On a Chef’s phrase and Justin Bieber’s Rolling Stone interview

Birthday/Labor Day Weekend 2011

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. 
Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.                                                                                                Proverbs 31:8-9 (NIV)

This weekend, I turn 49 years old, which means I am about ready to enter my 5th decade of life!  It is amazing to me that the exterior and the birth certificate screams 49, yet I sill feel like I look out at the world through the eyes of a 13 year old at best.

I am a big fan of Birthday’s.  My friend Elizabeth would always send me a card and it would say, “I am glad that you were born”!  I loved hearing that – so much so that I have adopted it as my own and love to wish it to others on Facebook.  The older I get, the more I am passionate about that fact that everyone deserves a birthday and that every life matters.

I had a friend once who was a chef at a higher education dining hall. We got talking one day about how to handle complaints. His response was that every morning he would start his day by saying out loud “Jesus loves me and nobody can take away my birthday”.  This has become my mantra for courageous leadership – giving perspective of what really matters and who the ultimate audience is when you want to take on a monumental challenge. Surely there is much opposition, but if God’s heart is for the defenseless and our call is to defend the defenseless, than perspective will need to be certain so that opposition will not overcome.

The sad thing about “freedoms” in our country today is that it is allowable and legal for people to have the right to take away people’s birthday’s. According to an August 2011 report from the Guttmacher Institute, there have been 50,000,000 legal abortions since Rowe v Wade allowed people to take away birthdays in 1973. This makes me wonder what talent and what leadership are missing in the mix of humanity that could be contributing to solutions in our world.

Recently I have been partnering with organizations that are trying to raise awareness of this issue in a manner that does not militantly confront folks but asks good questions.  With that involvement, I know that it is a complicated issue, it impacts vulnerable single moms to have a harder road to raise a child, it calls on reform within the U.S. Foster system and to streamline adoption in process and pricing (I am aware of a recent U.S. adoption that cost nearly $35,000). This issue has put so much blame on the mother when that is the very person that we should be assisting and encouraging, not villainizing. This is the challenge that someone in this rising generation of leaders needs to take on and establish solutions for the sake of the lives lost but with the sensitivity of the women who will ultimately bear the burden.

In a recent Rolling stone interview, Justin Bieber received a lot of criticism for saying what he felt about life“I really don’t believe in abortion. … I think [an embryo] is a human. It’s like killing a baby.”  I find this a bit interesting in the “whatever” postmodern culture of tolerance; that one’s opinion would be criticized. Never the less, I am proud that The Biebs is willing to speak up for those who are unable to speak for themselves.

The fact is that you Emerging Millennials leaders—the correctors—will need to figure out what you stand for. As Rosa Parks said, “Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held it’s ground.”

In the recent past, you of the rising generation have been figuring out how to combat the sex trade industry, bring clean water to the thirsty, shoes to those without and so much more. I am confident that there are some of you out there that will take a stand and not avoid the subject because it is controversial.  I am also confident that you can figure out a way to reverse the genocide of the unborn—those who cannot speak for themselves—in a way that is non-violent, highly effective, sensitive to the mother and will protect every life from someone taking away their birthday … Keep up the great work.

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