Category Archives: mission
Here are some quotes from an editorial from the London Times, December 27, 2008 entitled As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God.
….but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it.
Whenever we entered a territory worked by missionaries, we had to acknowledge that something changed in the faces of the people we passed and spoke to: something in their eyes, the way they approached you direct, man-to-man, without looking down or away. They had not become more deferential towards strangers – in some ways less so – but more open.
This article is well worth reading! Many of my Christian friends – especially my younger Christian friends – are planning on going to Africa – Sudan, Kenya, Mozambique and Senegal- to provide healing, education, hope, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are my heroes! I pray for you guys every day!
I was surprised to see “Christ Rocks” on the cover of the Philadelphia Weekly – a free newspaper that is distributed on the streets of Center City.
The article is written by Steven Wells who followed the band mewithoutYou for 10 days, a band that Gretchen likes so much that she gave me tickets to go to their show for my birthday. But then her mother got sick, so she had to go to California to be with her mom. I spent my birthday, me without Gretchen at the MeWithoutYou concert at the Traq, and liking them more and more as I listening to what Relevant Magazine recently listed as the seventh strangest thing in Evangelical Christianity.
The article ends with Steven Wells, who is writing from a (cynical) seekers perspective, asking a young woman if what Aaron Weiss (“dumpster diving, celibate, homeless”, lead singer of the band) says makes sense. “It doesn’t have to make sense”, she says.
I believe that what Christ taught makes sense, but life itself does not always make sense. Jesus taught that there is a God who “so loves you”, and that we have a responsibility to love people simply by the fact that God made them. All of the Bible, Jesus teaches, can be summed up in loving God with all your heart and loving people. This has not always been followed by the group of people who call themselves Christians, but it revolutionizes everything when it is followed. This makes sense to me.
Life itself however does not always make sense and is full of surprises and injustices.
This article also discusses Shaine Clainborne, Grace’s Circle of Hope Church, both of Philadelphia, and the Cornerstone Christian Rock Festival that takes place in Illinois, and Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
update: I am going to this! I bought my tickets and they were only $10 each. If you need a ride, please contact me.
Gretchen and I plan to be there. Sara Groves and Derek Webb are 2 of my favorite Christian music singers! The other 3 sound good as well. This should be a great concert!
For more information:
There is an interesting article in the latest New Yorker dated June 30, 2008 called The New Evangelicals.
Since 2004, influential pastors and the head of many large faith organizations have set a new national policy agenda, one founded on their understanding of the life of Jesus and his ministry to the poor, the outcast, and the peacemakers. The movement has no single charismatic leader, no institutional center, and no specific goals. It doesn’t even have a name. But it is nonetheless posing the first major challenge to the religious right in a quarter of a century
The New Yorker, Annals of Religion: The New Evangelicals, p 28 by Frances Fitzgerald
The article discusses how the only religious voice in the last presidential election was that of the Christian Right, but that this is changing. Mark Noll, the evangelical historian says “Evangelicals do not want themselves identified as the Republican Party at Prayer”. Rick Warren, “who is the best known evangelical preacher after Billy Graham” because of his book about purposeful living and being the pastor of the Saddleback Church, has repented of not serving the poor, and is calling for a second reformation, one that would be about “deeds not creeds”.
There is a new Christian Manifesto which says that it is the Christian’s duty “never to be completely equated to any party, partisan ideology, economic system or nationality” because “that way faith loses its independence, the church becomes ‘the regime at prayer’, Christians becom ‘useful idiots’ for one political party or another, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology.”
Bill Gates,52, just decided to leave MicroSoft. He is cleaning out his desk this Friday. He is worth $58 billion and has decided to become a philanthropist. Previously he has founded and led a company that made $51 billion last year and employs 78,000 people.
The Phoenix Mar’s lander is going to land on the polar cap of Mars to search frozen water for signs of life. As I write this, it is 2 hours, 1 minute away from touchdown at 7:53:33 EDT.
