a couple of things rose to the top.

The Invisible Children folks have been at this for almost ten years. They’ve sweat blood and tears over the carnage in Uganda. They’ve rallied students, Senators, soccer moms. They’ve begged policy makers to listen and care. They’ve stood side-by-side Ugandan children and families. This is their mission. It’s very unambiguous. They never claimed to be anything other than exactly what they are. Their records are transparent and available.

In their own words: “Our work in the United States focuses on advocacy and inspiring America’s youth to ‘do more than just watch.’ We believe that by uniting our voices we can use the systems, influence, and resources of the United States to expedite an end to the conflict.” This is what they do. And today, tens of millions of people know who Joseph Kony is and the atrocities he has committed because of IC. They’ve refused to sit silently by, choosing to raise their voices instead, telling victims: We see you. We are not okay with this.

So this aggressive, even brutal attack on them in the aftermath of the campaign explosion has me deeply unsettled. People have lobbed every sort of criticism their way. Why don’t you care about people in America? What about the other issues in Uganda? Why do you spend money on filmmaking? Why are you making a big deal out of something that occurred over 30 years and created fewer victims than other crises?

They’ve been called “self-aggrandizing foreigners”, “attention colonialists”, “slacktivists,” “soft bigots”, “delusional marketing experts out for an adventure,” “miserable frauds.” Then critics galore casually reduced this effort, including every single white American who dared be moved by the horrors in Kony history, as perpetrators of the “white man’s savior complex,” patting the poor Africans on their simple heads as we rush in to save the day.

What if it is just this:

We care so much about their suffering.

We ache for the seven-year-olds who were forced to kill their parents.

We grieve the loss of innocence and life.

We yearn for justice and stability for the people of Uganda.

In the scope of humanity, we consider Ugandans our brothers and sisters.

The critical spirit of this is what has me so down. If we can’t address it all, we shouldn’t address anything. If we can’t explain the complexities of this crisis in one sitting, then we shouldn’t explain anything. If we care, we have white savior complex. If we can’t advocate perfectly, how dare we advocate at all.

What if the IC folks never fancied themselves policy makers or international strategists or war tacticians? What if they simply raised their voices for justice, knowing US rainmakers would not rush in and invade the country or arm the Ugandan army or shoot down child soldiers because some activists suggested this nonsense end?

And this is crazy, but what if they also expected their advocacy to simply be the impetus for further education? They never claimed to be the end all to our knowledge of the Kony reign of terror and the recent history of Uganda. What if their role was to place the basic context in our line of vision – where it has been hidden for thirty years – and expect responsible justice to rise up?

Is that not exactly what has happened? We are not idiots. (Say what you will.) The IC folks have raised a humanitarian issue to global attention, and more people now know the nuances of Ugandan instability for the last half a century than ever in history. We read. We researched. We joined discussions. We asked questions. We listened.

Any injustice this complicated will take a plethora of advocates and revolutionaries and strategists and leaders to address it thoroughly. IC is just one piece here, which is all they ever claimed to be. They are simply working in conjunction with Ugandan leadership and citizens, government allies, and international supporters to bring justice to a people that deserve it. And among all the rhetoric and intricacies and dense data, this remains:

Joseph Kony should indeed be brought to justice.

I believe we can engage a complicated crisis with respect for one another. We need not resort to name calling and slandering and throwing rocks at the soldiers on the frontlines while we write blogs on the couch. The lowest common denominator should not be our benchmark any longer. If you want to take a stab at someone, go for child predators and human traffickers and corrupt officials and complacent, indulged elitists who have made a living out of criticizing while not lifting a finger for their fellow man. Or Joseph Kony.

As for me, I’m going to move with the movers.

When it is all said and done, when my grandchildren read about Joseph Kony and eleven-year-old sex slaves in Haiti and children sleeping on the streets in Ethiopia and foster kids in their fifteen home, and they say, “What did you do about all these tragedies?”

I am not going to say, “Well, I didn’t want to be labeled a white supremacist, so I wrote mean blogs about folks who threw their hat in the ring.”

I am not going to say, “It was complicated. So I didn’t do anything.”

I am not going to say, “People were extremely critical back then. It was PR suicide to engage difficult issues. I remained troubled but silent on the sidelines. I cared in my mind.”

I am not going to say, “I researched and debated and read a lot of books and articles. I was very, very informed. Believe me, I understood the issues. I waxed very poetic about it all.”

I hope to say, “I joined the fight, because justice denied anywhere means justice denied everywhere. I jumped in, imperfectly, even though I knew critics would come out of the woodwork, questioning my motives and methods and ignorance and intentions. I decided to use my voice and my resources, because that could be my daughter and my sister and my community. That mother is me. Those children are you. I didn’t get it perfectly right. I couldn't address it all. I couldn't even address the entire scope of one problem. I didn’t change the whole world. But I moved.

May we not move foolishly.

Or arrogantly.

Or rashly.

Or naively.

But may we move.

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nickole huffman - March 15th, 2012 at 3:12 PM
This has moved me to tears. Truly. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

My eight year old son was moved by the IC video to the point of bawling...this has given him a purpose to move forward to defend Justice. He is advocating and willing to do whatever he can to help save children who are HIS AGE.

Thank you.

nickole huffman
Jason Eglt - March 15th, 2012 at 3:17 PM
LW - March 15th, 2012 at 3:22 PM
Though we may move slowly and sometimes awkwardly...and possibly niavely or even wrongly.

It's our heart He sees and judges.

