Posts Tagged ‘ missiology ’

Election Results, Evangelicals, and the Missing Link

Let me just say from the outset that I’m nobody to be trusted when it comes to politics. I watch almost no television news, I read very little political analysis on news websites, and my voting record is out of step with just about everybody I know. However, I, like most people, watched closely as the presidential election results came in on Tuesday, and I have my own set of opinions and emotions about the results. Having been bombarded with other peoples’ opinions and emotions on Facebook like many of you, I’ll leave mine out of this. (You’re welcome). As I watched the tallies pop up on the state-by-state boards, I was very interested that in nearly all of the closely contested “battleground/swing states,” the county maps were predominantly tipping to Mitt Romney, but President Obama ended up winning almost all of the states anyway . . . because he […]



The Challenge of Africa

For the past several days, I have had the privilege of joining a group of students studying leadership in global perspectives.  They come from a variety of backgrounds – both nationally and vocationally. It’s been a wonderful experience thus far, and one that has challenged our comfort levels, our categories of understanding, and how we interact with our home contexts. So far, our time has been in Nairobi, Kenya, but we’ll be heading to Ethiopia soon. One of the things we’ve done is spend time in a slum called Mathare. It’s not the biggest slum in Nairobi, but it is home to about 800,000 people. I’ve had previous experiences in slums here in Nairobi, in Dominican Republic, and in India (including the one on display in Slumdog Millionaire), so I was somewhat prepared for what I’d see. It’s pretty jarring, though – seeing children with little or no clothing, running […]



Answering Questions with Better Questions

As I prepare myself for starting work on a PhD, I do so with a range of emotions. Some days I have the confidence of lion, knowing that I’m up for the intellectual challenge, the persistence through frustration, and the occasional need to outlast boredom with the research process. Some days I very seriously question whether I have anything of value to offer the academic world, and wonder if I’m about to embark upon the grandest form of missing the point I’ve ever been a part of. Some days I simply get a little nervous about my ability to answer questions. For me, questions are a big deal. Perhaps the biggest deal of them all. After living more than half of my adult life with the distinct impression that it was my job to find and discover the “right” answers to all of life’s important questions, I stumbled my way […]



2 Days to Exegeting A City

I write this from a café in London. I arrived in this amazing city less than 24 hours ago, and am going to be getting on a train out of town in just a couple hours. Not a lot of time for all things touristy, which is fine by me, because I’m a terrible tourist (and proud of that). Good tourists, though, use an array of guidebooks that can take you on a tour of any given city according to their favorite criteria – “London on $5 a Day!” or “Top Ten Restaurant Experiences in New York” or “The Two Day Guide to Copenhagen.” I haven’t ever read those guides, but I’m sure they’re fun ways of learning a city if you on a limited time frame and/or budget. As a blue collar missiologist/theologian, I’m much more interested in the process of “reading” a city than I am in seeing […]



Review: The Outsider Interviews

I just finished a quick read through The Outsider Interviews, by Jim Henderson, Todd Hunter, and Craig Spinks.* It’s billed as a “DVB,” meaning that it’s a book and a DVD together. The DVD has a large number of video clips that are referenced throughout the chapters of the book. I would guess that if this were to be published a year or two from now, the iPad and Kindle versions of the book would integrate the video clips straight into the text. While I read about half of the book away from a TV or computer, I was able to read the other half while sitting next to my computer, and followed the cues to watch the clips. The content of the DVB was largely driven off of the authors’ interaction with material presented in the book unChristian, by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. That book presents a lot […]



Globalizing Pop Christianity

Setting out on my global journey, one of the things I fully expected to see a lot of was USAmerican/Western influences in the churches and Christian communities I was visiting.  So it came as no surprise to me that Purpose Driven this, and Willow Creek that have been pretty visible in several places, as have been the worship songs (whether in English, or translated).  I’ve been to a church services with a live worship band, but the pastor’s sermon on a screen – a.k.a. video venue.  I’ve seen an African church website advertising it’s latest sermon series that riffs on the U.S. television show “Extreme Home Makeover.”  Even some of the voices from the emerging church are pretty well known around the world. In my opinion, this is one of the things that may most hinder truly missional expressions of church in the years ahead.  While it is true that […]



The Christian Allah

The day I arrived in Kuala Lumpur was a significant day for Christians there.  Not because it was the 7th day of Christmas, but because of a High Court ruling.  First, a little background.  Malaysia is officially a Muslim country.  There is a wide diversity of people groups, and along with that, an acknowledgment that there will be a variety of other faith practices, but the default is Islam. The court case, in some ways, goes back to 17th century, when a Dutch-Malay dictionary was created.  When it came to translating the word “God,” they used the word most familiar to the local people – Allah.  This word has been in fairly common use ever since – in Bible translations, as well as other books and training materials.  The specific case in question had to do with a Catholic newspaper’s use of the word Allah, which some people took issue […]



Playing the Power Game

After getting off the airplane in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, getting my luggage, and going through customs, I was greeted by Alfredo, who works with la Red Del Camino network here in the DR.  Specifically, he works with a program called Endeavor, which receives and deploys teams of people from outside the country who come here to do various “ministry” projects.  Previously he worked with Habitat for Humanity.  One of the distinctives of Endeavor is that when they’re contacted by a group wanting to come do a “mission trip,” they hit the pause button from the get-go.  They believe that before just jumping into a work project together, it’s much better to become friends first.  This means slowing down long enough to get to know each other and develop some mutuality in the relationship.  Sure, they’ll end up getting some important work done, but first things first. Alfredo explained that […]



The Questions of Caribbean Theology

Within just a couple of hours of being in Puerto Rico, I had the opportunity to sit with Professor Agustina Luvis in her office at the Seminario Evangelico de Puerto Rico.  Dr. Luvis teaches a broad range of courses, including Systematic Theology, courses on Pentecostalism, Feminist Theology, and Caribbean Theology.  I learned a lot in my brief time with her, and left with a lot more questions than I had gone into our meeting with – which is usually a very good sign. I asked her about some of the distinctive elements between Caribbean Theology and other Latin American theologies.  She has written an article about this in the Global Dictionary of Theology.  She told me that in Caribbean Theology, there is a stronger focus on the impacts of colonialism than in other Latin American theologies.  When she teaches her class on this topic, she helps her students methodically deconstruct […]



Quick Take Review: The Next Evangelicalism

Last week I got a chance to sit down with a book that’s been getting a bit of buzz in the circles I run in.  It’s called The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church From Western Cultural Captivity, by Soong-Chan Rah.  I believe it’s a very important book, and one that I hope will find its way onto many seminary course readings lists – and not just in specialty classes like “Multi-cultural Worship.”  Rah has some good words to share, but they will be put to best use in a broad marketplace. The book is an uncomfortable read, especially for a white midle class USAmerican dude.  I have attempted to sensitize myself and the people I have influence with to issues of race, power, and control, but I know I’ve fallen well short of ideal.  There’s still a lot more to be done in my own heart, as well as in […]