I went along to the very wonderful New Wine Women's Day on Saturday. Occasionally these things can seem somewhat introspective and me-centred, depending on my frame of mind as much as the content of the programme. It is valid and helpful to go along expecting to receive, but if we cannot translate what we receive into doing what Jesus said - protecting the poor and the marginalised - then I fear that what we have received may be too shallow.
On this day, I was challenged and inspired by all the speakers, but one of the information slots disturbed me to the extent I wanted to blog about it. Anne-Marie Wilson is a campaigner and founder of the charity 28 Too Many which was 'created to help eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the twenty-eight countries within Africa where it is still practised.'.
140 million African women have undergone this awful practise and it affects women across the world, inluding in the UK. I find it incredibly difficult to understand how a mother could inflict this suffering upon her daughter, having gone through it herself, yet know these things are deeply instilled in certain cultures and accepted as the norm and as a good thing. To me it's another example of our sad and fallen world. If we don't stand up against such practises they will be allowed to carry on into countless further generations.
I'm not going to go into the details here, you can read more on the website, but I wanted to share my horror and sadness that this is happening. As Adventure Bloke is at the moment in a part of the world where this is at times practised it is all the more real to me. I wonder what we can do to help charities like 28 Too Many? I do know that if we never stand up for anything nothing ever gets done. I also know most of us are exhausted with the constant demands from many different types of charities, and there can easily be an apathy involved with such causes. Can we break through this and be different? Can I? I hope so.