Much of our world is divided into two. In the majority world, we are told that there are two kinds of NGOs working; faith based, and ‘not-faith-based’. Christians tend to go along with this terminology. ‘We’ are the ones doing faith-based development. Other people are doing the ‘real-thing’, the development that is not just based on faith! Because theirs is the ‘real thing,’ whereas ours is just a faith-based imitation, we look up to ‘them’ as better and setting the pace.
I have often been struck, that in Africa we do not have a ‘supernatural’. That is, African people, Christians included, refer to things ‘supernatural’ in the same way as they do to things ‘natural’. (While the term ‘supernatural’ is used in some African Englishes, it does not mean ‘supernatural’. It is used like a euphemism for ‘God’, or ‘amazing’.)
If you want to shut someone up, give them money. Once you have given someone money, don’t expect them to tell you the truth.
If the above is true, then how should today’s Western donor-missionaries discern the truth of what is happening on the mission field, especially how people are understanding their message?Read more
A British Church, in partnership with an African church, decided to put on a conference. The conference was to be entitled The Nature of God. The name of God in that African language is Nyasaye. Somehow a mistake was made in the publicity material. Instead of promoting a conference on The Nature of God, the publicity put out internationally advertised a conference on The Nature of Nyasaye.Read more
My prior blog suggested that a missionary’s commitment to the people they are reaching ought to be for life. I now want to consider – what if the people concerned do not want the missionary?Read more
My fleshly-me often wishes I could have a wife, try her out for a while, then leave her if I don’t want to carry on. If this is not allowed for wives, why is it allowed for mission?
Where is the precedent for trying-out God’s service before committing oneself? Many young people who come to Africa seem to have that in mind. They come saying “I am asking if God is calling me here”. Some say “I will definitely come back”, but they do not. What exactly is going on? Couldn’t God speak to them before they came? Does God only speak to people once they have arrived in Africa? Do young people only want to come if they think they will enjoy it – is mission about ‘enjoying’? Are they testing the people being reached – “if you are loving and friendly enough to me, then I will come”? Are they saying to God “make me happy, then I’ll serve you”? Or are they testing themselves – “can I do it” – is mission dependent on our ability?Read more
Anti-racist legislation is designed to protect people in the West from bias arising from ethnicity or skin colour to ensure that everyone is treated equally. People originating from other parts of the world should be taken as being as competent to function in the UK as are native British people.
This raises the question of what to do if someone is in need of something that regular Westerners do not need? What happens to any differences between communities that may actually exist? Are there any differences for which one should compensate or with which people need to be helped? Could it be that as a result of anti-racist legislation, these kinds of differences are ignored and that this could result in leaving people disadvantaged?
I noticed in a recent trip to the UK, that some UK Christians argue that ‘God is real’. The other term that I have heard a lot is ‘supernatural’; God’s actions are expected to be supernatural. Ironically, neither of these terms are biblical. The term ‘real’ has been used in English only since the early 14th century. The term supernatural was first used about 1520.