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NEWS SHOT - MAY 2008


Reminder - although all planned conferences are day-conferences, there will be the option of arriving a day early and staying a day late for in-depth discussion. Contact local coordinators for information (see Vulnerable Mission).

Please send us YOUR article that contibutes to this debate on 'vulnerable mission' (mission done in the language of the people being reached without use of foreign resources).

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness . he humbled himself and became obedient ." (Philippians 2:5-8).

1. FAQs! A discussion between Dr. Edwin Zehner, (a Christian anthropologist with wide experience especially in the Far East) and Jim Harries over vulnerable mission. To be enlightened by an anthropologists view see questions and answers at:

The discussion. (This blog also includes discussion with other scholars.)

2. Finding it difficult to express new European truths in their languages, African societies have almost universally gone over to using European languages. Why does the reverse not apply? Are English speakers correct to assume that their language is perfectly capable of expressing African truths? This article by Jim Harries suggests not, and that supposing this was an error. Africa is still suffering the consequences of this error. It will only be rectified when African languages again become dominant in official and literary circles in Africa. Only then will Africa be enabled to understand itself, and then progress.

The article about languages.

3. 'Indigenous knowledge research' has found that education in the vernacular is more effective than that done in foreign languages. Using mother tongue education results in improved literacy in French, in this 1999 study in Burkina Faso. Students taught in mother tongue have achieved in four years what their colleagues taught only in French achieve in six years.

The Burkina Faso study.

4. "The idealistic view of internationalisation can be criticized. Being clearly counterproductive to its ambitions, it may come across as arrogant and may sustain ethnocentric worldviews - i.e., it is seen as a one-way flow where 'they can learn from us' and 'we have little to learn from them'. The others' competencies are devalued and vast parts of the world are victimized. Internationalisation is seen as an efficient instrument to educate the 'uncivilized' and reflects Western cultural imperialism and claims of global hegemony." For more on this, see Jonas Stier's article, 'Internationalisation, intercultural communication and intercultural competence.' Journal of Intercultural Communication. Issue 11. April 2006.

5. This soft pdf version of Jim's recent article on 'dialogue', published in Exchange, is now available over the net. "Dialogue is fruitful if it occurs between people who already know and understand one another's cultures and contexts. Otherwise, it may create confusion and harmful and potentially harmful misunderstandings", says Jim in this article.

The Exchange article.