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
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 following, with a little bemusement, Eddie’s recent series of posts reflecting on Onesimus’ post about dependence and toxicity in mission. Read more about Making friends, teaching English, and post-colonialism
Reading about the translation of Jn 3:16 in the Japanese Sign Language Bible reminded me of something that’s been sitting on my ever-expanding “wild ideas” list for quite some time now: we need a new translation of the Bible into Japanese. Or possibly two. Read more about Why we need another Japanese Bible translation (or two)
On my way out today I passed the local Shinto festival. In this particular festival, an ark is paraded around the whole town, carried on the shoulders of the young men, stopping at each houses and business so that the god enshrined in the ark can bestow blessings upon them. (Sounds rather like an Old Testament story, doesn’t it?) As you can see, it’s a very public festival involving a lot of people. That’s fairly common for Japanese festivals. Read more about Beating the Bounds
When I was growing up, the Church was very simple—there was the Evangelicals, who had the truth of the Gospel, and then there was everyone else: Anglicans (who were all nominal), Catholics, and liberals. There was another very simple equation: Evangelicals spread the Gospel and try to win converts, liberals didn’t really talk about Jesus but just did social and political stuff. You can still see remnants of these equations, in the way we talk about churches today. Read more about Learning to love the liberals