Mission | Bible | Languages

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Some Thoughts About Sin and The Fall

If sin is doing things that are offensive to our creator, we should expect that sin will be the antithesis of the nature of God – and when we look at it we find that this is very often the case. God is a God of relationships, and sin is about treating God and others badly. This is obvious in cases such as murder and stealing, which clearly cause harm to others, rather than bringing unity. Pornography turns another person into an object for your own satisfaction; selfishness puts you at the centre of the universe and so it goes on. At its root, sin reinforces the three-way breakdown in harmony between God, humanity and nature, that came in with the fall.

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Village Life

Imagine it’s your third day in an isolated African village. You are expected to treat a sick child in the afternoon and to preach in church in the evening; despite having no medical training and not being able to speak the local language (at least not so as people could understand, anyway).

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An (Updated) Overview of Missiology

Union Theology have posted an updated overview of missiology on their website. It is well worth a read.

If western missionaries still approach mission from the perspective that their way of doing things is the right way or the best way they risk being guilty of a kind of ecclesiastical colonialism. One of Bosch’s main emphasises is that mission will be practiced in partnership. In essence, mission can no longer be thought of as “from the West to the rest” but rather as being “from everywhere to everywhere”.

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It’s rather having only a few weeks left in a future-focussed role. I mean, I don’t actually have much of a future to focus on (in the role that is). These are some reflections that I recently shared with the Wycliffe UK staff.

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Bible Translation as Subversion

In our current context, where we tend to make a clear division between religion and politics, it is easy to dismiss Bible translation as a marginal activity which is only of interest to religious people. However, the reality is that any activity which involves the promotion of minority languages, as Bible translation inevitably does, is a highly political activity. In the popular imagination, we tend to conceive languages as being functions of nation states. We speak English in the United Kingdom, French in France, and German in Germany etc. However,…

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Cocoa and Child Labour

For six years we lived and worked in an isolated village in Ivory Coast, we lived alongside the people, learned their language and gained immense respect for their hard work and perseverance in a tough situation. Men and women would spend hours working in the cocoa fields under the hot sun and as often as not, their children would work alongside them. When Kouya children work in the cocoa fields, its not because they are slaves or being controlled by some evil master, it’s because a whole load of factors line up…

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Jesus Did Not Speak English

It isn’t often that I get called in to referee an argument between the Pope and the Israeli Prime Minister, but last week, I was interviewed by our local radio station about what language Jesus spoke. In what was a pleasant chat, I gave the generally accepted answer, that he probably spoke a number of languages; Aramaic in every day situations, Hebrew in religious contexts and perhaps some Greek or Latin. However, what I really wanted to say was that JESUS DID NOT SPEAK ENGLISH! Whatever those Sunday school posters…

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Christianity in Its Global Context

The internet is a wonderful thing; there is a lot of rubbish out there, but there are also lots of videos of puppies and kittens and there are also some really useful books and bits of information. One wonderful resource that many people don’t seem to be aware of is the excellent June 2013 report on Christianity in its Global Context 1970-2020 from the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon Conwell Seminary. Available as a free pdf download, the report stretches to almost 100 A4 pages, packed…

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Short Term Mission (Again)

There are some great things about short-term mission trips and there are some other aspects which are, well, not so great. Recently a couple of great blog posts have taken a look at the phenomenon and concluded that despite the down-side, there is a good case to be made for short-term trips.

However, the complexity of the question highlights the need for a set of best-practice guidelines which can both help those who are organising trips to do so better and also help people who are thinking about going on trips to identify the most reputable organisations in the field.

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You’ll Never Get Me Up In One of Those Things

“But it is tragic if Christians take their beliefs more from fictional novels and even comics and Hollywood movies than from a careful study of the Bible itself and of the solid tradition of Christian faith through the ages of the church. we need to ask whether our beliefs in these matters are shaped by the recent popular “folk Christianity” in our surrounding culture, or by thoughtful understanding of the Bible for ourselves.” Chris Wright, writing about the ‘rapture’ and related ‘end times’ teaching.

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