From Every Nation (Chris Howles)
Mission Hits #27 (September 2021)
Welcome to Mission Hits, a twice-monthly blog highlighting stimulating and significant recent resources related to world Christianity, world church, and world mission.
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PLEASE PASS ON TO INTERESTED FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES & CHURCH MEMBERS
Please note there will only be one 'Mission Hits' in September.
Normal twice-monthly service will resume from October onwards.
ESSENTIALS (must reads)
(1) Dismantling the Ethnic Foods Aisle in Christianity
This is cleverly written by Todd Johnson, Distinguished Professor of Global Christianity and Mission at Gordon Conwell. He draws parallels between the 'ethnic' aisles in our supermarkets, and the world church, drawing out what it teaches about how the Western Church sees itself. Nicely done.
(2) Things Western Christians Need To Know: The Church Was Always International
This is such an important, short, easy-to-read and brilliant blog post by British missiologist Eddie Arthur: "In Kwame Bediako’s words, we are living through “the revival of a non-Western religion”. Our problem, all too often, is that we look at it as if we were living through the globalisation of a Western religion."
(3) Backyard Missions: Recognizing the Value of Mundane Moments
"Often enamoured by the comforts of the West, Christians tend to overlook missional opportunities that are abundant in the daily rhythms of life…being missional is not [just] moving across the globe and engaging a lost people group—it’s moving across a seat and engaging my unreached neighbour"
GENERAL (worth your time)
(1) 10 Traps & Distractions that Keep Us from Full Impact in God’s Global Purposes
"I want to accomplish great things for a great God. I don’t want to miss the full impact God has in mind for my life. But there are traps. There are distractions…Join me in asking which ones you’re prone to." A list of 10 things we often tell ourselves that can limit the global impact that God might be calling us to…
This is sweet, and profound. A missionary in Thailand asks herself if she is really 'seeing' the people that God is putting in her life to engage with. Taking time to be with them, engage with them, listen to them. Implications for us all, whether living cross-culturally or not.
(3) John 15v16. The real great commission?
Neil Brighton suggests that the call to go and bear fruit is perhaps the key mission text for this time.
AUDIO/VISUAL (podcasts, videos)
(1) The hardest part of being a missionary – returning home?
Really helpful podcast from Crosslinks (UK) - highly recommended for those connected to returning missionaries in any way: "Feeling like a foreigner in your home country is something that missionaries face when they return from serving overseas. Jonny Burgess and Jamie Read talk about their experiences of returning from the mission field…and what churches can do to make sure they care for their returning missionaries."
Really enjoyed this 36min podcast with Eddie Arthur interviewing David Smith about the life and legacy of Andrew Walls. Minutes 14-23, where Smith explains 4 key teachings of Andrew Walls is especially good - 1) The Ephesian Moment, 2) Translatability of the gospel 3) Indigenizing v pilgrim principle, & 4) Conversion v proselytism. A great intro to Walls.
(3) The Universal Particularism of 'Panta Ta Ethne'
The debate over those three crucial little Greek words will continue, as it should. This podcast favours retaining 'ethne' as distinct socio-cultural linguistic groups, but it's measured, clear, friendly, and frames the debate well. Particularly worth a listen if this issue is a new one for you.
DIGGING DEEPER (challenging but rewarding)
(1) Between Baptism and Belonging
Erin Dufault-Hunter, associate professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, uses third culture kids to explore how to find Christian belonging and resist tribalism. Lovely article full of beautiful writing like this: "TCKs’ greatest gift may be that they can guide others of us through the gauntlet of temptations to easy belonging. TCKs often see clearly in a world tempted to tribalism: the gift but possible idolatry of one’s culture, the security of ethnicity but its shadow of exclusionary violence, the grounding of tradition but its tendency to suffocate creativity and difference, the joy of shared understanding but its willingness to sacrifice the stranger to maintain it."
(2) Fuller Seminary Missiology Lectures 2021
Fuller's annual Missiology lectures are always fascinating. This year's theme is 'Re-envisioning the Mission of Health: A Global Invitation to Heal and Thrive in Crisis'. October 27th-29th, 2021. The event promises to be a 'global, multidisciplinary exploration of the mission of creating healthy individuals, families, communities, and societies, and the church’s role in this process'. Speakers include Morislav Volf and Kimberly Alexander. Click the link to see the full extensive program, and to sign up.