The last two landing on Mars has been done by inflating huge balloons and doing a bounce landing. Retro-thrust landings for non-manned spacecraft on Mars have been previously unsuccessful. This is going to be a retro-thrust landing so everybody has their fingers crossed hoping that everything will go all right.
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/main/index.html to see how things are going.
The landing will be streamed on NASA TV here.
read this: The Rengen Manifesto
here is a short piece of this beautiful pdf:
There are three conditions essential to a renaissance:
1. Death comes first. Right before the emergence of a renaissance, the dominant civilization
declines. The tension between life and death cycles stimulates a flowering of creativity. The culture
fuses where it’s been with where it’s headed and as the civilization dies, it throws off seeds for
the next cycle, which is often more creative and robust. After all, it is being built upon something
that was remarkable.
2. A facilitating medium. The Romans built a system of roads that covered most of Europe and
far into the East to connect people with other cultures. Today, our paths converge via the Internet.
3. Elevation of human potential. There is a penchant among the people to learn, explorenew thought, contribute and exchange ideas. People regain their sense of self-determination.
This has implications to faith and to a new evangelicalism that is not marching lock step into ecological disaster and quickening the date of Armageddon! Instead evangelical rengens can dare to be creative and to love and obey God with all our creativity and heart. It is time to renew and rediscover who we are. God’s Kingdom can be seen as a renaissance of His Spirit on earth as it is in heaven!
The place: Flushings, New York (now New York City, Queens)
The time: 1657
Flushings had just been around for only 12 years and most of the people there belong to the Dutch Reformed Church. The governor of New York, being a good Christian Puritan thought that the Quakers represented some kind of danger and made their meetings illegal. The ordinary English farmers of Flushings (a town only 12 years old) who had fled religious persecution and had been granted generous religious freedom by the 1645 charter noted the contradiction in treatment, and they got together in a town meeting to write a document called the Flushings Remonstrance to protest the intolerance to their Quaker friends.
The document says in part:
The law of love, peace and liberty in the states extending to Jews, Turks and Egyptians, as they are considered sons of Adam, which is the glory of the outward state of Holland, soe love, peace and liberty, extending to all in Christ Jesus, condemns hatred, war and bondage. And because our Saviour sayeth it is impossible but that offences will come, but woe unto him by whom they cometh, our desire is not to offend one of his little ones, in whatsoever form, name or title hee appears in, whether Presbyterian, Independent, Baptist or Quaker, but shall be glad to see anything of God in any of them, desiring to doe unto all men as we desire all men should doe unto us, which is the true law both of Church and State; for our Saviour sayeth this is the law and the prophets.
What these farmers did not know is that they had penned a great American document and that this right to free practice of religion would end up 125 years or so later to be enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights!
The immediate outcome of their actions was not positive. The governor was furious when he found out what the township of Flushing’s had done. The ring leaders were arrested, fined, jailed and/or deported. The author, Edward Hart, the town clerk, was jailed for three weeks until he apologized and recanted in writing. None of these people were Quakers – they were just friends of the Quakers who wanted to help them out.
The good news was that the Quakers continued to meet in Flushings.
Here is a good website about it:
The document still exists – although it is a little bit burned. Flanders is now a most diverse place. According to the New York Times article on the 350th anniversary of the document
And so the centuries-old message of tolerance in the Remonstrance is hardly an abstraction in this neighborhood of 60,000 residents and more than a hundred ethnic groups. Within a block of the library are the China Modern Bookshop, Woo Chon Korean Bar-B-Que, Barone Pizza, Cohen’s Fashion Optical and Pho Hoang Vietnamese Cuisine.
“There are so many religions here — and languages,” said Mohd Siraj, pointing to newspapers in more than 20 languages at the 24-Hour Newsstand where he works at 40-29 Main Street.
America is not a Christian Theocracy. It is not the manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth. America is, or should be, a place where “the law of love, peace, and liberty” is “extended to Jews, Turks and Egyptians”.
(this may be the first of a new series I am thinking of writing on the Bill of Rights)