Hug to you, Jen.
Brandi major - March 15th, 2012 at 3:23 PM
Kim - March 15th, 2012 at 3:26 PM
Thank you for this thoughtful response. I've been conflicted all week about this issue. I found myself a wee bit critical, but your wisdom here has changed my mind. Rather than prematurely judging motives, I should be grateful that change is being made. Thanks, Jen.
Jen Hatmaker - March 15th, 2012 at 3:27 PM
Thank you for this response, Kim. I believe we can draw the line between "thoughtful evaluation" and "cynicism." Appreciate your comment.
[email protected] - March 15th, 2012 at 3:26 PM
I agree so much with you. I haven't even been able to reign in ANY of my swirly thoughts on this. You speak truth here so beautifully. Thank you for sharing your heart on this, Jen.
Bethany - March 15th, 2012 at 3:26 PM
You say it beautifully here. May we not experience "paralysis by analysis," and as we move, may His kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven. I'm so hopeful for the world we are working to give to our children.
Megan - March 15th, 2012 at 3:32 PM
Yes! May we be people of ACTION. Well said, thanks.
Tammy - March 15th, 2012 at 3:32 PM
If I have learned nothing else from your book 7, I have learned that it is NOT enough to just "care." We have to put hands and feet to our concerns or they mean absolutely nothing. Thank you so much for this and for all that you do.
michelle - March 15th, 2012 at 4:13 PM
Totally agree. Since reading 7 I've felt strongly that I've failed to move beyond knowledge into action. The IC campaign moved me so strongly. I can no longer sit idle. I will move. May I be the hands and feet of Christ.
Stacy - March 15th, 2012 at 3:39 PM
Love it. Thanks for giving a voice to those of us who would rather do something than do nothing.
Anonymous - March 15th, 2012 at 3:43 PM
Yes. This. 1,000 times this.
Jenifer - March 15th, 2012 at 3:43 PM
THANK YOU!! You have put words to exactly what my heart has been feeling! I want to be able to tell my children that I jumped in. That I have the Holy Spirit as my guide and that I jumped in!!
Sara - March 15th, 2012 at 3:46 PM
You just said exactly what my heart has been feeling, but been unable to express. Thank you. Mmmm.. good good stuff.
Lisa - March 15th, 2012 at 3:48 PM
Preach, sister, preach.
Jenna - March 15th, 2012 at 3:51 PM
Perfection! I have been working on a post myself about how I feel (I am been asked several times by close friends what my real thoughts were) You said it perfectly. I have felt unnerved and unceasing and wrecked and burdened. I hope to always say that I MOVED! Thank you for your honesty I LOVE your heart!
Adrian W. - March 15th, 2012 at 3:56 PM
Echoed what my heart has been saying. Imperfection should not stop us from doing good, but should be the catalyst to spur on even more good in others. So IC advocated for people in Uganda - that's good, but it wasn't perfect. So we need to be encouraged to "one-up" IC, so to speak. Not to compete, but to collectively cooperate to bring justice to the needy.

Also, on a lighter note - you've blogged twice within my recent memory, which is a call for celebration. Or it means the world is ending. Either way - party!
Jen Hatmaker - March 15th, 2012 at 4:07 PM
HA! Two blogs in a week and a half? Be listening for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama - March 15th, 2012 at 6:12 PM
{may have been thinking the same thing myself....}
Kelleigh - March 15th, 2012 at 3:58 PM
I wholeheartedly agree...ALL DAY LONG. Let the critics come. We will be very busy MOVING, so they will have to catch up.
Alia Joy - March 15th, 2012 at 4:03 PM
Yes! This. All of it. I want my children to live in a world where they have discernment but this overly critical tearing apart and questioning of every intention has me sick. There are so many comments on these negative blogs like "If IC is so bad, what DO we do?" And another wave of people become confused and complacent while injustice prevails. We are all imperfect in our service but we should still serve!
Jen Hatmaker - March 15th, 2012 at 4:12 PM
Yall check out my friend Kristen Howerton's post today on the Kony backlash, too. Smart, thorough, well-thought out, as usual. She is such a great thinker: http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2012/03/white-privilege-and-impulse-to-help.html
Tessy Fuller - March 15th, 2012 at 4:17 PM
AGREE - Without the hype this may not of received as much attention/press and for that I am thankful. Ignorance is truly bliss.... and as I wrote on my FB status the other day somedays I think I miss it, but then I look at my son and his smiling face and I vow that I will do even more to be a VOICE!!!!!
Erin Szczerba - March 15th, 2012 at 4:17 PM
Good stuff, Jen. I can be extremely naive and so I was shocked that people were cynical about IC. I began investigating and found the "statistics" that were being cited were totally incorrect. I guess people are afraid to invest in something that isn't THE ANSWER.

It's one small step toward rejecting apathy. That's how I look at it anyway. No wait. It's a BIG step. Any step away from apathy is a big one. Let us run from apathy and embrace conviction and then act on that conviction.

How will we let His kingdom come? How will I let Him transform me? Not by being still or silent.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and heart on this. I can't wait for that morning in April!!

Sarah - March 15th, 2012 at 4:21 PM
Yeah my feeling is that, ok, so maybe IC hasn't done this perfectly, but who has accomplished more for the cause-- them (imperfectly) or me, sitting home on my butt? HMM. Until I have room to talk I am going to shut up and support those who are trying to make a difference.
Kim - March 15th, 2012 at 4:22 PM
Thanks so much for taking the time to write this. It seems to me that the numbness America has towards suffering isn't the fault of IC. And the fact that it takes an expensively-produced video to convince us to care is not an indictment of Invisible Children; it's an indictment of us.
Katherine - March 15th, 2012 at 4:33 PM
So perfectly expressed! When I first read about Kony and then read the absurd attacks on the IC it infuriated me, resulting in one of my ..yes I am home alone but that won’t stop me from ranting out loud tirades.

But then I recognized something that I have seen so many times before whenever people are trying to do good.

There will always be an opposing voice, for EVERY issue, and this isn’t a bad thing as it encourages further debate and it can keep people honest in their endeavors. In the case of the IC, their critics have not slowed them or their proponents down but have given them more energy and only made their convictions stronger (plus given their cause more attention). I would be curious to know how many of the critics have ever honestly backed a cause of their own with the intense dedication and conviction of the IC.

Kimberley - March 15th, 2012 at 4:35 PM
Thank you, thank you, thank you! A thousand times thank you!
Sarah Bessey - March 15th, 2012 at 4:39 PM
Woman, you have got to stop messing me up. I love it. I love you.
tony - March 15th, 2012 at 4:51 PM
very nicely put! agree 100% and wish everyone had this way of thinking.
maris - March 15th, 2012 at 4:52 PM
I couldn't have said this better. Thanks for moving.
Dalia - March 15th, 2012 at 4:59 PM
Thank you for so clearly pointing out the dangers refraining from action due to fear of criticism. The paralysis of analysis comment was especially appropriate! This was a very inspiring commission - I appreciate your thoughts, delivery, and writing style! Thank you!
[email protected] - March 15th, 2012 at 5:18 PM
Thank you for voicing exactly how I felt about this whole thing. My first reaction was to give and support IC. Then, the naysayers came out of the woodwork (one particularly on my Facebook who is known for being a bucket-over-turner). I was so confused. Was I getting caught up in a scam? Is this actually going to help?

But, you are right. I had heard of IC before and that they worked in Africa somewhere, but before that fateful Wednesday morning, I had no idea who Joseph Kony was. I was DEFINITELY moved to share through my networks and my money. I was MOVED to start praying for the efforts there in Uganda and the surrounding countries. Before that video, I was just another oblivious person going about my day in comfortable America where I would never fear the things they do.

