Mission work is full of military metaphors: we talk about “targeting” individuals, “mobilizing” workers for an “advance” on the “field”. Many organisations have realised that this kind of talk is deeply inappropriate, but it still remains perhaps because there is an underlying mindset which still thinks in those terms. In particular, mission in the age of the buster and boomer generations is still based on a command-and-control mentality. Read more about Millennials in Mission
“Man is God appearing in the universe, appearing visibly in the midst of all he created. That changes the meaning of man, doesn’t it?
“I can see you Masai shaking your heads and saying, No! Man is not God. We know man, and he is filled with evil. He fights, he kills, he destroys, he does everything to separate others, and to separate himself from them.
I’m editing a book on the history of the Japanese Orthodox Church. It’s a fascinating story for me because the pioneer missionary period was by far the most successful in Japanese Christianity. One missionary and a couple of short-termers planted hundreds of churches and a hundred thousand church members. It’s amazing. Read more about An illustrative example from history
One of the things that keeps me, well… still a Christian is my ability to maintain a strict mental separation between Jesus and his followers. I think it’s a way of thinking that’s also popular with the spiritual-but-not-religious crowd. You know how it goes: I find the figure of Jesus amazing, intriguing and inspiring, even though I think quite a lot of the things that individual Christians have done are ugly, hateful and hypocritical distortions of his message. In general, we’re mean to the world around us, and by God are we even meaner to each other. Read more about Broken for you
Short but simple:
Read everything you send out from the perspective of the most recent recruit to your organisation. If they can’t understand it without tons of assumed background knowledge, you’re alienating and disenfranchising them. (And probably lots of other people too.)
What I’m talking about is this kind of rubbish: Read more about A small suggestion for organisational communication
A few friends have shared this article by Joseph Kim, explaining why he’s a missionary to Japan. It does a pretty good job of some of the context to Japanese society, even if some of the figures are off. Read more about What does a mission field look like?
I’ve heard it said that one of the big differences between communication in the West and communication in the East is about who has the burden of understanding. In the West, it’s up to the speaker to make themselves understood—if a listener doesn’t understand, they ask questions to force the speaker to clarify themselves; if you do any speaking in the East, you will find that there are much fewer questions—it’s up to a listener to understand, and if they don’t, they go away and think about what was said until they do. Read more about Evangelism: For whose benefit?
I’ve been trying to write this for a while but have struggled to find the words; Rachel Held Evans’ recent article about millennials leaving the church has provided me with a bit of much-needed impetus. Like her, I’m not sure that I’m qualified to speak as a millennial, (although I have been amusingly mistaken for one.) but speaking for myself: there is very little about Evangelical culture that I like. There, I’ve said it. Read more about A matter of taste