(Re)reading mission in light of the Bible

I’ve been published again!

Martureo — The Brazilian Center for Missiological Reflection recently published an article I wrote on The Bible and the missionary imagination after colonialism.  

In my article, I drew on my life exprience in what might best be called “an inbetween space”. I am from a place in the North that used to send missionaries to countries to the South and to the East. And yet I had a place of my own with people from another place–one that put them on the receiving end of missionary projects from the North–in their efforts to follow Christ into His mission.

My article also drew on the story of NT Wright, controversies about his work, and how those controversies have played out in Brazil and in the USA.

Out of those experiences, I found stories that reveal the effect of some “structures” that remained in effect after colonialism was dismantled. Surprisingly, those structures make it difficult for Christians to actually listen to the Bible. Too often we use the Bible to make it say what we want it to say. The structures have another related effect: they name some people as needy and other people as the ones that God somehow needs so he can meet their need.  

My story is about people who let the Bible examine them and their practices. Its about how when they let the Bible do its work, they were pushed into service for the good of others, rather than worrying about how to “defend the faith”.  

The article is in Portuguese, so I have included here an English draft version of my article

Join us in making changes…

I tell people I commute to Brazil.  Mapa-Mundo-AtualAnd sometimes I do, and sometimes I work from the USA focused on the work of Martureo–The Brazilian Center for Missiological Reflection where I am Executive Coordinator.

How does Martureo work?

Martureo influences the perspective and efforts of thousands of Brazilians who bear witness to the Lord Jesus Christ, and all his teachings, around the world and in every sphere of society. In 2018 Martureo did this in three significant ways.  We offered Continue reading “Join us in making changes…”

We are home, after the trip of a lifetime: where was the love?

Over the last month, we were on “the trip of a lifetime.” It was an opportunity for rest and renewal and, most importantly, multiple experiences of love.

The most visible experiences of love were found in the journey, which was itself a gift from God.  It is quite special that we were given the privilege of being gone for an entire month to wander around Europe.  It was love that gave us access to enough resources for us to visit Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, England, Holland, and Norway.  The surprising part was that we were on the receiving end of so many acts of generosity, that expressed love from friends toward us.

Continue reading “We are home, after the trip of a lifetime: where was the love?”

40 years of unfinished projects. Thanks for sticking with us!

The story of more than 40 years of our life with Latin Americans came together in a very special way in 2017.

During the second half of the year, I learned important lessons.  Those lessons reminded me that we don’t walk through life alone.  This story would not have happened without you: Continue reading “40 years of unfinished projects. Thanks for sticking with us!”

PANAMA”PUENTE DEL MUNDO, CORAZON DEL UNIVERSO”

It’s not about the ships.

The important thing is how cargo gets from one part of the world to another.

Sometimes the best way is on a ship that passes through the Canal.  But not all cargo stays in ships as it goes through the Canal.   The canal administration understands that is a node in a flow of global commerce from everywhere to everywhere.  The canal is an important part of Panama’s brand:  “Bridge of the World, Heart of the Universe.”

Panama is about connectivity between humans.   But the Canal doesn’t produce the Continue reading “PANAMA”PUENTE DEL MUNDO, CORAZON DEL UNIVERSO””

Year end giving in my 40th year of Christian service.

I am not sure how I feel about the heavy traffic of e-mails I get with Christmas greetings mixed with an appeal to me to give money to everyone’s favorite charity.

I admit it is part of the system that has defined “missions” from the American church to the rest of the world and that we have done some good.  This system has made it possible Continue reading “Year end giving in my 40th year of Christian service.”

Polycentric Missiology, by Allen Yeh

I wish we could sit down and read Polycentric Missiology together.  We might find ourselves talking together about what difference mission makes. Hopefully, our conversation would take us beyond celebrating or condemning missionaries who went out from a “Christian” North to a pagan South. Instead, we would talk about how the world changed in the 20th Century and reflect on the surprisingly decisive role that Christian mission played.

I would really be excited if reading it together, you might also find a way to help me resolve a long-standing frustration of mine.  When we first went to Brazil as missionaries, I discovered the world was not really organized in the way the “missions” narrative I learned from had portrayed it to me. I can’t say that was the frustration.  After Continue reading “Polycentric Missiology, by Allen Yeh”