Such a good piece!
chris - March 15th, 2012 at 5:18 PM
Love where Shaun King finally got on this during his Twitter rants... Do Good Or Shut Up!
Erika - March 15th, 2012 at 5:40 PM
Gaaaaaah!!! This post captured the grace that sits between our intentions and methods.

Stan - March 15th, 2012 at 5:54 PM
I'm grateful for your comments. Thank you!

Kelly @ Love Well - March 15th, 2012 at 6:13 PM
Dang. You nailed it. I've read a lot of news stories about Kony this week, and at times, my brain had whiplash from the many competing views. This post - and Kristen's - are like solid ground. Wise words.
Mary Lakey - March 15th, 2012 at 6:19 PM
Well said, and in the end, he kept a promise. I will do what I can to stop this, and he did/does. Why does it need to be more than that? A promise kept.
Hope - March 15th, 2012 at 6:21 PM
I appreciate your gracious response. The only thing missing is an actual response from those on the ground in Uganda. I am in close contact with a missionary who has adopted 11 Ugandan children and has lived in the area for close to 10 years now. Those living there have expressed their desire for resources to be given to "someone on the ground" that can help. They were not critical of IC in the same manner that some have been but encouraged to be wise in our investments. She has been asked to speak out publicly and I know she is working on a response, unfortunately, those who live in the area are reluctant to talk about the pain they have experienced.

There are many ways to support the fight and when someone actually right there, telling me to be careful, I trust that.
Jen Hatmaker - March 15th, 2012 at 6:51 PM
I agree, Hope! I love this addition to the discussion. IC has managed to get the crisis on the table. I'm a big fan of empowering those who are there, already mobilized. It is so difficult when the local people are shamed into silence or afraid of telling their stories. But I love the idea of finding trustworthy Ugandans and orgs on the ground. We don't have to reinvent the wheel here. Thanks!

Andie - March 15th, 2012 at 7:16 PM
Hope, I agree with what you said, but I think what IC has done here is important. They did spend a lot of money on an awareness video, money that could have gone to programs on the ground in Uganda. But that wouldn't have done much to affect their income. Now that all of facebook, twitter, and youtube know the situation, they will have many more donations coming in, vastly increasing their operating income, which can be focused almost entirely on those programs now that awareness is already taken care of. I'm curious to see what IC does in the near future with the newfound awareness and determination of America to Do Something.
Brad Huebert - March 15th, 2012 at 6:52 PM
Awesome post. Love your heart, your take, your courage. Write on!
LifeintheBend - March 15th, 2012 at 6:58 PM
Beautiful. My husband was fortunate to tour a number of the schools in Uganda that Invisible Children has helped to establish and can attest that they're doing important work there.
Julie Simmons - March 15th, 2012 at 7:13 PM
Gina - March 15th, 2012 at 7:23 PM
This debate is somewhat the same old song and dance isnt it? "why dont you adopt from here?" "why dont you do mission work here?" "Why do you care about them?" "Short term mission trips are bad".

For the love! Why does everyone want to be like "Doubting Thomas" when people try to show up to help?

IC has been at this for TEN years. and they got the US involved (miracle, being that there is no OIL at stake here), they(US) only sent 100 men, but 100 is a start! (and again a miracle)

I believe the points of the campaign are simple.

KONY has harmed children and torn apart families. And this has been going on for a LONG time. He must be stopped. Its wrong. PERIOD.

He needs to be found and stopped because his reign of terror may have subdued a bit and/or maybe moved out of Uganda, but he is a monster and its a matter of time until he begins his campaign again somewhere else or back into Uganda.

If this happend here in America, how would you feel if you knew this guy was out there, had taken your kids and had done this repeatedly and no one stopped him? I think this debate would look MUCH different if it were going on here in America. PERIOD.

KONY 2012

Thanks again for the post Jen! You nailed it sista!
Sarah - March 15th, 2012 at 8:06 PM

"This debate is somewhat the same old song and dance isnt it? "why dont you adopt from here?" "why dont you do mission work here?" "Why do you care about them?" "Short term mission trips are bad". "

Amen, Sister.

This whole controversy just reminded me that Satan is alive and well in the world and is doing quite well in tempting the humans who CARE to sit and dither and debate and criticize instead of trying to DO SOMETHING.
Victoria - March 15th, 2012 at 7:29 PM
ugh! Thank you!!! For the past week I have been struggling through the thoughts and criticisms, and you post cut through all of that! All too often we face something that is complicated, or hard, or we don't know what to do, so we do nothing. No campaign will be perfect. But IC has raised awareness of injustice to huge levels, people know something they didn't a week ago. That is huge! Maybe one of us, or a few of us, caring about the fact that injustice exists won't change anything. But if hundreds, and thousands of people start seeing, understanding, and caring, things will change.

Thanks for being inspiring tonight!
Sherry - March 15th, 2012 at 7:33 PM
Thank you so much for this so well said...thank you for being a voice.
erika - March 15th, 2012 at 7:43 PM
Thank you for this- it's much easier for "us" to sit and critique other people . . . because it distracts us from the sacrifice of actually doing anything! Thanks for speaking up and challenging people out of that complacency of doing nothing other than arguing!!
Pastor Matt - March 15th, 2012 at 7:44 PM
Amen. Well said.
April - March 15th, 2012 at 8:12 PM
perfect. eloquent. exactly what I was thinking...only unable to voice it so concisely and without bitterness! :)

thanks for this read! you've got me hooked as a new reader with this new blog post
Marla Taviano - March 15th, 2012 at 8:22 PM
I love this. Every word. And it's an honor to be on the move with you. I'm so, so thankful you up and joined the internet so we could do justice together from 2000 miles apart (or however the heck far away from Ohio you are).

And again, your advice to Calm Down Before You Blog has been life-giving.
Angie - March 15th, 2012 at 8:28 PM
Said so perfectly.
David Thomason - March 15th, 2012 at 8:36 PM
As with everythin you write Jen, you are able to articulate an issue that makes people want to do something to help. As always you inspire me
Erinn Vahlkamp - March 15th, 2012 at 8:42 PM
Wow! Just what I felt to about all of this. Thank you for sharing. I cried through the video I posted for Kony. Tears came again. Oh how my heart hurts for these children, mothers, fathers.... Yes, let's do this!
Karen - March 15th, 2012 at 9:39 PM
Move indeed...This Kony movie and message moved my 14-yr. old daughter to action. Never before has she been awakend to a need so palpable. I believe this is a great beginning for her- MOVING on behalf of the abused and neglected.
Nathan Mendenhall - March 15th, 2012 at 9:52 PM
Jen - thanks for your inspired insight into this topic. I've been pretty busy over the past few weeks and havent had a chance to research or dive into this issue much, but I've seen the links on Facebook and have heard of the video going "viral" on YouTube. Fox News had this story on the subject today which shed some light on how Ugandans feel about the subject. I thought it was informative and interesting so thought I would share the link: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/03/15/criticism-kony-2012-viral-video-swells-among-ugandans/?test=latestnews
Sofia - March 15th, 2012 at 9:59 PM
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Friend - March 15th, 2012 at 10:08 PM
While adopting my mantra was, take a step, and do what was before me ... Rightly... Repeat. Thanks for this. We can so easily just throw the good things out with the bad.
Rachel - March 15th, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Thanks Jen for this post - I have been conflicted this week about this and it has been on my mind a lot. My conclusion - every aspect of this campaign may not be perfect, but I choose to believe their intentions are good, at least they are doing something, and if for nathing else - look at how much awareness has been brought to the situation.
Cami - March 15th, 2012 at 10:44 PM
perfectly said.
Don Sullivan - March 15th, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Righteous, Sister!

