Can we be theological chameleons?

When I went to Bible college, we were taught about a variety of theological viewpoints, with the implication that you would pick the one you liked the look of, since, you know, we’re all Protestants and so there’s nobody to tell you which one you should choose. (Although we will happily treat you like a heretic if you choose the wrong one.) And in terms of learning to work in multi-denominational teams and whatnot, that was all very useful to help us understand each other and, hopefully, not treat each other too much like heretics.

But we were also taught about contextualization and about presenting the Gospel in ways that make the most sense to the recipient, and so now when I come back to this idea of choosing which theological camp you belong to, I can’t help thinking, “Do I only get to choose one?” Read more about Can we be theological chameleons?

A sign that divides

A funny thing happened last week. One of the communities that we’re part of here, a deaf signing group, went on an outing. The plan was to visit a deaf school, walk from there down the hill through a temple to view the autumn leaves, and catch the bus home from the bottom of the hill. Because of having Caitlin with us, we came by car, which messed everyone up. (Rule one of Japan: Don’t be different.) So the group leader, being a good Japanese leader and so knowing that the most important thing is to keep the group together, did something very clever. Read more about A sign that divides

Rethinking people groups

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So Ernest Goodman and Eddie have both weighed in on the people group theory of mission, and apparently George Verver gave quite a critical appraisal of it at a Lausanne circuit meeting recently.

A while back I wrote a rant in response to Paul Eshleman’s truly extraordinary paper for the Lausanne one-way “conversation”, which I softened up for academic publication and then promptly did nothing with. Now the time seems right to dust it off, convert it back into rant format and post it here. Read more about Rethinking people groups

A contextual reading of the concept of sin in Japanese culture

So that title sounds like an essay - and maybe it will become one - but I’m just thinking through some thoughts at the moment. The other day I was at a meeting where someone was talking about how their friend didn’t have a sense of sin, thought they were a good person, didn’t do much wrong, and so on. That’s a typical Japanese approach to sin. Read more about A contextual reading of the concept of sin in Japanese culture

Model abuse

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This degree I’m doing, and the previous degree I did, are in a subject called “missiology”. The more missiology I do, the more I realise it’s an almost impossible discipline to do well. The reason I say this is that missiology sells itself as an interdisciplinary subject - a combination of theological reflection and something else: sociology, anthropology, economics, history, anything. In my case, leadership and organisational theory. Read more about Model abuse

Personal branding for missionaries

To keep up with the tech news, I follow Doggdot.us. (an aggregation of Digg, Slashdot and del.icio.us) It's a mixed bag of things which are interesting to computer people. Of the things that comes up now and again is about personal branding - how to establish a “brand identity” for yourself and market yourself, for instance to increase your appeal while job hunting.

We Make Change

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So last weekend, Nagahama church did the impossible: it hosted our engagement ceremony. It was on a much bigger scale than any of the engagement ceremonies they'd done before. We had much less preparation and many more guests coming than Pastor Takahashi and our volunteers were comfortable with. There were doubts about whether or not it was going to work, and feathers were ruffled. But in the end, it worked. Oh, did it work.