The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio are in full swing. The visibility of the Olympics on NBC is limited. You could get the impression that the USA is taking home all the gold!
Some Brazilians are making visible some hidden aspects of a global event. They are seeing, and showing the Olympics through their religious, evangelical commitments. (I have written about these commitments in posts over the last three days, that you can read, if you are interested).
Brazil is visible to the athletes primarily the Olympic village, but from a different perspective than we see through NBC. One former student of Christian Academy of Guatemala is competing for Guatemala. On Sunday night he streamed live, and we could see as he moved from the Olympic village to Maracanã.
Tourists from around the world are seeing Brazil from yet another perspective, depending, perhaps, on where they get to stay. Today’s paper in São Paulo had a long article about the Penthouses and Mansions that smart Carioca’s rented out. One went for $40,000…a night!
Some see the world gather in Rio from a place of exclusion.
But there are many Brazilians who have found courage in Christ to confront sexual tourism and exploitation of adolescents in the name of Christ. And this is one way international visitors will discover the visibility of Brazilian evangelicals, particularly if they don’t get the chance to drive through neighborhoods and see all the buildings that house churches.
One Brazilian movement has been praying and preparing for several years to go this month to the Plazas and Venues where Olympic visitors will gather or circulate. They are trying to be visible and speak out on behalf of sexually exploited kids whose lives are destroyed through global connections that come together at events like the Olympics. I hope you will take a minute to read the report from Bola na Rede about their first day on the streets. I have put this article into Google Translate for you so you can access it in “good enough” English.
Bola na Rede is an amazing movement. The vision of Bola na Rede is to confront the sexual exploitation of adolescents–particularly in the context of construction of venues (money and concentration of workers) and the realization of global events (One of the themes of Brazil and its interaction with the world has been through the lens of sexual exploitation).
The movement mobilized churches throughout Brazil to pray and to find helpful teaching in the Bible and to recognize the context. They taught churches to ask God to use them to rescue adolescents from exploitation, culminating in the Olympics. In the process, many churches have had to confront the sexual exploitation within the churches. It has been quite a journey to prepare for this engagement with the world.
They are now making themselves visible, so that the exploitation will be visible, too, and vulnerable adolescents can come out into the light where they be protected and rescued from exploitation.