I have been saying many of the same things (albeit, not nearly as eloquently) about this issue. When people are more concerned about the context of statements made and the corrupt politics in Africa and "it's just more complicated than they have made it"... than they are the gutwrenching subject of the film and 25 years of attrocities at the hands of Kony and the LRA, I just have to shake my head in disgust.
David Scltt - March 15th, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Right on. I've been saying essentially this since I read the first vitriolic attack on IC. Thank you so much for stating it so clearly. Brilliant.
Erin - March 15th, 2012 at 11:18 PM
if all the "Christians" who retweeted
Camille - March 15th, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Like most, I felt rather confused by all the back-lash to the Kony campaign. As always, your words manage to sort out my jumbled thoughts with strength and clarity. I'm so tired of people who are so quick to criticize others' attempts when they have no ideas of their own. It's time to get off our extremely blessed bottoms and MOVE. Thanks so much for this beautiful piece. :-)
Erin - March 15th, 2012 at 11:36 PM
(oops .. my comment didn't go thru the first time)

1st ... I'm not hatin' on the IC or their cause or your post.

When I watch the video thru a Christian worldview, my 1st thought is that taking this guy out is not the end all, these people need Jesus. Lots of people do. Shouldn't sharing the gospel be of top priority? I think this is why there was some "negative" feedback from some in the Christian community, there is no mention of God/Jesus in that video. There are a lot of good organizations out there ... but it lacks the backing of God's Word.

It was nice to see so many Christians retweeting and facebooking the link to the video, and I was thinking Wow, wouldn't it be cool if those people put that same passion into spreading the gospel and sharing Good News w/ everyone they shared that video with. (Or to make it global, support missionaries in Uganda)

I promise Im not trying to sound holier than thou .. I know I can "do" more for the Kingdom, we all can.

Jen, I admire your heart and passion to free children from injustice.

Erin Beth - March 16th, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Hi :) My name is Erin too. I'm about to do a poor job at saying what's on my heart right now. Please bare with me. Many of the people involved in Invisible Children are Christians. Naturally, the church is drawn to this. However, many are not Christians. And it is really neat to be able to serve alongside people with varying faiths for the same cause. So, although they are Christians- the organization isn't championed as a faith-based organization which, I think, has made it more approachable for people. I don't only shop at Christian stores nor do I only wear Christian t-shirts- but the Spirit of God lives in me. The Holy Spirit dwells in us and can't be seen by the naked eye but I see the gospel being worked out as these men scream from the tops of mountains for freedom for a people the world wasn't paying attention to. Hope that makes some sense. I'm running on about 4 hours sleep in the last two days and not totally confident that I'm even speaking English right now!
Erin - March 16th, 2012 at 1:51 AM
Yes .. I agree and understand what you're saying. Im not saying that because IC isn't a faith based org. we shouldn't support their efforts or stand w/ any other org. that is trying to rescue children.
My comment was me just thinking out loud, ... -- I could be mistaken in my response
Erin - March 16th, 2012 at 1:53 AM
(my replies keep getting cut off)

A - March 15th, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Thank you for putting into words what has been in my heart since this campaign hit the airwaves ...and the haters started hating. Hugs and high fives to you from Canada!!!
BC - March 16th, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Wahoo! Yes! A mover
Michele - March 16th, 2012 at 6:32 AM
Amen and amen. No organization, even if non-profit, is perfect or proclaims to be. But IC is good at what they've set out to do: make us aware. Your response is so thoughtful and edifying.
Andrea - March 16th, 2012 at 6:51 AM
I am so thankful that you could express much more clearly and maturely than I could the very war within my own soul in response to the criticism of the Kony video. Thank you for not hiding your voice in a world where political correctness tells us to just stay quiet! If we continue to choose to move God will change the world!
Jamie - March 16th, 2012 at 7:32 AM
Isn't our faith supposed to be moved to action? Thank you for posting this from your heart and encouraging us to be moved to action no matter the consequence!
Mary - March 16th, 2012 at 7:34 AM
This is perfect. I'm so appreciative to you for articulately speaking out on what so many of us had buzzing around in our hearts!!!
Carol Carlile - March 16th, 2012 at 7:47 AM
If we can't care and help in this , we need to sit down and shut up.
lauren - March 16th, 2012 at 8:34 AM
yes yes and yes. yes. thank you jen.
Jenny Hawkes - March 16th, 2012 at 8:40 AM

I was extremely affected by this movement. My husband and I even had an hour long discussion about it. I have come to one conclusion. No matter what people say or that people say that "people" are fickle and will change their minds or emotions later. I believe that we should start somewhere. Right here. Right now!! It doesn't matter if people want to throw rocks at the movement or judge their motives.

I know one thing. Joseph Kony is wrong and doing terrible things and has been for years. I had no idea who he was, but now that I do, I will stand up for justice.

Not because it is popular or fun, but because it is the right thing to do!!!

Thank you Jen for your commentary too.

Jenny Hawkes
Kandy Persall - March 16th, 2012 at 8:59 AM
Seems that a quote from Jonas Salk applies here: “People will tell you that you are wrong. Then they will tell you that you are right, but what you’re doing is really not important. Finally, they will admit that you are right and what you are doing is very important. But after all, they knew it all the time.”
Cindi Latson - March 16th, 2012 at 9:11 AM
Thank you, Jen. I think this is the whole point. Our willingness to stand up and say,"NO!". What has happened is not ok, I will show that I value each human life, that they matter to me. That justice for an evil man matters to the world, that children cannot be victims and we will not, by our silence, stand by and allow it. So that the world will be a safer place for children, that those who have suffered know that they are not disposable, that people care about what happened to them. The world knows who this man is now, and I believe that was the objective of the film, for the express purpose of waking people up and making them care enough to get involved to stop it. Looks to me like the money was well spent, mission accomplished. Now the rest is up to all of us. How will we spend our resources - our time and money - what if we were as closely scrutinized as IC, what would people say about our mission?

