Don Richardson is a Canadian pastor and missiologist perhaps best known for the work the Peace Child and his book Eternity in their Hearts. In this talk last October in Hawaii in talks about cross-cultural communication of the Gospel of Jesus and Richardson highlights the importance of listening to discover the cultural compass pointing to Jesus providentially woven into the fabric of a culture.
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Pete McMartin has served up a beautiful story of a family working out their faith in Jesus in the Downtown Eastside. The progressive integration of the Gospel into the spaces where we live-work-play is what we have been talking about Cityview. I’m so glad to have another story of someone doing it! As we each listen and respond to Jesus our lives won’t necessary look like Kathryn Walker’s, but I do think there are some common missional aspects that can be. Before I lay them out let’s get some engagement on this question: What do you think should be true of all followers of Jesus Christ?
“Humankind without God cannot solve the very problems it generates. Only a supernatural change of heart, a subsequent change of mind and a transformed life has a chance of truly changing things. Therefore, only those who know how to change hearts and minds, to un-corrupt, detox and deliver humans from the central disease of rebellious independence from God will stand an excellent chance of changing things.” Wolfgang Simpson, The Starfish Manifesto, p. 304
I am making my way through Wolgang Simpson’s latest offering, The Starfish Manifesto. For those of you who were challenged by his book, Houses that Change the World, you will not be disappointed; this new book is a challenge too. Get the book for “free” at The Starfish Foundation portal.
The Lead09 conference at Atmosphere Church is online to watch and listen to.
I recently completed reading Dances with Dependency: Indigenous Success through Self-Reliance, by Calvin Helin. Helin observes that Canada is headed for the perfect storm as two large systems converge and make greater demands on the economic systemof Canada: the retiring baby boomers and the growing aboriginal population. He believes aboriginal communities are being decimated today by reliance on welfare. He argues that there must be systematic, intentional and urgent effort exerted by all Canadians to avoid the welfare trap and the ensuing destruction of families, communities, and souls. Dances with Dependency is an impassioned and well thought out plea for leaders of all tribes in Canada to promote the value of self-reliance.
Helin’s call to self-reliance should not misinterpreted as extreme individualism. Rather it should be set fully into a community paradigm that values interdependence as a mature way of being between the poles of dependency and Independence. Self-reliance as a community value saturates Helin’s work and reflects both his study and his roots. I deeply appreciated how he moved from an autobiographical story line into the historical and economic research that added strength to his anectodal observations. As well it is fitting to say that this is a beautiful book; I never felt distant from the land and communities of which he writes because of the art work by Bill Helin that is featured.
I heartily recommend this book to anyone working in urban, rural, or reserve communities. Not only was I inspired and encouaged by Helin’s writings, I was given a thoughtful historical perspective on the Canadian experience for aboriginal peoples; injustice gets wrapped up in systems that seem to take on a life of their own regardless of racial and ethnic heritage. This book is a call to action. Anyone who wants to deal with reality will appreciate Helin’s call for future-looking decision making. I also found the transcript of Kevin Liben’s interview at The National Post in January 2008 helpful for encouraging me to read the book. In case you are wondering if you should take up this book here is Calvin Helin speaking for himself:
If lasting solutions are to be found, the real Aboriginal solcial and political problems must be discussed openly and frankly. Aboriniginal people need to declare an Abloriginal “glosnot” similar to that in the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev. The removal of government censorship allowed the problems of the Soviet Union to be discussed and addressed in an environment of openness. Aboriginal citizens must also squarely face the Industry of Non-Aboringinal Hucksters, and “consultants”, and those Aboriginal politicians who are openly profiting from this sea of despair and poverty. In spite of what they say, this “Indian Industry” has no real interest in changing a a system from which they are profiting. Without such resolve it will be difficult, if not impossible, to deal with the myriad of problems that must be tackled.
If manners and common civilities stand int he way of finding solutions, then these must be set aside. It is also time to put questions of self-interest and political correctness aside while real solutions are explored in the name of a higher purpose. The tears and broken hearts of thousands of mothers and grandmothers should be enough to convince anyone that we must take action now. How long are we prepared to leave the plight of Aboriginial children and youth in the unkind hands of the welfare trap? How many more families need to fall as casualties of a fatal “welfare syndrome”–one that is literally stealing the lives and hopes of our future generations? We must shake off the apathy of what has become an all too comfortable “cloak of welfare” and act to fix the problems now. 38-39