I’ve not been very prolific of late; I don’t seem to have the energy to think creatively or to write at the moment. Hopefully, the Christmas break will help me get back into the groove.
However, while I have been staring at a screen and getting nothing accomplished, others have been blogging up a storm; there is a lot of good stuff out there of late.
Jim Wallis has written a brilliant article about Christmas and commercialism which captures my thoughts on the issue far better than I ever could.
But what we actually have here is theological problem, where cultural and commercial symbols are confused with truly Christian ones, and the meaning of the holy season is missed all together.
The theological journal Anvil has recently gone online. The most recent edition of the magazine is on Global Mission and includes three must read articles.
- A Theology for the Ephesian Moment Stephen Bevans (Anvil 27-2 p10)
- Theological Translatability in the New Global Context Timothy C Tennent (Anvil 27-2 p20)
- Witnessing Together: Christian Mission and Global Partnership Atola Longkumer (Anvil 27-2 p30)
There are also a number of excellent book reviews, though you might find yourself spending money if you read them all! Anvil doesn’t have an rss feed, but you can keep up to date with what they are doing by following them on twitter.
Christians—and missionaries—can be at times the best and at other times the worst representatives of Christ. They’re not perfect. They will make mistakes, and they will take some cultural presuppositions with them no matter how much they are trained not to.
Missionaries will unapologetically keep campaigning against female mutilation, deceivingly referred to as female circumcision; they will fight against cannibalism, witchcraft and human sacrifice. But they will also miss the mark sometimes and carry their Western values too far. Missionaries are still sinners, but when they follow Christ and make His glory their chief end, they elevate culture and follow the call of Jesus.
The ever provocative (in a good way) Jamie, has posted some superb thoughts on the way in which Christians can be very reluctant to seriously evaluate ‘ministry’.
Many people have told me, in regard to short-term missions, if we’re well-intentioned then no matter what the actual results say, it’s ok – because God will back us up. And some have said that what matters most is our motives; If our motives are pure, then we’re cool – God will have our backs. And others have gone on to say “Hey, we’re human, of course we’re gonna screw up. But we’ve got God on our side, so it’s all good.”…We should not be using “God’s Grace” as an insurance policy while we run around the planet potentially doing harm to those we seek to serve. “Grace” does not relieve us of liability for the people we run down in our efforts to evangelize. And “Grace” cannot be used to exonerate the Church of its responsibility to engage the world intelligently.
“During the service, following my words, Pastor Rangba rose and encouraged the congregation, saying, ‘This work of translation is our work. Don’t think that the translators are just doing it for themselves. They are doing it for the Lord, and for us. We are responsible, and we’re the ones who are going to really benefit from this work. So let’s give to this work of the Lord without hesitation.’
“And he added to me, as representative, ‘Don’t hesitate to come and ask us if we can make offerings, because that is what we can do to help. We may not have much, but we want to give, and when we give to support Bible translation we are proud to do it!’”
Lastly for today, Mark has posted some superb photographs of the dedication of the Gospel of Luke in the Kabwa Language of Tanzania. I especially liked this one.