I pray for the children who have suffered, for those who will escape because of the efforts to stop Kony. I pray for Kony, that he will know his Savior, this side of eternity, so that he will know the horror of his sins and the love and mercy of a Savior who can cover even this. That the world may see the power of Christ.

And I pray for us, that we will let the Spirit move us to show children who have suffered that each and every one of them matter, that the world will not turn a blind eye.

Flower Patch Farmgirl - March 16th, 2012 at 9:26 AM
So, this: The IC folks have raised a humanitarian issue to global attention, and more people now know the nuances of Ugandan instability for the last half a century than ever in history.

That's sort of what I said at our book club on Monday (reading Sacrilege and you probably don't know this, but he totally dropped your name) only you said it smart and I said it with the pitch of my voice up in the rafters somewhere.

I get so. tired. of people lobbing empty insults and complicating things just so it gives them an excuse to shut the blinders and plug their ears again.

ps - I was a sophomore in college when we first got the email. Cory and I met the following year and we would go to the one tiny computer lab and send each other emails. Sometimes we were both there at the same time, which took it to a whole new level. At the end of the year I printed a hard copy of every dang email because I didn't really understand where they would all go when I went back to Ohio for Summer break.

pss - I can't stop now. Back in 2005 we moved to IN from DC and I kept my quasi-important DC job and worked from home for a while. We could only bring ourselves to splurge on dial-up internet. So my important boss would call me and ask me to look at something he sent me and I would say to him, "Ok, I need to hang up (no cell phone either) and look at it and then I'll call you back." I cringe now. I can't believe he put up with it.

I feel like I've really landed somewhere off-topic, so I'll shut up now.
Jen Hatmaker - March 16th, 2012 at 9:42 AM
Laughing so hard. Totally had dial up and no cell phone. Yes, please let me hang up and look that up and I'll call you back. I wrote my first book with NO INTERNET. I can hardly even think about it. My first five books came out before FB and Twitter. How did anyone ever buy them????
Abby Norman - March 16th, 2012 at 10:19 AM
One of my students in my mostly white suburban upper middle class public high school suggested I watch the video. She suggested we show it in class. Serendipitously, (yeah right God's timing) I was starting my non-fiction unit on Monday. I chucked my lesson plans out the window and flew by the seat of my pants this whole week. Watching the movie, reading articles for and against it, talking about what kind of a story it told and why the film makers made those choices. Over and over again I heard defenses of the video from my students. "Mrs. Norman, maybe this guy didn't do it perfectly but at least he is doing something," and, "We would not listen any other way. Now we care about what is going on in Uganda. Isn't that more important?"

I value what IC is doing. I am grateful that they seem to have awakened something in my students that lay dormant, or dead. But I also think it has been valuable to engage in the discussion about flattening a story for effect or why we all want to be told things on a four year old level. The beautiful thing is that my kids are able to understand both the complexity of the issue and the value of the video. They give Jason Russel a lot of credit, even while being critical of some of his story telling choices. I wish some of the critics could be as thought provoking as they have been.
Madge - March 16th, 2012 at 10:35 AM
The sad part is I understand wanting to expose and help capture this brutal person but can we step in everywhere to help as a country. I often think if something like this happened here in the US who would actually help us. I am afraid not many. We are not the savers of the world although our hubris sure allows us to think that. Capture Kony did focus attention, but if you check out Charity Navigator the IC is not as transparent as you would have liked. They spent almost 10 years until they raised enough money to make the movie which is their main

business. Did it raise awareness yes, did it put money on the ground in Uganda, not much. I look to spend my money on organizations that spend at least 90% of money raised on their programs and less than 10% on their overhead. I use Charity Navigator to help me find just those %.
Lisa - March 16th, 2012 at 10:44 AM
I agree with you, in applauding the effort IC has made in raising awareness of the issue, and of the suffering children left in the wake of this decades-long tragedy. My concern is mainly that it seems that their solution is a) some sort military invasion to catch Kony (which was previously tried, and failed) and b) arming the military (who have a questionable track record themselves). On both points, numerous Northern-Ugandan (mostly Christian) leaders/advocates/writers have suggested that these are not the "solutions" that they want to see.

I think there's a fine line between "this is a tragedy, people need to know, and it needs to stop" and "this is horrible, I as the White Guy/Gal know exactly what needs to be done to fix *your* country, and I know best so don't need to listen to you," and we've seen over and over again how this approach doesn't bring long-lasting solutions (see: the 10 000 NGOs in Haiti, mostly perpetuating cycles of poverty). I don't know if I have the answers, either, but I will simply say that in seeking the next steps - beyond "awareness," what should be done, we should ensure that we are actually listening to the voices of those who are personally affected.
Emily - March 16th, 2012 at 12:11 PM
As usual, you put my feelings into such eloquent words. I could never have expressed this so well, but it sums up my heart on the issue. Thank you!
kpoe - March 16th, 2012 at 12:20 PM
good job...well said. thank you.
Lou - March 16th, 2012 at 1:14 PM
Thank you so much for this!!
Tina - March 16th, 2012 at 2:52 PM
Thank you for so perfectly and eloquently posting about this.

I was stunned by the harsh criticism of IC over the past week. It sickened me and made me think about the quote that I've never believed to be true "No good deed goes unpunished."

