Bou 'n Christus gebasseerde roeping vir Afrika

Wat is die Here se wil vir ons vir vandag hier in die Suidpunt
van Afrika? Hoe lyk Sy wil in verskillende omstandighede?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Rede vir ekonomiese sukses

Dalk spreek die volgende aanhaling jou ook aan soos vir my:

What answer might you expect if you asked scientists in a Communist setting to account for America’s success?

That was the assignment given the Chinese Academy of Social Science in 2002. What they found surprised them, and stunned Western intellectuals, too.

Here’s their unforgettable statement, as David Aikman reports it in Jesus in Beijing:

One of the things we [Chinese scholars] were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact the pre-eminence of the West [America] over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you [America] had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on the economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.

Ek het die klem ingesit.

Die rede vir die sukses soos hier beskryf is natuurlik deesdae besig om weer uit die regering, kuns, politiek, skole, regstelsel, familiebande, wetenskap ens gehaal te word. Dit maak dat opgeleide mense in al die sfere van die samelewing nie meer op die grootste realiteit, nl God, bou nie, maar op baie los waardes wat nie fondasie het nie en soos die Bybel sê voor die storms platgevee word. Die huis wat op die sand gebou is of wat van strooi gebou is.  Die storms kan dinge wees soos geldgierigheid, mag ens. Die proses van groei en bou is dus omgekeer in iets soos weg roes van binne af, want God word as realiteit ontken en onttrek uit die sisteem.

Wat sê dit vir RSA en veral vir ons as die minderheid, maar verspreid oor kulturele grense, wat nog bou op God as die grootste realiteit? God se hart vir die wêreld is in ons. En Hy is lief vir die wêreld in die situasie.

Gesels gerus saam hieroor.


Short description of last 2 conferences in Mozambique



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gmail - You Can’t Legislate Morality? - murraydg1@gmail.com

Morality and law.

“I killed my daughter.”
Toronto taxi-driver Muhammad Parvez, 60, had just strangled his 16-year-old daughter, Aqsa. So he dialed 911 and reported. Nobody could accuse him of hiding his crime.
People often claim that “you can’t legislate morality.” Such a statement doesn’t square with reality.  In actual fact, all law is based on some moral code. The question is not “can morality be legislated?” but rather, which morality will be legislated.
Western society was built on the moral code of Judeo-Christian theism. But atheism also has a code, built on arbitrary absolutes. And, as the Aqsa  murder story brutally illustrates, Islam has its own (fierce) moral code as well.
The last few years in Canada have included discussion of allowing sharia law to operate in some domains (marriage, family and business disputes) “under the umbrella of Canada law.” Such a notion seems tantamount to condoning the use of brass knuckles in a street fight as long as a roped-in boxing ring is provided.
Jürgen Habermas is considered Germany’s foremost philosopher and one of “Europe’s stalwart secularists” who is “challenging the idea that religious reasoning inevitably retreats from the public sphere.”  Here’s what he says about Christianity’s contribution to freedom and human rights, essential ingredients protected by a moral code:
Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter.
A society’s moral foundations cannot be separated from its institutions: the moral vision of a society informs all of public life.  Trying to entrench opposing moral visions can only result in chaos. Eventually one will emerge.
The difference is more than superficial.

In South-Africa we are building more and more laws to control the population. If you are a good citizen because of the laws, you are a slave!  When we were young in faith, we were like slaves. As we grew to know God we became more and more children and are not slaves any more! 
What do we see as a good life?
What are the moral base that supports this life?
What are the faith basis that supports this moral base? 
As christians, how do we understand God's heart? What is in His heart?

If we investigate well, we will find our faith foundation of our life. Any life's vissible  part have a faith base even if it is in something else than Christ.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Aid that Increases Poverty? Unintended Consequences

I think he describe this aspect of the dependency problem very well. Only in the part of the schools I think he simplifies a much more complex situation.

Aid that Increases Poverty? A Case Study in Unintended Consequences

(If you click on the title, you will see the article on the blog of “Discipling the Nations - Darrow Miller and friends” were it were published).

