To say the past few weeks have been a whirlwind for those associated with Invisible Children‘s Kony 2012 Campaign would be a gross understatement.  Amid the viral spread of the video on the world-wide web, the emotional and outraged response during the Ugandan showing, and culminating with the arrest of Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell, the controversy continues to swirl across the globe.  I don’t want to initiate a bash, nor a support Kony 2012 group here, but to simply offer a few perspectives on the phenomenon known as Kony.

So here’s a few viewpoints, starting with what teens are thinkinga possible Christian response, a multi-dimensional look from MSNBC‘s Chris Hayes, and one young man’s perspective who was smack in the middle of Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.  You can also check out Dare2Share’s student devo- Kony and the Devil.

I realize there are a vast amount of opinions circulating around Kony 2012, Invisible Children, and Jason Russell.  Allow me to voice a couple of my own.  First, there seems to be either full support, or full criticism for Invisible Children and Kony 2012 from the Christian community.  I can’t say I’m a full supporter, nor do I intend to jump on the bashing bandwagon.  What happened to IC co-founder Jason Russell is indeed unfortunate, and certainly doesn’t help the PR headaches they were already facing.   I don’t know enough about IC’s other pursuits to make much of an informed comment, but from what I understand about the Kony 2012 campaign, they have caused tension in several areas that they likely should have seen coming.  For instance, when the Kony film was shown in Ugandan villages the reception was one of anger, hostility and hurt.  Though Kony 2012 producers meant to communicate “Make Kony famous” as a way of making him so infamous world-wide that he’d be caught, that message was lost in translation with the Ugandan people.  Also, the slick use of cinematography, storyline and western understanding appeared to be almost as much about promoting ‘the next cause’, as it was about the serious long-term commitment needed to bring freedom and resolve to the plight of Uganda and her people.

Secondly, though there is certainly much controversy surrounding Invisible Children, Jason Russell, and the Kony 2012 Campaign (some deserved), the fact is that the Kony film has made the world aware of a serious problem that went widely unknown before.  Are there some questions of intent and transparency?  Sure.  Were there some lapses in judgement and foresight in telling a story to the world without fully considering how that message would be received by the very people in that story?  Yeah.  But you can criticize all you want…”it was 10 years too late“, “the problem isn’t just Joseph Kony, but a corrupt system“…but at least Kony 2012 did something to raise awareness of the evil and exploits of one of the world’s most despicable people.  I think churches and Christians have more reason to support the message than they have to scoff at the messenger.  We should be checking every message (and messenger) that begs for our attention and support instead of blindly endorsing every cause that carries the popularity card of the day.  Likewise, we shouldn’t jump off the wagon because every one else is!

(Edit addition) Lastly, I think churches, organizations, and people should respond with some prudence and wisdom and be very cautious about beginning, or continuing any support to IC or the Kony 2012 campaign.  Questions need to be answered re: the future of IC’s leadership (including Jason Russell), their financial reports when Kony 2012 is all said-and-done (whenever that is), and their mission and vision moving ahead (if it changes at all).  Until then, there’s gonna be some necessary space and ‘pause’ to allow the dust and debris to settle.  Hopefully IC’s awareness campaigns and great on-field work will continue to make positive strides to dismantle injustice.  As my friend Clint said; “I’d never donate to them (IC), but I sure would love to work for them!”

Watch the film, check out Invisible Children (both their website and reviews from others).  Pray that Joseph Kony is brought to justice, and that somehow he would repent from his evil and sin and come to faith in Christ (yes, God would forgive him if he sincerely asked!).  Pray for the people of Uganda (especially those impacted by the atrocities) to experience a revival of freedom and salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Pray for Jason Russell and the battles he faces, and has faced, that have brought about these issues from an emotional roller coaster of events over the past year.  And pray for the injustice happening all over the world in places we know little or nothing about.  Pray for the Lord to work in and through His people to bring justice, mercy and care to the disenfranchised of this world with the love and heart of Christ.

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