Last year I had the opportunity to contribute a chapter to the book Living Mission. It describes an approach to ministry among the poor, marked by incarnation, mission, devotion and community.
If you do read it or have read it, I would love to hear your feedback either on this blog or on the amazon reviews.
Dintr-un ziar din Galati: Dacă e vară, e şcoala pentru părinţi!  | Societate, Monitorul de Galati.
Un articol despre o activitate noua: Daca e vara, e scoala pentru parinti! | Lume Buna.
This is the final blog post on my contribution to the Cape Town Commitment.
In the draft of the Commitments that we received in Cape Town, section 9, entitled “We Love the People of God”, calls for unity. Christian believers are called to unite in love across inveterate barriers of race, color, social class, economic privilege or political alignment. The draft did not mention “gender” which is another major division in the world and a barrier that Paul says is healed in Christ (Galatians 3:28). I suggested its inclusion, and it is mentioned in the final version.
Q has featured an article I wrote on the church. You can find it on the Word Made Flesh website or at Q: http://www.qideas.org/
Cei de la Business Insider au realizat o lista cu 12 semne care arată că lumea rămâne fără mâncare. Enumerăm doar câteva dintre ele:
1. Mai mult de 3 miliarde de oameni, aproximativ jumătate din populația lumii, trăiesc cu mai puțin de 2 dolari pe zi.
2. În ultimii ani, prețul global al alimentelor a crescut cu 37%.
3. Prețurile unor cereale “cheie” precum porumbul sau grâul au explodat de-a dreptul: de exemplu, prețul porumbului a crescut cu 77% într-un singur an, orezul cu 39%, iar zahărul cu 64%.
4. Conform FAO, prețul alimentelor va cunoaște o creștere de 240% față de nivelul din 2004.
5. Se estimează că 80% din populația globului trăiește în state unde diferența de venit dintre bogați și săraci se adâncește.
6. Aproximativ un miliard de oameni se duc seara la culcare înfometați. În fiecare zi!
7. La fiecare 3,6 secunde cineva sfârșește de foame, trei sferturi fiind copii sub 5 ani.
8. Se estimează că toată Africa deține doar 1% din întreaga avere a lumii, spre deosebire de bogaţii lumii( estimaţi ca având o pondere de 0,5% din populația totală) care dețin 35%.
Summers are busy for us. I am spending a lot of time helping to facilitate the summer activities for our teenagers. The other day I had two of them picking cherries from the tree, three of them pulling weeds in the garden, and another three were writing out their answers to some questions from our discipleship program. At the same time, I was trying to help one of our mothers get the heart medication she can’t afford to buy and locate some charities in London to assist her husband, who had just been evicted from the house in which he was living while he looked for work.
As I walked from this mother’s home back through the gates of our Community Center, the sun was hot, the kids were loud, and I was taken by the hand by 8 year-old Gheorghitsa. He said, “You come with me.” I had lots to do and was feeling a little overwhelmed, but even if I wanted to ask Gheorghitsa to wait, he wouldn’t let me. He gripped my wrist and would not let go. He led me past the flower garden and into the Community Center. He opened his locker with one hand, and he pulled out the picture that he had just colored. He said, “This is David.” I stopped and admired his coloring – one of the activities that go along with the summer Bible study about David’s life.
Then I looked at the little sheep and said, “Then this is Gheorghitsa.” I wasn’t trying to make any spiritualized claims of being a pastor or of him being part of our flock. You see, Gheorghitsa and I often wrestle and box. I gave him the nickname “mosquito” as a way of trash-talking his punches and kicks. (No, I am not too old to trash talk 8 year-olds!) So, by calling him a sheep, it’s more about letting him know that I can keep him in a mean head-lock.
But in the midst of my busyness and my chaotic and seemingly urgent environment, I realized that I’d been sucker-punched, stopped dead in my tracks and forced, yet invited to look at myself and to look at Gheorghitsa. These interruptions are often only possible through the sneaky power of mosquitoes and sheep and the likes of Gheorghitsa.
The political scientist Daniel Aldrich has been looking at what most helps people survive and recover after a disaster. His research has shown that it is not ambulances, firetrucks or other government assistance, nor is it twitter or other social networking devices; rather, it is neighbors.
As Christians, we usually hear and interpret the biblical command to love our neighbors as a moral mandate through which we reflect God’s love and help others experience that love. But Aldrich shows the pragmatic effects of caring for our neighbors.
Before government officials issued the evacuation of New Orleans, people had fled before Katrina hit and survived because a neighbor knocked on their door and warned them.
NPR reports that when Aldrich visited villages in India hit by the giant 2004 tsunami, he found that villagers who fared best after the disaster weren’t those with the most money, or the most power. They were people who knew lots of other people — the most socially connected individuals. In other words, if you want to predict who will do well after a disaster, you look for faces that keep showing up at all the weddings and funerals.
After the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, neighbors knew where their neighbors slept and began digging through the rubble in those places. Consequentially, people were found early enough to survive.
Of course, when we read Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan, we don’t find an other-worldly vision or a call to a higher moral plain. We simply see a person who stops and assists another person that has just been beaten and robbed. The actions of one led to the survival of the other. Although this is not pragmatism, the results of the command are pragmatic – a command not just to love one’s neighbor but to be a neighbor.