Posted: 21 May 2012 08:53 AM PDT
by Scott Wisely
Scott Wisely was born in Thailand to missionary parents, attended boarding school in Malaysia and spent four years in the Philippines. After earning a Masters degree in Third World Economic Development from Eastern University he has served in Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya) since 1996. Scott describes his service as “focused on wholistic ministry with a big emphasis on discipleship.”  In particular, he helps operate an elementary school, a strategy which “impacts the whole family and community.”
Papuans were totally self-sufficient for thousands of years so it is a difficult task to convince them that they are hopeless and helpless. But in the last decade well-intentioned outsiders have made significant headway. The Papuans, who viewed themselves as “the people”–strong, free, brave and capable–are becoming dependent on government, mission, and aid organizations.
Beliefs are what shape us. If you convince someone he is poor, he will act poor.
I teach a college class of aspiring teachers about poverty and education. I asked them, “Who convinced  you that you should get everything free?” They blamed the outsiders. I asked, “Who made schooling and medical services free here?” When they named the head politician I asked where he was from. They got quiet because he is a local. I called to their attention the many campaign posters promising giveaways.  I said, “If I came to you and said ‘Oh, you poor Papuan student, I feel so bad for you. You were malnourished as a child and came from a single parent family. This is really hard what you are doing: working and going to school. You can’t do this. I will pay your school fees and I will give you clothes and food and a place to live and spending money. I’ll do your homework for you and take your tests.’ What do I believe about you? That you don’t have what it takes. You are weak and I am strong. You are poor and I am rich. You are stupid and I am smart. Is that what you are?
“What do I believe if I have to come in and put in a clean water system for you and build all your houses and teach you farmers to raise vegetables and take your kids to raise and educate myself? It says that I don’t believe you have what it takes. You don’t know how gravity works and you can’t glue PVC pipe or swing a hammer or farm or raise your own kids. You are helpless and hopeless.”
Anger rose on their faces because everyone hates being pitied and disrespected.
Then we talked about how God views us. He looks at each girl in the room and says,
You are my precious, beautiful, smart and very capable – daughter. I made you to love and live and praise me with your sweet voice. I made you to nurture and care. I delight in you.
He looks at each boy and says,
With me you have what it takes. I made you strong and brave and ready to lay down your life to protect those I love. I made you a builder, a leader, an influencer. You are THE man.
I challenged them to stop believing the lies of politicians and well intentioned AID workers and missionaries. Believe in God and what He says about you. You might not have much money or stuff but don’t take on the label ‘POOR’.”
There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Grown men and women crying. We all want to be respected, not pitied.
Many well intentioned outsiders are unwittingly bent on convincing Papuans that they are poor. (See Steve Saint’s article, “Projecting Poverty Where it Doesn’t Exist”.) Compassion is a love for the hopeless and helpless. It is the brother of Pity and cousin of Tolerance. That whole family of loves is supposed to serve in the hospice or mental health ward, not venture out into the streets and accost healthy people.
Why don’t we see these peoples’ strengths? Why do we only focus on what they can’t do and what they don’t have? Is it because we have so little respect for them? For me, I believe the main reason is pride. I think I am stronger, smarter, healthier, and richer so I condescend in compassion or tolerance or pity. But are we really that wealthy? Are they really that poor? I asked my Ugandan roommate in Turkey why Development Associates Internationalhas such a great cross cultural team. “We respect each other. Each of us brings our strengths to the table.” Then he listed the strengths, and his list was as long as the list the Westerners bring. Wow! We need a lot more of this kind of respect-filled love.
Other villages have asked us to start a branch of our school for their kids. We always begin the discussion by saying they have to provide land, building and houses, and pay teacher’s salaries. We will partner with them and come up with the rest but this is THEIR school so THEY have to PAY for it.  They love being treated with respect but PAYING the price of being respected is a hard choice.
Recently we met with the church and village leaders in Eragaiam in the Walak tribe. I shared that I didn’t view them as poor but as strong, wealthy, brave and very capable people created in the image of God. Some tough Walaks started tearing up. They are starving for that kind of affirmation. They said, “We have to give the wood and materials and help to build this school. We have to build a road in. We are ready to pay the teachers’ salaries.” In the 60s the missionaries treated them with respect and thousands of churches, schools, and health clinics were built this way. In those days missionaries lived in the villages with them and saw their strengths and abilities every day. One wrote a great book called The Amazing Danis!: the title says it all. But times have changed. Now missions means a foray. Outsiders jet in for a short trip. They can only see what the people don’t have. Such a practice engenders little respect.
This village had asked us to help them start an elementary school, even though already had one. A beautiful school building stood 50 meters away from where were meeting. At 10 o’clock on a Tuesday morning it was totally empty. It was built and is supported with foreign aid money. The children attend is free. But they graduate with a shattered identity and crushed self-worth. Most cannot read, write, or do basic math. The villagers realize this and are ready to pay $60 a semester– in a place that Reuters reports as one of the poorest spots in one of the poorest countries in the world–for their kid to go to school.
In the book The Beautiful Tree by James Tooley, an African father was asked why he sent his child to the private school with its run down facilities when he could send his child to the government school that had great buildings and was free. He answered, “When you go to the market and someone is giving fruit away for free it is because it is rotten. If you want good quality fruit you pay for it.”
The villagers named our school Ob Anggen, “Good Fruit.”
Write Scott at shwisley@gmail.com

