Posts Tagged ‘missions’

Divine Narcissism

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

If the glory of God is the driving force behind missions, is God a narcicssist?  God desires (hopefully as do we all)  that there be a worshiping people before his throne from every tribe, tongue, nation and people (promised by Rev 5:9 and 7:9). John Piper has been one of the most vocal proponents that God is fully deserving of this glory from all. Missions involves gathering together worshippers so he gets more glory.

But for others, God’s concern for His own fame and glory seems to be “vain and egotistical”.  Paul Copan tries to answer this question in an article, Divine Narcissism, in Philophia Christi (8:2:2006), “Why does God desire for us to worship, praise and glorify Him?  Why is it wrong for us–but not for God–to be so self-preoccupied?”

His article is subtitled “A further defense of God’s Humilty”.  Valuable thoughts for anyone with a passion for the glory of God.

Copan says that God should not be thought of as proud.  “Rather, he has a realistic view of himself, not a false or exaggerated one.  His view of himself isn’t distorted or unnecessarily lofty. He is God, after all!”

Speaking about praise, Copan  says,  “Praise is called for by creatures caught up with God’s greatness, power, goodness and love.  Praise is the climax of realizing God’s excellencies, and creatures fittingly erupt in praise, spontaneously beckoning the rest of us to do the same. ”   Amen and Amen!


Top Ten Myths About Missions

June 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Spent some time roaming around missions catalyst and here are two articles you may want to look over.  Published in 2008 but I think they are still relevant.

First four myths

  • Myth #1 – Only Extraordinary People Need Apply
  • Myth #2 – Missions Means Going Overseas, Planting Churches
  • Myth #3 – Non-Christians (Especially Muslims) Are Hairy, Scary Meanies
  • Myth #4 – It’s All about Money

Last six myths

  • Myth #5 – It’s All about Meeting Needs
  • Myth #6 – It’s Just One More Thing
  • Myth #7 – It’s All Missions
  • Myth #8 – All Mission Effort Has the Same Strategic Value
  • Myth #9 – God Only Uses Americans and Other Westerners
  • Myth #10 – God Has Given Up on Americans / Westerners

Short-term Missions

April 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Ethnocentric thinking about Haiti

March 9, 2010 Leave a comment

In an article, Theyr’e Not Us, Roberto Carlo expands our understanding about the disastrous attempt of well-meaning Christians who tried to rescue 100 Haitain orphans and bring them back to America.  Sigh!!!  He goes on to describe other ill-fated attempts of missionaries to help.  His conclusion for success in mission endeavors: “That requires doing something that most Americans are terrible at: seeing ourselves and our history as the rest of the world sees it, never mind taking it seriously.”

What Carlo describes in this article is ethnocentric thinking–an assumption that our way is better, resulting in a lack of respect for people in their own context and an inability to see how God is already at work.  I understand that people “just want do do something to help” but in too many cases, that help makes things worse in the long run.

Ethnocentrism is the tendency to believe that one’s ethnic or cultural group is centrally important, and that all other groups are measured in relation to one’s own.

Ethnocentric: characterized by or based on the attitude that one’s own group is superior.

Missionary conversations: part 4

February 9, 2010 Leave a comment

photo by gerard laurenceau

Some common grief phenomena experienced by missionaries upon re-entry to their home country

S: . . . so I guess the sense of loss is kind of different to say when we leave Australia. When we left Australia . . . to go overseas because we knew that we would see basically everybody again when got back, but leaving [host country] to come back home, then (pause) really it’s a probably won’t see you again sort of goodbye, . . . I guess that sense of loss in some sense is more acute for me.

J: I heard one other missionary on home leave . . . who felt like a dried up raisin. . . . And I thought that was very, very good—lost juice. You were all there but just dried up.

C: . . . there’s, there’s a real sense of not really belonging, whereas in the place where we worked we had very close friends of many years.

H: . . . you know I get really, excuse the French, but I get pissed off that people are so stupid here [in Australia] and so short-sighted.

A: I think…buying a house and setting up a house sometimes has been a bit overwhelming in seeking to make the right choice

N: [I have] basic struggles with nuts and bolts of getting around and to help the children settle better.

F: . . . just sitting on the verandah and ignoring all the mess inside . . . and the feeling that we were home . . . and the feeling of well-being that that gave me.

From “Back Home: a qualitative study exploring re-entering cross-cultural missionary aid workers’ loss and grief” Published in Omega 59:1 2008-2009

Missionary conversations: part 3

February 6, 2010 Leave a comment

More conversations with missionaries about what what happened when they returned to their home country.

Loss of Control

N: I guess it’s . . . not having an environment where you know and understand and have some control over what’s happening . . . that’s all become incredibly wearing and tiring.

S: It [loss of a family relationship on re-entry] was completely outside of the control that we had. . . . I guess it’s really quite a shame.

B: . . . in one sense you’ve got a bit of disappointment because we left sooner than we wanted . . . so there were things on the field that we hadn’t got done before we left.

J: I have just had to say, “God I just can’t do this [care for children in different locations], you know, I don’t have control over this, I’m just going to have to let you . . . be the boss there.” . . . He’s come through every single time (laughter). Does that make it easier for next time? Not always.

From “Back Home: a qualitative study exploring re-entering cross-cultural missionary aid workers’ loss and grief” Published in Omega 59:1 2008-2009

Missionary conversations: part 2

January 31, 2010 Leave a comment

More conversations with missionaries regarding the losses incurred on their return to their home country.

Vicious loss cycles—Vicious loss cycles occurred when the primary re-entry losses led to secondary losses which aggravated the primary losses and were associated with a breakdown of balance in the participants’ lives.

N: . . . as we focus on the situation of settling back in we have countless decisions to make in a relatively short period of time. . . so that in itself is very wearing and means that isolation and lack . . . of people to confide in makes all those decisions more difficult.

F: And it [illness on re-entry] was partly due to ongoing stresses when we came home added to all the other things, which I really haven’t had time to process.

For N, multiple re-entry losses, including lack of support, led to multiple decisions with loss of energy which aggravated the initial losses and resulted in an imbalance between the demands and his ability to respond. For F, multiple re-entry losses led to lack of balance in her time to process these losses which had negative physical, mental and spiritual changes which then led to further loss.

From “Back Home: a qualitative study exploring re-entering cross-cultural missionary aid workers’ loss and grief” Published in Omega 59:1 2008-2009