Like you, I just want to be able to say in the future to my children
Tamara - March 16th, 2012 at 5:42 PM
Well, I just saw breaking news that the co-founder of IC, Jason Russell, was arrested for vandalization, masturbating in public and being under some kind of influence. This certainly isn't going to help with all the current criticisms!
Nathan - March 17th, 2012 at 1:06 AM
Amy - March 17th, 2012 at 10:27 AM
I agree. If IC wants the support of the Christian community, they better be an upstanding organization in EVERY way. It's sad to see this happen.
Soko - March 17th, 2012 at 3:21 PM
You know what would be AMAZING??? If the "Christian" community could put their stones down long enough to LOVE and SUPPORT people with mental health problems. What I read in your comment, Amy, was that if you want the support of the "Christian" community, you'd better make sure you are perfect (or at least can fake it pretty well). God help us all if this is what "Christians" make Christ look like to our world, because, quite frankly, that's not the Jesus I read about in the Bible. That Jesus loved people and spent most of his time with the broken, reproving the "perfect."
Amy - March 20th, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Perfect? Nope. Very careful? Yep. God calls Christians to be good stewards of their time, money, and talents...even in the fight against evil. Should Christians be actively working to rid the world of evil, like Kony? ABSOLUTELY! Should Christians be actively working with IC? Not necessarily.
Sallie Belle Howell - March 16th, 2012 at 6:46 PM
Funny thing, last week when I watched the STOP KONY video I was bothered. I shared with my children and they shared with their friends (like the rest of the world). I might add that I'm in the midst of reading 7 so a little moved by a lot lately. Also last week running in our local paper was an article about the local homeless situation and how it has increased. It gave reports of needing to "move" these people from their station under an area bridge. A quote from the Mayor of our little small family-friendly town, and I was MOVED. I know there has been a group begin to help minister to these people. I was so moved that I wrote our newpaper editior and mayor to express my concern for their lack of conern. I was moved to get involved. Thanks for this post. Thanks for the project you called 7. Thanks for the example of you and Brandon and the church for being Jesus hands and feet.
Joelle - March 17th, 2012 at 8:51 AM
Thank you...my heart has also been heavy that there has been such negative response to something that is meant to open people's eyes, to pierce their hearts...to move them to action. The awesome thing about what IC did with the video is to prompt people to think...there will be those who will be prompted to fight the front line battle in Uganda...but the wonderful thing is, there will be those who have been moved to begin to "do something" other places...around the world and in their own backyards. I wish critics could see the bigger picture, that this video wasn't just about "x" amount of dollars providing physical resources for the needy, but instead to passionately move masses of people toward awareness of the world's atrocities (including those in the US) with the hope that the masses will use their time and talent to improve the world in which they live. We all need to be doing something...
Ryan - March 17th, 2012 at 1:48 PM
Jen...thanks for your reflection. Critical reflection
Renea - March 17th, 2012 at 5:25 PM
I read this yesterday, and appreciated the comments. It shed light on an issue I knew almost nothing about. Today, however, I am struggling. I totally get "mental breakdown" but why this? Why something so sexual in the face of Kony's sexual atrocities against children. I have struggled with Christianity for years - despite being raised in a Christian home - because my husband is forever pointing out the church's hypocrisy. What do I tell him now? How can you explain such naked, inappropriate and public behaviour? I don't ask these questions in judgement - I ask them in a true state of confusion.

Share - March 19th, 2012 at 12:27 AM
.t rather my actions/or lack of actions that I carry with me through my mistakes. Its not easy. It never will be. God works in us, around us, throgh us. I am not judging what the person did, but rather what he does next...and if he does nothing then I help, for it may be his lesson and mine as well. We fall. And hopefully realize that God wants us to realize that He wants to be asked for help getting back up, and praised when that prayer is answered. We are not alone, so act accordingly. We grow to become more Christlike. I hope this helps. I have/am praying for you and your husband. To God be the Glory!!!Romans 5:3!!
Share - March 19th, 2012 at 1:21 AM
Wow. I wrote so much more. Lol. A perfect example of Satan(in general, not the moderator) trying to make me look bad, poorly educated, or just awful with tech gadgets. Well, let me try again...
What I would say to my husband. Christians are falliable, fleshly humans. Capable of mistakes...that come accross as hypocritical. When, in reality we are saved...and live a life of mistakes.
Mistakes that through an unbelievers eye we shouldn't have the right to because of our faith. I am a mom. Of four. A Christian mom of four. I make mistakes every day. I might as well have a target on me at any and all angles. Satan is ready for me to trip,.he knows it is gonna happen. What he hopes ill forget is that God will catch me. If I ask to be forgivin and repent of my transgressions, God will be there. Ready. But Satan doesn't want me to remember that. He wants me to forget, 'handle it without God'. It happens, but the more I read Gods word, hear a sermon, and belong to the body of Christ (church)...the less likely it is to happen. And every once in a while, God shows me the action I am to make before I take it. It is not the mistakes that define us, butrather.............well, you know the rest.
sheri - March 17th, 2012 at 6:13 PM
Well said Jen!
David - March 18th, 2012 at 9:23 AM
I was skeptical of Jason Russell's credibility at first. Clearly my gut was right this time around. This fool's personal shortcomings obviously do not make the problems in South Africa any less valid. But I think it illustrates, sometimes when we just "move" because it feels like the right thing to do, we find ourselves following the wrong leaders. Buying a bracelet or yard sign doesn't change anything. I respect you Jen, and your writings. But I'm not sure you're on the right side of this fight.
Jen Hatmaker - March 18th, 2012 at 10:08 AM
I'm super sad to hear this tone, yet again. Jason is no fool, David. The hate and criticism leveled at him the last two weeks is unimaginable. Put your rock down. This is his life's work, and it is good. This doesn't erase ten years of advocacy. Jason deserves our prayers and support right now, not our name calling. I am most certainly on the right side of this issue: the side for freedom and dignity and brotherhood and sisterhood. (And this is in Uganda. Not South Africa.)
michelle - March 18th, 2012 at 10:52 AM
I agree. He's been through something completely unimaginable in the last two weeks. When I heard the most recent news I had two responses, first I prayed for him. For his work. For IC. And secondly I knew people would respond like David. With judgement. I appreciate your stance on this Jen.
David - March 18th, 2012 at 1:19 PM
I apologize for bringing negativity to your page. I didn’t mean to do that. And you’re right, I shouldn’t have resorted to name calling. I am all about spreading awareness. But I think people need to understand what this movement is calling for is military action. I am fond of the expression “when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” The only foreign policy tools the US government has are bombs and tanks and AR-15’s. The movement is calling for yet another war. For mothers and fathers to kill and be killed. Many Ugandan people are speaking out against the movement. I’m just saying, I think it’s worth being pensive about.
Andrew - March 18th, 2012 at 4:30 PM
I agree.
Not to mention that some of the worst moments in Christian history are when someone duct tapes a bible to a weapon and sallies forth to do God's will by spilling blood.

I'm not saying that it's a dichotomy of either support war or do nothing either. There's plennnnntay to do in the world, and all over the world. But if the end result of IC's fund raising is to put bullets in people and effect change through violence, then that's where I draw the line with them.
Right now, Doctors Without Borders is having trouble buying enough drug supplies to keep TB and HIV at bay. And they're still combating malaria and sleeping sickness. They have no military agenda, and they're saving lives or mitigating suffering. I'm all about that.
There's a lot one can do. Look for things that mesh with the ethics of care the Jesus might espouse and you'll find a good place to put your hard earned money. You shouldn't have to look long or far.
Financing murder? No spank you.
Jen Hatmaker - March 18th, 2012 at 10:23 PM
I appreciate your response, David. A pensive, thoughtful approach here is certainly in order. But when attempting to capture, arrest, and try a war criminal, I'm not sure how else we expect anyone to go about it. IC, in their own words, hopes to see Kony arrested and tried by the highest court. Not killed or maimed. And certainly not engaging "another war." That is heavy exaggeration, especially considering that IC is an activist group, not American military leadership. Like they even have a say in how anyone goes about apprehending Kony! I didn't see this level of criticism aimed at the US when they captured Saddam or sought after Osama Bin Laden. We most certainly used our military prowess and intelligence in both cases. What is a reasonable, viable option for capturing Kony that simply involves diplomacy?? This is a madman who has murdered, mutilated, raped, and pillaged tens of thousands of innocents. If he was on American soil, having murdered that many Americans, would we neuter our military or law enforcement resources in his pursuit and capture?
andrew white - March 19th, 2012 at 9:19 AM
I guess it all comes down to what people feel they're called to do in Christianity.

