Last night I chaired a meeting for the local community on the subject of child poverty; a nearby university and various community leaders have been working together to provide services for children in need, and I invited the founder of Child Poverty Action Osaka to come and provide a bit of inspiration. And I was certainly inspired. Two quotes, very loosely translated, which have application to mission as well: Read more about Wise words
There are, famously, two types of people in the world: those who can extrapolate from incomplete information. I think another division between people is between those who are (predominantly) question people, and those who are answer people. I don’t mean that some people ask more questions and some people answer them; what I mean is that some people are more naturally skilled at defining the boundaries of a problem than they are at finding a solution to that problem. Read more about Question people and answer people
After listening to a particularly, uh, interesting sermon a while back I thought it might be a fun idea to put together a site like yourlogicalfallacyis.com, but specialised for preachers. Of course, most of those logical fallacies apply more generally, but handling the Bible comes with its own special set of fallacies. Here are twenty to be getting on with, but I am sure you can think of more.
The ethnocentric fallacy
Oh, I hear this all the time: my culture does this, and therefore it must be what the Bible means. Read more about Know Your Exegetical Fallacies
I’m going to do something dangerous and novel on this blog and actually try and give useful practical information; at least useful and practical if you’re a missionary in Japan. A lot of missionaries run events in their churches for various reasons, but not many missionaries go to events outside of the church, run by ordinary Japanese people. Read more about Six Things We Learnt About How Japanese People Run Events
Recently I’ve been thinking of what it means to be successful as a church planter. To be honest I still don’t know what it should mean yet, or even if the concept of success is something that you can meaningfully apply to church planting, but within missionary culture I’ve seen two main criteria for success in operation: church growth, and continuity. These criteria are normally unspoken, but they’re certainly assumed. Read more about How to cheat at church planting
Yesterday I went to my daughter’s first nativity play. (Man, I’m getting old.) The local nursery has a Christian foundation, and they take the opportunity to remind people of the origins of Christmas.
I know a lot of Christians are fond of the phrase “WWJD” - What Would Jesus Do? It seems like a simple and natural rule for life. I love the phrase too, but for a very different reason.
The reason I love the phrase is that it reminds me that, at any given time, I have absolutely no idea what Jesus would do. Because most of the time, Jesus would do something that nobody expected. Nobody at all. Read more about What Would Jesus Do?
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a few months and have sat down time and again to work out the “right way” to say what I want. Now I realise that if I wait until I work out the right way, I’m never going to write it, so I think I’ll just go with something a bit unpolished, if only to get something out. I hope it’s clear that the title is a hyperbole. Read more about Against Partnership
A few years back I tried to gather as much information as possible about the state of the Japanese church. Last time I reported on these statistics, church membership was down, church attendance was down, baptisms were down… it wasn’t a great time for the Japanese church. Periodically I wonder what, if anything, has happened since then. Read more about Japanese church statistics, revisited
As a publisher, I get all kinds of interesting book proposals. Some of them come from people with, let’s say, unorthodox ideas. It’s all well-meaning stuff, but I have to find delicate ways of suggesting that perhaps this is not the kind of material I would like to publish. Eddie has just written thoughtfully on the problems of Christians not displaying adequate scepticism for anything that suits their goals. I would go a bit further and say there is a worrying flirtation with conspiracy theories within great swathes of popular Christianity. Read more about Christians and Conspiracy Theories