Friday, November 16, 2012

Recent Reading

Just a few thoughts on some of the reading I have been doing. (I actually wrote this a while back, but never got around to posting it.  It is crazy to think about all the different things I have read since!)

I recommend the book Walking with the Poor by Myers.  I read it shortly after I got to Mundri about three years ago.  I recently reread it for Theology of Poverty, and I got so much more out of it having read something from many of the authors that Myers references like Jayakumar Christian and Miroslav Volf.  Walking with the Poor is now available on Kindle.


I like this quote a lot for so many reasons, but I will let you read and it and relate it to your own stories.  

"Our communities are like our houses in which we feel at home, and yet keep rearranging, taking old things out and bringing new things in, often objects acquired on visits to near and distance place, objects which symbolize that we can never be the same after we have ventured outside our home, that the things we encounter 'outside' become a part of the 'inside'" - A Vision of Embrace: Theological Perspectives on Cultural Identity and Conflict by Volf

Here is one more quote from our readings on reconciliation.  

“…a Christian way of dealing with suffering involves bringing one’s own story of suffering into contact with the story of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ." - Schreiter 


I wish I could articulate in a better way everything I have been thinking, considering, and praying about through all my classes.  I have a lot of good questions, but honestly, I have information overload.  I am recognizing the mistakes I made as a development practitioner in S. Sudan, and acknowledging to myself that if I continue working in development, I will always make mistakes.  I seem to need to relearn that lesson every few months.  It is so easy for my sinful heart to make effectiveness in ministry an idol. 

"The Holy Spirit empowers us for mission, leads us into mission, and is responsible for the results of mission." - Myers   

So maybe I need to write that quote by Myers on my wall and remember that it is true for missionaries overseas, engineers in the US, stay-at-home moms, ... basically it is true in for every calling and vocation. 


Since I am letting your all get a glimpse of my thoughts anyway, I must say that sometimes I hesitate write my thoughts on the things I am learning and reading on economics of development and theology of poverty, because I fear being judged.  I guess I still feel a little like an imposter as a missionary, like someone is going to realize that they let a chemical engineer slip in with all the real missionaries that went to seminary or at least have degree in appropriate technology.  And those thoughts take me right back to the Myers quote.  

"The Holy Spirit empowers us for mission, leads us into mission, and is responsible for the results of mission." - Myers  

So I will end with this, you don't have to have everything all figured and your life all cleaned up to take a step of faith accept Jesus as your Savior, and you don't have to have everything all figured out and have dealt with all sin in your life to follow Jesus if he calls you to mission.  God is in the business of restoring broken things and that is good news for you, for me, for churches, universities, nations, the earth, basically it is just universally good news.   


Sunday, November 4, 2012


In many Christian communities, people will speak openly about their own sin.  Subjects that might be taboo like greed, pride, and lust are discussed openly.  In fact, public admission of sin can even become boastful because it is so highly valued.  

There are however still some things that people don't really discuss.  Doubt, in my opinion, is one of those things.  It would be easier to admit to lying than to admit you doubt the existence of God.  

So here I am, a former missionary, admitting on a public blog that I sometimes doubt.  And not just little doubts, like doubting the power of prayer or doubting that God is at work in the midst of suffering, but I doubt the existence of God.  I have moments of darkness and unbelief.

It seems to be the pattern of my life that those moments come especially when I intentionally take time consider God, suffering, paradox, Truth, etc. As a grad student, most of my days are spent reading and praying about those very topics. 

You might think that what comes next in this post is some words about how we can take those doubts to the Lord, evidences for the existence of God, or something that you would read in Christian book on doubt (albeit not as well written).

But I won't, because that is the reality of life of faith sometimes. 

I am thankful for friends to whom I can safely express my doubts and confusion because I think those things should not be keep secret.  I pray that Christian communities would be bold in speaking openly about doubt thus creating a safe spaces for any person to share their doubts.


1 Corinthians 13:12  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.


“Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys” - Screwtape Letters


FYI: I still love Jesus.  =)