These questions are the big red blocks in the flow chart, for sure.

It's almost like this thing with Jason is a Jonah moment for the community of givers. Sure, you really want to go that way.

Love your enemies is pretty straightforward.

Conflict seems unavoidable where JK is concerned. But, a year ago a week or so, plucking a couple of defenseless kids out of an Ethiopian hovel seemed hopelessly mired in paperwork and tears. Good sweet smart kids that deserved a better life were slipping away, anchored in that place. Then, something happened.

I bet something could happen here too that doesn't require any more deaths than the last miracle required.

I'm just saying. Something to ponder, dude.

But, I get wanting to put Joseph and his ilk out like a cigarette butt.
Jen Hatmaker - March 19th, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Totally agree on the hopeful nonviolence front. But we are not dealing with paperwork and bureaucracy here as much as a mad murderer. The solution is difficult. I don't know if "ideally" has a role here. Ideally, he wouldn't have snatched children out of their beds and forced them to rape and murder their own parents. UGH. Justice means him tried for his crimes. How do we get from here to there? I'm definitely pondering. But "loving your enemies" doesn't mean allowing a gross injustice to go unchecked. God also said "defend the fatherless." I'm hoping for his capture and trial, certainly not a bloodbath. We have lots of tactical tools and resources to find him that don't involve an AK-47. I am always hoping for a peaceful resolution.
b.g. - March 20th, 2012 at 6:12 PM
I apologize for bringing negativity analysis and facts to your page.

Fixed that for you.


Yeah. The fact that they're connected to a virulent homophobe is reason enough.
Laura - March 18th, 2012 at 3:45 PM
Jen, thank you for causing others to pause and consider their motives in their responses to controversial topics. I spent the later years of my childhood with 4 brothers brought into my family because they were brought (legally mind you) into THIS country to serve as slaves. I learned to move for injustice by watching my mother and another champion for justice fight our government, from the local branch of the FBI, to the CIA, to Janet Reno, for laws to prosecute traffickers. It was too late for my brothers, but it wasn't too late for thousands of other victims. Your children will learn from your example. They will stand in awe of you and your willingness to follow God into the hard places. I know teach my public school 6th graders about fair trade and how to stand up for injustice...because of my mother's example. My brothers are all doing so well now as adults, but oh, the pain that could have been prevented if more people would use their voices for what is right!
kim janous - March 18th, 2012 at 5:26 PM
Thank you!! I am so grateful for your graciousness and mentorship. My prayer for the last few months has been to learn about the world and think outside of my little scope of life. The KONY video gave me a place to start. It was easy to read article that led to article that led to another that taught me about Uganda's history, the LRA's history, gave me specific things to pray for. If the project has done nothing else, its raised awareness and educated people who are often too busy to notice much outside of themselves (me included). I appreciate your wisdom and providing a way to view the criticism.
Carol - March 19th, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Thank you for speaking so much truth, so much of the time. I am praying for how to move with the movers. What a blessing to hear someone write so convincingly what people need to hear. Just move and see what the Lord does with it. He is so good. Thanks for following him and allowing us to be a part of that journey with you.
David - March 19th, 2012 at 1:33 AM
As a Ugandan, born and raised there, I totally understand the criticism lavishly poured out towards the Kony2012 campaign but I most understand and appreciate words from people like Jen. The world is a big place, to make a difference, you have to choose your spot and let it be go viral. Kony may not be in Uganda at the moment but there are still children, women, and men being torn apart by his senseless acts.

Thank you for this blog, a lot.
Jen Hatmaker - March 19th, 2012 at 8:33 AM
Thank you for this comment, David. I do want you to know that we care about your country and its people. So much. We are not okay with decades of violence against the Ugandans. We want justice and peace for your country, and we are so hungry to help.
Ashley - March 19th, 2012 at 11:21 AM
I have been following this debate (as much as I can with a 7-week-old baby!). I have to say that when I looked at IC's budget breakdown, I'm not comfortable with the amount that's being spent on programs in Africa versus the amount being spent on film-making, salaries, etc. And, further, I'm not comfortable with an organization putting so much of their focus on capturing one man - will it not be the same outcome as when Osama Bin Laden was killed? A captured/killed leader, but a still well-intact organization?

However, does this mean I plaster harsh and mean comments all over the internet? No, I think IC is well-intentioned. If there's anything to be learned from this, I think it's that we need to really know the organizations we are supporting and promoting. We need to ask ourselves if we are okay with their budget, decisions and actions.
Bonar Crump - March 19th, 2012 at 11:31 AM
As Western Christians, we casually acknowledge the role of evil in the world as "that which tries to trip us up." Like not finding that "cherry" parking spot at the grocery store on a day when it's raining or losing our car keys as we're trying to rush out the door for a doctor's appt.

Nope! Evil is that which actively destroys, deconstructs, and devalues ANY attempt at righteousness.

The most potent evil of this situation now isn't even in the abduction of children or in the contrarian attitudes IC has evoked with their zeal. The biggest evil NOW is in the active and intentional attacks on a campaign devoted to the rescue of those unable to find rescue elsewhere.

Really?! I'm gonna look at the harsh economic realities of contemporary society and the geopolitical infrastructure framing the situation when someone tries to snatch my six year old daughter from me in a parking lot? No, I'm going to cut their head clean off their shoulders. And I'd do it if it were your kid as well.

Rescue even when we don't understand the full scope of the dynamics at play? You Betcha!

Love even when we don't know if they're worthy of our affections? Yep!

Fight back even when it's not our own interests at stake? Absolutely!

Wait for everything to line up perfectly and all questions to be answered before acting on behalf of someone in an immediate state of dire calamity? Give me a break! That's just evil!

