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
Perhaps a key verse for Japanese pastors is John 17:12.
When I was with them I kept them safe and watched over them in your name that you have given me.
ヒルソングはパーフォマンスのメタファーがあるから、ステージがあって、ステージでバンドが中心であって、コンサートみたいな賛美礼拝をしています。カトリック教会は政府のメタファーがあるから、教皇、大主教、主教、祭司の組織階級があって、公会議や回勅を強調しています。救世軍はやっぱり軍隊のメタファーがあります。 Read more about 教会のメタファー
We leave this house tomorrow and I have to put this wonderful book back on the bookshelf, so time for one last quote:
Spirituality or devotional life seems to mean withdrawal from the world, charging my batteries and then going out into the world… so many minutes of spiritual exercise will give me so much mileage for the day that follows.
When I was growing up, the prevailing narrative was that Evangelical churches would “win” and liberal churches would die out, simply because the Evangelicals evangelised.
Yet even in my lifetime, Evangelical theology has shifted decisively on issues like social action, structural injustice, and female clergy, and there’s clearly interesting movement happening now in terms of LGBT issues. In each case, Evangelicals moved towards the position that the liberals held all along.
So, if Evangelicals say something that annoys you, don’t get upset about it. Just wait twenty years. Read more about The Long Game
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