not to do.
To those on the outside, you can't understand it.
those on the inside, you can't explain it.
This is the central paradox of a religious conversion.
To understand a culture, you need to become part
Can you really study Christianity objectively without
being moved by it. Becoming a Christian is a life changing event.
It involves allowing yourself to be changed. A blind foolishness, a
step of faith, simply to believe.
Likewise for all my friends who are going out trying
to study missions, in particular amongst Muslims. I think the popular
Evangelical christian thing to do right now is to say you want to
reach out to the Muslims.
It's impossible to understand Islam without becoming
a muslim yourself. Instead of
upon the culture, allow yourself to be guided by your inside. Allow
yourself to become muslim. Understand what it means to be a Muslim.
Be vulnerable, be open minded, instead of trying
to change those around you, let yourself be changed. Be willing to
put eveything on the line. Everything.
All your ideas about God, all your preconcieved notions.
Be willing to challenge even the basic fundamentals.
We need to spend less time putting on the armor of
God, to prepare for a Crusade. And more time trying to be cultural
Christianity is inseperable from Western ideas.
Although we'd like to believe otherwise it's the
nature of our understanding of God, that we're unable to separate western
cultural constraints from the word of God. Basic ideas like: egalitarianism,
freedom, all men being created equal, democracy, literacy. Are they
Christian or are they Western.
This inseperability is not a bad thing per se. In
fact, it can even be thought of as a facilitator. That the western
ideas of modernism,
and globlaization, may actually be a benefit to the spread of Christianity.
Knowing full well that western ideas are inevitably
going to arrive in foreign countries, and it may be imperialism,
thinking that our ideas will change entire nations. But the issue
isn't about preventing
the trappings of modern society from going to these places, as
it is undoubtable that it will. We will bring modern sanitation,
adequate food, literacy, education, instant worldwide communication,
commerce and materialism to all the nations of the earth. Thus knoing
this, we should make sure that the Word of God, is brought
Short term missions is a load of crock.
Gone are the days of the great missions movements,
when young men would go, with the full belief that they may not come
back, that they would die in the field, never to return, only perhaps
to send letters back to the sending organization. Now with the age
of jet travel, missions is a diiferent beast, it's no less challenging,
but yet it's more accesible, and lower commitment.
trip for two months or less, is not missions at all.
It's a Christian-ese term for a vacation.
At best it's a service project.
True, there could be a lot of work done in that time,
but we should recognize that it serves to change the people going,
as much if not more than the people they work with. Without a doubt
there is value in going on a two week or six week "Urban Trek" or as
part of a "Teaching Team"
A missions trip for under two years is a temporary
There is value to a trip like this, however be warned try
not to "go in, stir up a hornets nest, and then quit town when the
going gets tough"
Missions is not simply about full time missionaries
InterVarsity preaches that "everyone is a missionary"
and "the missions field is right outside your door." Being a missionary
can involve staying right where your are, and still being viewed as
one of the "sent." Or it could mean going whererever God is calling
you, yet still maintaining hold of your identity, and profession.
Don't act like an idiot
It could be possible that missionaries talk about their
target audience different than they talk to their
target audience. But I doubt it.
The movie Donnie Brasco is a fitting comparison to the missions movement.
the story of an undercover agent sent to infiltrate an organized
crime ring. Fitting in that in the end only after gaining the trust
gangsters, could he betray them, but as much as he had a job to
do, there was a sense of loyalty to the person he was pretending to
Almost as if the character he was pretending to be might have become
part of who he is. He emerged changed from the experience, although
in the end he is able to turn the gangsters in, one can see the angst
as the character struggles with what he has done. Even though he
was indeed working
for the good guys, only after gaining the trust of the bad
guys. He could only succeed by becoming a gangster himself.
idea of betraying his friends, was also a betrayal of the person
You annoy me. Initially, you were my poster children
not do things. I kept on asking myself if you
really called by God or are your own egos getting in
is no sincerity in doing works temporarily, knowing full well that
your heart is elsewhere. I feel sorry for those who's lives you'll
knowing that you're going
betray them in a few years, when you will inevitably leave. Do you
leave because you've failed to esablish a community where you are,
and the adventureous spirit urges you onward. Or because like anyone
committed to doing good, you will always find people who need you more.
does you think you're fooling by writing m-slims instead of Muslims,
annoying to the
reader than anything else. No, I don't think it's cute, I don't
think it's being cautious, it shows where your heart is. You're so
afraid of what you want to do that you can't even state it directly.
Even though you're still in the land of the free.
I would wonder if you're
not committed to the place where
you are. That you still view the people you're called to minister
to with fear, trepidation, and reservation. That they're a mystical,
people, and this is one heroic crusade to liberate them. Although
you may just be located in an ideal location to prepare you for your
your hearts are lost elsewhere. I only pray that indeed God does
work within you, changes you, and is preparing you for the works which
he has in store.
Your heart should
be committed to the place where you are, as opposed to looking
elsewhere. I can hear it in your letters. There's a restlessness, you
don't want to stay there, and work with the people whom you have, yet
cultural, or simply logistical reasons this seems only a jumping off
You may be called to go, but perhaps you should stay.