(3) 2021 World Christianity online research seminars
The Centre for the Study of World Christianity (University of Edinburgh, School of Divinity) has released the list of their Autumn 2021 fortnightly Zoom seminars, a panel discussion on 'Commemorating Professor Andrew Walls', Dr Ruth Padilla DeBorst on 'Fleeing the Hot Spots: Climate change, migration and mission', and various PhD presentations included. They appear to be open (you email for zoom link).
BOOKS (best recent releases)
Links are to Amazon for best info/reviews. Other outlets are available...
(1) The Transcultural Gospel: Jesus Is Enough for Sinners in Cultures of Shame, Fear, Bondage, and Weakness (2021)
"Missions today is loaded with “silver bullet” methodologies that promise much but deliver little. This practical little book reminds us that the clear teaching of the gospel is relevant and powerful throughout the ages and throughout human culture. Aspiring missionaries and pastors will be greatly helped by this book in thinking through the complex issue of contextualization and its implications in cross-cultural ministry."
(2) Early North African Christianity: Turning Points in the Development of the Church (2021)
David L. Eastman
"An internationally recognized scholar highlights the important role the North African church played in the development of Christian thought. This accessible introduction brings Africa back to the center of the study of Christian history by focusing on key figures and events that influenced the history and trajectory of Christianity as a whole. The book zeroes in on five turning points to show how North African believers significantly shaped Christian theology, identity, and practice in ways that directly impact the church today".
(3) Advancing Models of Mission: Evaluating the Past and Looking to the Future (EMS 29)(2021)
Kenneth Nehrbass, Aminta Arrington, and Narry Santos (Editors)
"Advancing Models of Mission reflects on the missionaries and models of the past and reconsiders current models, all with the aim of looking toward the future of evangelical mission. This compendium of thirteen essays tackles such timely and difficult questions as 'How does globalization challenge the 10/40 window model?', 'How does hybridity and diaspora change the way we think about people groups and identity formation?', & How does the colonial history in Africa affect believers' connection with global evangelism?'."
MISCELLANEOUS (varied but valuable)
(1) Being true partners in mission
Crosslinks (UK Mission agency) have put together an excellent series of 6 short videos to introduce churches to different essential facets of gospel partnership. They are extremely well-presented and accessible, and would be ideal to think about in a church council, missions committee, or home group setting. You need to enter your email address, and Crosslinks will send you the link to the videos.
(2) Understanding cross-cultural dynamics in the local church
Oak Hill (London) are putting on an evening (two 45min teaching sessions) about cross-cultural dynamics in local church settings, asking ‘how do we recognise and address the cultural assumptions we all bring to church life?’. The event is being run twice - attend on Thursday 14th (evening) or Saturday 16th October (morning) 2021. Online or in person, £10.
About one-third of Mission Hits subscribers are signed up to Mission Hits Journals. Are you one of them?! If you want to keep abreast of what's happening in the academic disciplines of Missiology, Inter-cultural Studies and World Christianity, this is for you. One email every 3-months linking to recent articles in 32 different journals related to those disciplines. Sign-up, and don't miss out on anything related to you and your academic interests! Next edition is due soon...
MISSIONS QUOTES (thought-provoking one-liners)
(1) "The Church can never settle down to being a voluntary society concerned merely with private, domestic affairs."
(2) “Every step in the progress of missions is directly traceable to prayer.“
(3) “Missions is not for the hyperactive Christians in the church. Missions is the purpose of the church.”
AND FINALLY (unrelated but interesting!)
(1) "I was responsible for those people"
Glenn Vogt was the manager of Windows on the World restaurant at the top of the North Tower of the World Trade Centre. He survived 9/11, while 79 of his employees died. He was a few minutes late to work that day, and watched his employees wave white table linens from the restaurant’s broken windows. This long-form piece is so special because it doesn't pretend that life is simple, or that every story must have a happy ending.
"Go on in and land the plane, Jerry. I’ll hold that wheel on with my foot.” This true story from 1921 would make a fantastic movie.
(3) 40 one-sentence email tips
How much easier life could be if emails were just done better, by all of us. This is a great place to start.
Full searchable archives of all Mission Hits resources from edition #1
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