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Dear Friends,

Here is the title and description of the seminar I am to present at the global connections conference I am to attend in the UK at the start of May:

How to remain vulnerable to the perspectives of others.

Use of local languages and resources in their mission intervention is proposed as a means to enable Westerners to keep open ears and open heart. Christ himself neither raised outside funds nor introduced foreign languages in his ministry. Yourself using the languages of the people you are reaching, and asking them to run your proposals with their resources, is extremely challenging.

See here for Jim’s author page on the ‘pneuma review’.

My book New Foundations for Appreciating Africa is here (free!):

Money and crowds

“We used to be many more” the bishop said. He was talking of the 1980s. That was before many churches had split and divided. Then he talked of money! In those days’ people would take offerings. Some of that money was to be taken to the headquarters of the church. The money got lost on route. Action had to be taken against the suspected thieves. They left, but they always left with their own people to start their own churches. Now any one church has fewer people.

I was in a church last Sunday that did have hundreds crowded into the packed building. When they read out the total offering for that week, it was less than £50. I was caused to reflect. Those weren’t the poorest of the poor in that church. Why did they give so little? It seems it was because people do not trust general offerings given that are not for a particular purpose. If money is needed for a specific purpose, especially if not coughing up would be embarrassing for them, then people give much more generously.

The bishop’s telling me of the crowds that used to be, tells something of human nature. It’s as if I could still see and hear the crowds rejoicing over salvation in Christ. That is, until money issues arose. Money can be very divisive. Things can be wonderful, till money causes them to crash. (Thankfully, the many more smaller churches are still rejoicing over salvation in Christ!)

Teaching African languages and Theology

I have in recent years taught a lot of African languages, Swahili and Luo. It may seem ironic that someone who used to teach a lot more theology has now turned to language teaching. Instead of teaching African people, I find myself teaching a lot of missionaries, especially Egyptians.

Yet when teaching Swahili or Luo, I AM teaching theology. As I sit teaching missionaries, I am usually hoping that they will really be serious about language. It is as if therein lies the secret key to African theology! Hence, when teaching Luo or Swahili, I am actually saying “listen to the heartbeat of the African”. In that heartbeat, expressed in indigenous languages, rooted in translated bibles, is the living theology of African believers.

Pray for the pastor who recently planted a new church but whose marriage is in trouble, who I am sensitively trying to assist.

Pray for a Ugandan lady who has expressed interest in ministering with us in Yala, for me to know how to respond to her.

Give thanks that I managed to cycle 30 miles plus today to attend the funeral of a mother-in-law of one of our pastors.


For information on my latest book see: here.