Friday, May 18, 2012

Love is the answer, because God is love.

LOVE NEVER FAILS: The Christian Response to Jihadism
Posted: 10 May 2012 11:01 AM PDT
Governments have the responsibility to defend their nation against terrorist enemies. But the church has a different responsibility: to love. Christ calls us to love even our enemies. The church responds to the violence of the sword with the vulnerability of the cross; to the culture of death with the culture of life; to hatred with love, injustice with justice, tyranny with freedom.

Andrew van der Bijl (b. 1928), known as Brother Andrew, smuggled Bibles into communist countries during the height of the Cold War. After the fall of communism, he turned his attention to the Middle East. “We cannot win the war on terror with guns and bombs,” he says, “because everyone we kill is replaced by dozens more who seek revenge. . . . We believe that if millions of Christians would respond to Muslims with the love of Christ, that would do far more to remove the threat of terror than our military activities.[1] Brother Andrew challenges Christians to say, “‘I Sincerely Love All Muslims (I.S.L.A.M.)’ and to prove it by putting their arms around Muslims and say, ‘God loves you; therefore I love you.’”[2]

Liberato (not his real name) is a pastor from the Philippines and part of the minority Christian community on an island with a Muslim majority. He told me how his church became a love cell. Muslims wanted to overrun the central government and set up an Islamic state on the island. They sought to drive the Christians out by burning down their homes. (Imagine if someone in your community hated you enough to burn down your home, simply because you were a Christian.) The Philippine army arrived to crush the Muslim rebellion by blowing up the terrorist’s homes. Liberato responded by saying, “We need to love our enemies. We need to demonstrate God’s love.” None of the other pastors in the community agreed, but Liberato organized his church to rebuild the terrorist’s homes. Eventually other churches joined them. When I heard the story, they had rebuilt the homes of forty Muslim families. Not surprisingly, the attitude of the Muslim community toward Christians was changing dramatically.
I received a letter from a friend named Chris who works with the Disciple Nations Alliance affiliate in Africa. Chris had the privilege of speaking to pastors in Malakal, in what is now South Sudan, on the need for the church to minister to the needs of the larger community, including the Muslim minority. Chris describes a thrilling moment in the closing ceremony:
The highlight of the celebration was when a mosque preacher, an Imam, who we did not know was a participant, walked forward and said, “Having listened to the wholistic message of loving one’s neighbor as oneself, including loving your enemies, and the rest of the transformational messages, I hereby openly declare my departure from the Islamic faith and identify myself with the family of Jesus Christ.”
Abba Love, a large cell church in Jakarta, Indonesia, ministers in neighboring slums inhabited by Muslims. They have started schools, soup kitchens, literacy programs, and skills training for unemployed Muslims. When a group of radicals came to burn down Abba Love’s building, they were prevented by poor Muslims who streamed out of the community and surrounded the building, saying, “You are not going to touch this church. These people love us.”
May these examples be multiplied a million times over everywhere a church touches a Muslim community. The war from the East will be won through the self-sacrificial love of the church, through the Word becoming flesh in God’s people.
- excerpted from Emancipating the World: A Christian Response to Radical Islam and Fundamentalist Atheism by Darrow Miller

