MID JUNE 2018
An unused Anglican church building in Oxford was taken over since about 30 years ago as a research centre for global mission. This is called Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. I’d been there frequently, but not for a few years. 25 or so scholars gathered to engage the topic of vulnerable mission on 29th May. My presentation critiqued anti-racism. That is, it pointed out that opposition to racism, although wonderful in its own way, carries a sub-agenda that conceals the global impact of the Christian Gospel. Opposition to racism as practiced in the West today, is based on a norm. That norm, I pointed out, is Western. In a way then, to not-be-racist is to be not-interested in other people’s cultures and ways of life. We had a lively discussion with many good questions asked.
After months and months of detailed planning . . . our conference at All Nations Christian College finally took place 31st May to 2nd June. Attendance was up by comparison with our USA conference last November. Our speakers really were excellent in many ways. Some of them I have often worked with over many years. Others who were knew included Marcus Grohmann, by video-link from South Africa. Marcus looked at ways in which vulnerable mission could help to resolve the massive disparities of wealth and material prosperity extant in South Africa. Jens and Deborah Bernard, also from Germany, shared many challenging thoughts on how to reach Buddhist people in Asia with the Gospel. Their major-thought, as I understood it, was that the Gospel should be presented in a way as to penetrate rather than confront Buddhism. As I notice with Africans; when people build a relationship with Christ they do so according to their own prior life-experience. That life-experience being different to the one Westerners are accustomed to, results in their starting a relationship with Jesus in contextually novel ways. For a more detailed report see here.
Here's a new review of African Heartbeat, posted on Amazon.com, USA: “it is very inspiring. it tells about how a missionary takes the gospel to the very poor in Africa and lives out the Christian life amongst them, sharing the wonderful news of Jesus Christ and how He came to save us.”
From the conference I travelled straight to Wantage in Oxon. It was wonderful to find Wantage Baptist Church lively and vibrant in worship and outreach. Do pray for the wife of the pastor Phil, who is not well (I did not get to see her). Give thanks for opportunities I had to share with the whole church, and with the ladies. From Wantage, I came to Alresford in Hampshire, to join with New Farm Chapel. As I write, I am hosted by them and renewing acquaintance with a variety of people in the church, benefiting from warm hospitality, while enjoying the beauty of the Hampshire countryside.
After a few days in Andover, I am due to travel to Germany on 14th June. I am to be with believers and with family in north Germany, then on the week of Monday 18th to 22nd, to share at a conference in Stuttgart. Thereafter, I am to travel back to northern Germany for a few days, via OJC in Germany ), before leaving for Kenya on 27th June.
Please do pray for a small group of missions’ experts who are meeting in the USA right now, looking at ways of taking the ‘vulnerable mission’ agenda forwards in N. America.