Kendall Bicknell - March 19th, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Thank you for your thoughts Jen and I hope all the kids at Napa High that have been so inspired and then so confused read your statements on this issue. I sent for a kit for my daughter and I after seeing the movie and then had seconds thoughts after all the backlash but now am going to rock my poster, bracelet and t-shirt and feel happy I took a stand!
Amy - March 19th, 2012 at 2:10 PM
All of this reminds me of one of my fave quotes...

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

-Theodore Roosevelt

LoriR - March 19th, 2012 at 5:08 PM
Incredible post. Thank you so much. You've said what I wasn't able to express.
Summer - March 19th, 2012 at 7:29 PM
Dennis Neal - March 20th, 2012 at 7:55 AM
That was very well said.
Audra Blumn - March 20th, 2012 at 8:45 AM
Incredible. Thank you for putting into words everything I was thinking and feeling, but couldn't quite articulate. God has truly gifted you. I want my children to see how I MOVED!!

Catherine Garza - March 21st, 2012 at 9:51 PM
Once again, Jen...you have said what was in my heart and in my head but could never have come out of my mouth so well! Amen, amen!
Laurel Winslett - March 21st, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Duuuuude. You are my new hero. I used to think I could write well. Well-played. What would this world be like if we encouraged one another even half as much as we think we can critique it, you know? I hope to meet you one day lady. :D
Kohana - March 22nd, 2012 at 5:05 AM
Your commitment to MOVE on behalf of others applies to so many situations. I can't help but think how much it applies to adoption. I have struggled with the accusations of "neo-colonialism" and "ethnic genocide" that are sometimes applied to international/transracial adoptive families.

We are not perfect. We don't get it all right. But the longer I am on this journey, the less able I am to see a need and walk away. Thanks for your thoughtful response.
Sarah - March 26th, 2012 at 11:27 AM
I would love to get your take on this article. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/the-white-savior-industrial-complex/254843/1/
Jennifer - March 30th, 2012 at 8:30 AM

I have shared the same feeling that you stated here....questioning in my mind why the body of Christ would be so divided on this. The video was very moving...Jason was putting his faith in action and actually doing something about this atrocity. I was angry that so many Christians were throwing stones at him and his organization instead of joining in on making a difference...I would get so upset at ppl who wanted to criticize someone who was trying to make a difference/raise awareness while they sat in their cozy cushy little American lifestyle --and he's the one trying to help rescue those precious children from being attacked, killed, abused, etc. by a crazed murderer. "For crying out loud ppl shut up complaining and do something" kept running through my head. It's always seemed ironic to me that the ones criticizing are usually the ones doing NOTHING.

And even after hearing about his "incident" in SanDiego I prayed for him knowing that when God raises someone up to be a leader/the frontrunner on an issue...Satan will soon be out to try to devour that person....and most of the time the easiest route in for him is through our mind.

But then I read this yesterday (http://fromtheunpavedroad.com/2012/03/09/live-free/)

written by a woman living in Uganda...actually being His hands and feet...who just yesterday rescued two girls (from a prison) who were apart of the LRA.

And I read this.


And those two articles really got me thinking. I still believe we need to extend grace to Jason Russell...but I also think we definitely need to be careful where/with who we put our efforts. In our zeal to help these ppl/children we don't want to do more harm than good. But it's also not an excuse to sit by and do nothing.

"You cannot heal a land filled with violence with more violence. That may seem like a quick solution, but in the end it only brings more pain and revenge. We need to look to Christ’s true example of reconciliation in order to learn how to heal this land. Forgiveness must exist in the darkness in order to bring about Truth and Light." -Father Martin from Northern Uganda

Rachel - April 4th, 2012 at 3:26 PM
This is an amazing, amazing post. Thank you for writing it.
Nicole Jasien - April 10th, 2012 at 1:38 PM
This just embodied everything I was feeling! Thank you so much for sharing!
Chrissy - April 20th, 2012 at 8:48 PM
Good intentions get you only so far. "Throwing your hat in the ring" should be done with GREAT care. As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, human rights professional and graduate student pursuing my MA in Int'l Human Rights, I am well-versed in the baseline goal of any attempt to intervene in a humanitarian/human rights crisis - "DO NO HARM." Unfortunately, development projects and humanitarian responses often do more harm than good. They foster dependencies, lack sustainability, put people at greater risk of violence or vulnerability, or shore up the very edifices that cause human suffering and insecurity in the first place.

Last week, a crowd of 10,000 Acholis watched Kony 2012 in Gulu. They became so enraged by what they saw--these survivors of atrocities, these parents of abducted children, these former child soldiers, these individuals who witnessed the brutalization of their neighbors--that one of them ended up dead and many more were severely injured in the chaos that ensued.

When we deign to intervene in and positively impact the lives of others, we are beholden to do so with the utmost care and consideration. "Good intentions" just don't cut it. While I applaud IC for revising some of their initial positions (e.g. abandoning the call for a militaristic response and supporting a return to peace negotiations [what the majority of Acholis actually want]), I think that their efforts deserve our scrutiny. In the non-profit/charitable world, we shouldn't be seeking accolades, we should be seeking legitimacy based on a job well and responsibly done. IC falls short. Their reputation among the NGO and local community in Gulu is a testament to that.

Let's put our money where our mouth and heartstrings are and support the organizations doing the tough work of reconstructing the social fabric of northern Uganda through rehabilitation, reintegration, psychosocial support, and empowering individuals to move forward, building livelihoods and facilitate the reconstruction of their communities.

My favorite quote is this: "If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up in mine, then let us work together."

Natty - April 30th, 2012 at 10:35 AM
Chrissy - Are you aware that the majority of Invisible Children's staff are actually Ugandan and based in Gulu?

Invisible Children has been around for many years and has invested deeply into sustainable rehabilitation efforts in northern Uganda. These efforts include scholarships for secondary and university students, as well as various microeconomic initiatives that are empowering local communities and spurring the economy of a post-war region. All of these programs are designed and managed by Ugandan leadership. They have been a respected NGO in Gulu for a long time.

This video shows footage from the screening you referenced, as well as of the Gulu Cover the Night event. It paints a much more positive and more realistic portrayal of that screening than what you may have read: http://vimeo.com/40623612

Amanda - October 31st, 2013 at 9:49 AM
Jen, thank you for this. My brother was the founding CFO for IC and Jason Russell is a close family friend. They are simply imperfect people with a vision to relieve the world of suffering. They have hearts that love Jesus and want to make an impact; they are simply fulfilling His purpose in their lives.

Men will hate. After all, they hated HIM.

We don't have to please everyone. But we do have to stand before the Lord one day. May He say to us, Well done thy good and faithful servant. Well done.
Sara - January 12th, 2015 at 1:11 PM
It was never between "us" and "them" anyway :)

The version found written on the wall in Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

-this version is credited to Mother Teresa

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