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Black African's view on Short term missions

African view on short-term outreaches
Oxcar Muriu, Nairobi Chapel pastor (summarised version of an interview with him)
Do short-term mission trips help?
They work for the West; they don’t work for us very well. We don’t call them “short-term missions” any more. We call them “short-term learning opportunities.” The problem with calling it a mission is that it implies an agenda. There’s something I need to come and do for you, or to you, to better your life. In reality that doesn't happen in two weeks. Life is far too complex for that.
The greatest benefit is that you come and you learn. Unfortunately, not enough short-termers are listening to the two-thirds world, who receive them.
Americans tend to be very poorly informed about the world. America generates enough news on its own that its news organizations don’t have space for international news. Yet America exports so many movies and so much news that everybody around the world knows about America, whereas the American knows about nobody.
So what happens when there is an interchange?
As a Kenyan I was quite familiar with America long before the first time I came here. The culture shock for me is minimal. But Americans know almost nothing about Kenya. And so the culture shock when they come is very deep.
Some of them see destitute poverty for the first time ever. When you see poverty in America, on your television, it is sanitized. But the first marker of poverty is that it smells. That’s how you know real poverty: It smell. I have watched short-term missioners come in, and I've realized, “Oh boy, we need to go and debrief quickly. Because they’re weeping, they’re broken, they have an immense sense of guilt.” This is more about them than it is about what they came to do.
Are such “learning experiences” the best use of our resources?
The problem for Americans is that if a church isn't doing these things, its isn’t cool, and the youth program isn't cool. So there’s a lot of pressure for all youth programs to do this. Short-term experiences have their place, but they need to be more carefully constructed. All too often a church says, “We’d like to come for a short-term experience.”
Then they say, in so many words, “We’re going to do A, B, D, D, and we’re in charge.”
We want to say, “Guys, you’re coming as our guests.”
Do you know that when the President of the United States travels, his people take over all the security of the nations he travels to? When he came to East Africa, the airports were completely taken over by Marines. We’ll do things our way. Short term missionaries tend to be like that: they come and completely take over the agenda, the programs, the life of the church. But that’s not the way you visit a friend.
Besides bringing an agenda, what tends to distinguish the American personality?
Americans have two great things going for them culturally. One is that Americans are problem-solvers. Every time I come to the U.S., I like to spend a couple hours in a Wal-Mart. I find solutions to problems that I never thought of!
The rest of the world, even Europe, isn't so intent on solving inconveniences. We tend to live with our problems. In America you almost never go into a house where the sinks have two taps, a cold water tap and a hot water tap, because that means you have to mix the water in the sink to get it to the right temperature. You have these single faucets that mix the water before it comes out. It makes perfect sense. But that’s a problem the rest of the world wouldn't even think to solve. Americans don’t easily live with a problem - they want to solve the problem and move on. The rest of the world is more willing to live with the problems.
The second great thing for Americans is that your educational system teaches people to think and to express themselves. So a child who talks and asserts himself in conversation is actually awarded higher marks than the one who sits quietly.
How are these straits seen and talked about, in Africa?
Those two things that are such great gifts in the home context become a curse when you go into missions. Americans come to Africa, ant they want to solve Africa.  But you can’t solve Africa. It’s much too complex for that. And that really frustrates Americans.
And the assertiveness you are taught in school becomes a curse on the field. I often say to American missionaries, “When the American speaks, the conversation is over.” The American is usually the most powerful voice at the table. And when the most powerful voice gives its opinion, the conversation is over.
So what should talkative, problem-solving Americans do?
I tell Americans: “We're going into this meeting. Don’t say anything! Sit there and hold your tongue.” When you sit around a table, the people speaking always glance at the person they believe is the most powerful figure at the table. They will do that with you when you’re the only American. And at some point, they will ask you: “What do you think?”
Don’t say anything. If you say anything, reflect back with something like “I have heard such wisdom at this table. I am very impressed.” And leave it at that. Affirm them for the contribution they have made. Don’t give your opinion.
Americans find that almost impossible. They do not know how to hold their tongue. They sit there squirming, because they’re conditioned to express their opinions. It’s strength at home, but it becomes a curse on the field.
In a sense western missions has been marked by that. But isn't it strange that Jesus not only entered society incarnate at the weakest point, as a defenceless child who needed the care of his host community, but he also told his disciples” “Do not go with money; do not go with a second pair of shoes; go in a stance of vulnerability; be dependent on the communities you visit”? Isn't it interesting that for 30 years he doesn't speak out; doesn't reveal himself; he remains quiet, and only after 30 years of listening and learning the culture does he begin to speak.
So how can Americans communicate well with Africans?
When we communicate in Africa, we are very guarded in what we say. We don’t want to offend. Westerners way that Africans never tell you what they really think. They tell you what you want to hear. And yes, that’s true! Because from our perspective, every engagement between two people always has the potential of leading to a lifelong relationship, or preventing a lifelong friendship.
Africa is a very relational continent. It’s the relationships that make society work. In the U.S. things work irrespective of relationships; in fact, if you have a relationship, it can sometimes work against you. In Africa it’s the opposite. So we are always guarded and gracious in our communication. We want to guard the relationship. When the Bible says, “Speak the truth in love,” we err on the side of love. The possibility of a relationship means I cannot tell you the total truth until I am secure in this relationship with you, until I know that the truth will not hurt this relationship.
You do it differently. Speaking the truth has a higher premium in your context, so you are unguarded. You speak the truth, call a spade a spade, at whatever cost. And if the relationship suffers, well, that’s too bad, the important thing is that the truth was spoken.
We never do that. I've had to learn to be more assertive in my dealings with Americans just so thay would hear me! I have had to learn to speak truth more directly. Americans have to learn to listen to the relational side of things.
Your church has developed some deep partnerships with churches in the United States. What have been the key ingredients of those partnerships?
In each of these churches it’s been important to find a bridging relationship-someone who comes in quietly, speaks slowly, is a good listener, and is trying to learn.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Leadership challenges in Mozambique

