Earlier this week, Eddie posted this quote:
It is more glamorous to do social activism because building a local church is hard.
The quote rankled me at the time, but held my tongue. Best to read it in context, I thought; he’s probably saying something else. Here it is in context: Read more about More on walking and chewing gum
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
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
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
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?