Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Of all of these, the final one was the most interesting. The idea that most problems are not intrinsically evil but are simply our emotions either running scared or running amok is a great shift in the thinking behind both sides of most arguments. If leaders and churches will focus on keeping their emotions in check and making sure they feel safe even though they "walk through the shadow of death" churches can become a great place for respectful dialogue, peaceful negotiations and reconciliation.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Ramachandra said that Christians should do, “Anything to encourage the rich to part with their money.” This is what God put us here to do? God loves the rich, too. I do believe Jesus’ attitude toward Zacchaeus and his parable in Luke 19.1-27 would challenge Ramachandra. Jesus did not condemn Zacchaeus for being rich. He simply asked to come to his home. The people grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner” (v. 7, ESV). Zacchaeus felt shame for what he had done and repented. Jesus does not begin a lecture on the evils of the Roman economic system. He simply stated “Today salvation has come to his house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (vv. 9-10). This should be the attitude we take towards the rich. Theologians and missiologists should not feel jealous because businessmen have more money and possessions. Theologians and missiologists should challenge them to see beyond the physical and acknowledge the one who blessed them with what they have. By doing this the businessman and the rich will see God’s love for them not as rich or poor but as his creation. Then when they become as Zacchaeus and want to give away their money to the poor cross cultural workers like myself can rejoice with them and help them do the things Ramachandra suggested. Unfortunately none of this will happen until theologians stop grumbling that non-Christians and nominal Christians fail to live by Jesus’ standards (which they outright reject or care little for) and have more than the poor, show little to no understanding of economics and attempt to portray the rich as the enemy instead of someone who needs God.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The second half of class we spent reading an upcoming chapter in a book he is editing. It was very interesting and I hope to have more to write later.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
The second-most interesting part was the idea of planting churches in "natural social units" (to use a phrase used by Dr. McGavran). If a person's natural social unit is a sci-fi fan base, how does the gospel go into that area? (See my previous book report on Dr. McGavran's book Bridges of God for a possible answer to this question.) These are fascinating questions which can and should be addressed by churches all over the world.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
The class today focused on mission in postmodernity. Being a member of a group from the Restoration movement of the early 1800s, I find their ideas refreshing. Where the beginning of the Restoration Movement was similar to Hezekiah (2 Kings 18-20; 2 Chronicles 29-32), I liken these concepts to the age of Josiah (2 Kings 22:1-23:28; 2 Chronicles 34-35). The church in postmodernity asks questions about traditions and mindsets which are more ingrained into the church than what the Restorationists asked. The idea of a holistic gospel focusing on building a discipling community and allowing for organizational chaos appeals to me. They are on the Restorationist track and go further than we have gone in the past.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
For my first Church Planting book review, I read Donald McGavran’s book The Bridges of God.
Donald McGavran grew up in India and worked there for 30 years as a missionary. Upon coming home, he began a school in Oregon dedicated to the study of missions. In 1965, he establish the School of World Mission (now the School of Intercultural Studies) at Fuller Theological Seminary. His is best known for his approach to missions called the “Church Growth Movement.”
The major thesis of The Bridges of God is given by McGavran himself, “The era has come when Christian Missions should hold lightly all mission station work, which cannot be proved to nurture growing churches, and should support the Christward movements within Peoples as long as they continue to grow at the rate of 50 per cent per decade or more” (109).
The major problem McGavran sees with the “Mission Station Approach” is that churches near these stations have grown stagnate. The solution to this problem is not to redouble our current (to 1955) efforts, but to learn how people groups are converted to Christianity and adapt to those strategies to create “People Movements” – large numbers of people in a certain tribe, race or community becoming disciples of Jesus.
The most glaring problem is that Westerners often have an ignorance of group dynamics in conversion. Western society stresses individual spirituality in Christianity which produce churches made of individual Christians. In group-based societies becoming a Christian may ostracize the Christian from his/her people group unless the group is converted as a whole.
McGavran sees mission work in Acts as people building “bridges” between Christians in Jerusalem and their family and friends in other cities to convert entire families in preparation for the gospel. Paul’s mission journeys were not to convert random people far away but to cross bridges built by Christians and create a vibrant, growing “People Movement.”
This concept is extremely important to Christian missions today. Missionaries must rely on native Christians to direct their work since they have built the best bridges to their friends and family. This concept has been expanded by David Garrison (Church Planting Movements, 2004) by encouraging missionaries to allow native Christians to not only build bridges but to disciple as well.
Overall, the book is meant to be read by mission organizations and church organizations with hopes of reviewing and re-appropriating their workers and money. This is the dated part of the entire book. His major view is that foreign missionaries should continue to live and work with the people (and grow as the group grows) until the church has reached maximum potential. This attitude continues Western hegemony over mission works instead of focusing on turning over all the work to the people. However, the first half of the book is very interesting and worth reading.
McGavran, Donald A. 1955. The bridges of God; a study in the strategy of missions. New York: Distributed by Friendship Press. (Reprinted 2005 by Wipf & Stock)
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Students will write a paragraph per chapter read. Student need not write more than 500 words per book, but must reflect on each chapter read nonetheless. Students are encouraged to read in light of final paper, thus these reflections may serve as notes for the term paper as well (15%). Students may read the six books in any order. The six book reports are due on your blog by the start of class on October 6, October 20, November 3, November 17, December 1, and December 10. Late posts will receive a 50% deduction.
For class participation, students will write, on the average, 50 words for each class session attended. These 50 words are due at the start of the next day of class on your personal blog. There will be no makeups or acceptance of late work, but of the ten assignments, only nine will be counted. So, students may miss two without a penalty. The topic will be, "My thoughts on the last class session." The last class reflection is due December 10th (15%).