After this past month's visit to Milange which included two vision conferences, two visits to congregations and a synodical meeting, I became more aware of uncomfortable differences in understanding of leadership. The way you think about leadership has big consequences. If you understand leadership as controlling people and that you are doing the important work and the people only give you the position by voting or by tradition, your way of managing is influenced by it. Your work as leader is therefore on a higher level and you are more important than the “normal person”. For anything to work well, you have to control and steer it because you are the one that knows the objectives. The normal person has to obey your rules.
My understanding of Biblical leadership is very different. Leadership is still very important and coordination is still very important. But think yourself in a position where the normal person or member in the church is the most important person. You handle them as more important than yourself although everybody has the same value – all created in the image of God. - You do not do the work, but you support the work that the members do. You do not control and are not in a position to control the outcome of tomorrow. You depend on the Lord to lead the normal person and you serve them to follow Him better. A big role for the servant leader is to coordinate the process where people continue to help one another grow in their capacity.
In Mozambique you see sometimes that if you work with members and empower them, the elders and pastors start to feel uncomfortable, because out of a authoritarian leadership, inherited from the tradition, you are taking away power from them. In discussing some empowerment ideas with the leadership in the synod, some sensitive discussions came to the fore. We were sometimes even attacked by asking “what are we doing that you have a problem with?” This question was asked after we only made a proposal to serving the goal of empowering better. This goal was previously accepted but not the consequences.
With this question hanging, we went back to the principle as we understand it in our interpretation of the Bible. The principle is that giving is close to the heart of our relationship with the Lord. From the beginning God gave Himself. We are His image and we believe that we have to grow into having this same attitude. Our freedom and wealth lie in giving ourselves to God and others, therefore we want to help the church also to give. If there is no participation from the church for a project, we are depriving the church from growth and God's blessing. We feel so strongly about it that we are not prepared to do projects if the church does not contribute something.
We believe that this principle is also true in the power you have as a leader. Your job is giving your power to the members. This should also be true of leaders in business and government. We explained to the leadership that we did not make the suggestion of this empowerment process because we are criticising leadership, but because of this principle.
After struggling with this principle we managed to find one another in this issue. I believe that struggles like these bring growth. It means not avoiding the issues, but looking for them and then going back to the biblical principles. These principles are built on a living, loving heart of a very real God. If you go back there, you find change, sometimes even painful, but with a better tomorrow as the result.