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Missions 101

Kony 2012 and Social Media: Think Before You Post

Mar. 8, 2012By: Jeff AtherstoneAuthor Bio
Jeff Atherstone is the principal of African Renewal Christian College and has lived in Uganda with his family for a number of years.
 
UPDATE:  Here is another helpful article published at The Atlantic Wire.

Kony 2012 is about to become one of the largest social media movements that we have ever seen.
Christians around the world have already started posting, sharing, liking and tweeting the film like there is nothing else on the internet.   My purpose in writing is to share concerns as a Christian missionary within Uganda and to encourage Christians to understand the nature of this movement.

Let’s start with the positives:

1.     Joseph Kony should be stopped. If I don’t agree with that then you should start a campaign to capture me in 2012...

2.     Children are precious and valuable in the sight of God and should never have to live in fear of abduction, rape and violence.

3.     Making children into soilders should capture the attention of the world.

4.     These guys know how to create a movement, awareness and gut-wrenching films and that is their primary work. Other Christian organizations can and should learn from their methods.  Imagine if we were this creative in promoting the gospel!

SO WHY AM I CONCERNED ABOUT THIS BEING VIEWED AS A CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT?

Invisible Children is not a Christian Organization
 
My primary concern is that Christians may view this as a religious movement when it sounds a bit more like the Crusades! This is a social political movement, not a Christian movement.  Invisible Children does not claim to be a gospel-movement or even a Christian organization. Read the Kony 2012 website and you will not find any obvious reference to their faith or beliefs. As Christians we need to be aware of this and make sure that we are not promoting it in our churches as a Christian movement.

Due to the methods and media involved with this movement many youth (and also adults) are getting swept up in it. My fear is that youth pastors (of which I was one from 1998-2005) around the US will take up this cause, giving the youth in the church the idea that this is what Christianity is all about. My fear is that pastors will bring this into the pulpit as a Christian cause.  

Invisible Children Doesn't Know the First Thing about Capturing the World's Most Wanted Criminal

In their film, Invisible Children promotes supporting the UPDF (Uganda’s Military). This is an organization that is currently known for reckless violence, looting and for raping women. They are controlled by a President who as recently as last April order the arrest of his opposition without cause, saw him violently beaten and incited riots across the country. Unfortunately the world was too busy watching Will and Kate’s wedding, so no one saw the military shooting rubber bullets and live ammunition into crowds of innocent civilians, which included my wife. Unfortunately no one saw the rioters retaliate and attack a bus full of children from 15 nations of the world, which included my son. The idea of supporting the UPDF makes me sick… 

Watch the film closely – right in the middle there is a section where a police officer is shown telling the Invisible Children filmmakers that they are in the way and they are not helping.  Their youthful enthusiasm is great, but it is also getting in the way of the people who are trying to keep order.
Joseph Kony has no stated cause, which the video clearly states. Invisible Children should have taken time to figure out his cause. It’s his ego, his self-worship, his desire to control and exhibit power over innocents. And Kony 2012 is just the type of fame that a warlord of his caliber is searching for.  Invisible Children is giving Kony the praise his ego desires. They are acknowledging that he is a powerful and illusive man that others should fear and this is enough to know draw other sick men to him to support his cause. Invisible Children gives him the recognition he needs to increase his support and ramp up for another movement against children and women.

Invisible Children Endangers Children
 

Who do you think is standing guard in Kony's camp?


Who do you think is holding a machine gun to his left and right protecting him?

And now Kony thinks that Obama is after him… don’t you think he is getting ready!

Unfortunately, the US is not after him. The US is only advising. Now Kony is preparing to fight the world’s elite when in reality it is the same army that has been unsuccessful in capturing him for over 20 years that is after him.

I’d much rather have him believe that all he has to worry about is the UPDF!

Invisible Children is Spending Less Than Half the Money They Raise in Uganda 

41 cents on the dollar makes it to Uganda and less than that goes to the children they claim to support.

Charity Navigator gave them a score of 2 Stars out of 4 when it comes to Accountability and Transperency – do you really know where your money is going?

Over half is going back to you in the form of cool t-shirts, bracelets and film. Your money isn’t supporting children in Uganda – it's supporting you!

Conclusion

Think before you post, share or tweet!

Jeff is the Vice-Chancellor of Africa Renewal University. One of the greatest needs in Africa is the training and mentoring of pastors. Before coming to Uganda Jeff served as a Pastor at Cornerstone Community Church of Moorpark and has been involved in pastoral ministry since 1998. Jeff has a Bachelors Degree in Theology and a Masters of Divinity from The Masters College and Seminary. He lives in Uganda with his wife Christine and their two sons Noah and Kadin.

Tags:  uganda, africa
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