Living Toward a Wider Vista

For those of us who are ministers and leaders in the local church, there is a long list of things that we do.  Included are activities such as preaching and teaching, praying for the distressed and sick, visiting people in the hospital, providing activities for children and students, planning worship, dealing with personnel matters, creating opportunities for fellowship, managing finances, and the list goes on and on.  While good, worthy, and necessary, these ‘must do’s’ can at times become ends in themselves, unless broader and ultimate purposes are kept clearly in view. Continue reading

Speaking of World Christianity

Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion will host a symposium on World Christianity.  The focus of the symposium will be on the role of Christianity in Brazil, Russia, India and China, exploring questions of Christianity’s role in economic development, Christianity as a minority, its relation with other religions, and the impact of demographic patterns on Christianity.  The symposium is a one-day event and will take place Monday, October 11th at Baylor.  At 10:30am there will be a panel discussion by Paul C. Freston of Laurier University, Paul Froese of Baylor University, Virginia Garrard-Burnett of University of Texas, and Robert Woodberry of University of Texas.  The panel will take place in the Armstrong Browning Library Classroom.  At 2:30pm Philip Jenkins of Penn State University and Baylor University will make a presentation in Draper 106.

I will be there and hope to see you there as well.

Mark your Calendar

Join us at Truett Theological Seminary, Waco, Texas for the Parchman Endowed Lectures, October 13, 14, and 15 (2009).  Our guest lecturer will be Lamin Sanneh, D. Willis James Professor of Missions & World Christianity and Professor of History, Yale Divinity School.  Born in Gambia of royal African lineage, Sanneh is an editor-at-large of The Christian Century, contributing editor of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, series editor of Oxford Studies in World Christianity and the author of more than a hundred articles and several books, including the recent Whose Religion is Christianity? The Gospel Beyond the West (Eerdmans 2003), Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture (Orbis 1989), and Disciples of All Nations: Pillars of World Christianity (Oxford 2008).

Dr. Sanneh will lecture at 9:30 am each of these days under the general theme of Connecting World Christianity: New World Parameters.  This is a rare opportunity to hear a leading voice in the interpretation and shaping of world Christianity.

The Next Big Idea

I invite you to join me and others at The Next Big Idea conference at Baylor from Feb. 9 to 11. 

This conference is shaping up to be a unique attempt to translate Big Ideas into Action, to assist the church in how live out the gospel in a radical manner, and to create understand how to be faithful in our fragmented world.  Speakers and workshop leaders include Kay Warren, Eric Swanson, Rick Rusaw, Rick McKinley, Lynne Hybels, Walter Bradley, Diana Garland, Dennis Tucker, Mack McCarter, Alan Nelson, Dennis Myers, Amy Sherman, Heidi Unruh, Gaynor Yancey, and myself.  Topics include human trafficking, church renewal, AIDS, poverty, disease, new technologies, world Christianity, youth, family, community ministry, volunteers, and new ideas about the church’s outreach.  In sum, the conversation is about how the church becomes externally focused.  Come to Waco and join us for this conversation. 

Early Bird registration runs until Dec. 31st.  To learn more about details of the program and register, click here.

Three million a year

All kinds of issues fill the pages of our newspapers and figure prominently in the evening news – the war, oil prices, the upcoming election, etc.  And yet, some of the more pressing world problems seem to be completely absent.  For example, what do we read or hear about malaria?  AIDS gets some press – not near enough – but malaria is hardly on the radar for any of us, especially me.  While reading The End of Poverty, I came across a sentence that caused me to stop reading and put the book down …

Malaria is utterly treatable, yet, incredibly, it still claims up to three million lives per year, mostly young children, about 90 percent of whom live in Africa  (Jeffrey D. Sachs, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time, 196).

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