When I was growing up, the prevailing narrative was that Evangelical churches would “win” and liberal churches would die out, simply because the Evangelicals evangelised.
Yet even in my lifetime, Evangelical theology has shifted decisively on issues like social action, structural injustice, and female clergy, and there’s clearly interesting movement happening now in terms of LGBT issues. In each case, Evangelicals moved towards the position that the liberals held all along.
So, if Evangelicals say something that annoys you, don’t get upset about it. Just wait twenty years. Read more about The Long Game
This relates to some conversations I’ve been having this week…
We often call ourselves channels or instruments which God uses to communicate His messages to people… In the channel or instrument metaphor, the missionary becomes a mere tool; the idea almost seems to be that it is regrettable that such a tool should be used, but inasmuch as no other mans of communication exists, we have to put up with such tools… the whole idea is for the the instrument not togged involved with the contents.
A Spirituality of the Road is an amazing book, chock full of David Bosch’s considerable insight into missionary life but applied to very practical situations. I would recommend it for any missionary. Bosch develops strong arguments over the course of several pages, so he doesn’t really lend himself to soundbites, but I will try to find a few interesting quotes to whet people’s appetites for this fantastic book. Here’s one on prayer: Read more about David Bosch on Prayer
Let us imagine a Hindu, with very little understanding of Christianity, saying something like this:
Hindus should not use printing presses. The printing press is a Christian invention. If you look at the history of the printing press, you will find that it was created by Christians, for the explicit purpose of printing Christian Bibles. Since then hundreds of Christians have used it to create all kind of Christian books which they believe have brought people closer to their god, and so it is obvious that printing books is a Christian religious practice.
When I was at language school I was swapping stories with my language teacher. I was asking him about the collections of bottles of water you often see outside Japanese houses around the obon season; I had been assured by an experience missionary that they were offerings to the spirits of the ancestors who returned to earth at obon, so that they could have a drink on their journey. Well, not exactly, said my language teacher; they’re there to reflect the sunlight into cats’ eyes and stop cats peeing on people’s gardens. Read more about Bamboo Tree and Christmas Tree
There are a couple of really good articles going around about short-term mission at the moment, and so the main purpose of this post is to make sure you’ve read:
Someone asked if this applies to Japan, and so as a bonus here are my half-baked thoughts on the subject: Read more about Who does short term mission help?
Caitlin is three years old now, and has started taking an interest in the Bible stories. It started at Christmas, when she wanted us (over and over and over again) to tell her the Nativity story. Every day she acted out the story with us and with her dolls. And then she wanted to know what happened after Jesus was born, so we started acting out more of the stories of Jesus; and now she’s working her way through the Old Testament. She loves acting out the stories of Joseph, Moses, Daniel and so on. But… there’s a problem. Read more about #YesAllBiblicalWomen
I’ve been writing a lot of mobile applications recently, using PhoneGap to create portable HTML5-based apps. It’s had a few frustrations but I’m getting the hang of it now. One of the frustrations is that the icon and splash screen handling is essentially not there. You have to manually create a lot of versions your icons and splash screens with different sizes for each platform, and then put them in the right place in the build directory. Read more about Phonegap Icon Maker Hook
Japanese churches are, in general, pretty dualistic. They only really deal with “spiritual” subjects; they may be excellent at giving you a theologically correct exposition of a Bible passage, and even at showing how that should affect your religious life, but they have very little concern for the “secular” life. For all that Japanese churches can teach you about how to relate to God, from the reaction I’ve received, providing teaching on how to relate to the world seems pretty revolutionary here. Read more about A theology of work