Here’s another religious T-shirt that I found at Disney World.
It bears a message of peace.
The back of the tee shirt has a map of Africa with a message.
Here’s another religious T-shirt that I found at Disney World.
It bears a message of peace.
The back of the tee shirt has a map of Africa with a message.
Please excuse me over the next week or so as I share some observations of those watching liberal American Methodists trying to turn my church into something like the American Anglican Church.
For over a decade there has been an attempt by liberals to conform Methodist doctrine, which is determined by majority vote (on a more or less one-member, on-vote basis) to standards prevalent in American culture.
The problem with the liberal strategy is that churches where their philosophy prevails are in decline, while those more aligned with Biblical teaching are rapidly growing. Africa is the poster child for a church in what might be called “Acts” mode.
Today I got an email from Mark Tooley of the Institute of Religion and Democracy with snippets of the cultural clash.
“How fascinating that once insulated elite church liberals from shrinking churches now have to contend with hundreds of biblically minded African delegates representing millions of new church members,” writes Tooley.
In a debate in Church and Society, liberals proposed a motion about encouraging energy efficient cars, Tooley reports.
“An African delegate said: ‘This isn’t relevant to our context.’
“A clueless liberal delegate began to question him: ‘…I don’t know if you carpool [in Africa] – or have access to non-incandescent light bulbs.’”
“Oh yeah,” Tooley comments on the cluelessness of the liberal.
In Africa one district superintendent told of having no roads in his jurisdiction. He couldn’t ride a bicycle; he had to walk to his churches.
As for debating the type of light bulb, most of rural Africa is without electricity.
Methodists are big on “connections.” We are all in one church.
The liberals (and I am being polite by using this word) have a steep learning curve between their “this is the way things should be” and the way things are where Christianity is burgeoning.
The difference is goals between is described by Tooley like this:
“Liberals worry about sexual freedom and coercively redistributing wealth, along with extreme environmental causes that deter economic growth.
AAfricans want to create NEW wealth and more development.
“Instead of Global Warming, Africans are concerned about disease eradication, clean water, and greater food production…
“Growing numbers of Africans, who live in the real word, will increasingly push our church back towards relevance and reality.”
For information on the liberals’ call to ordain homosexual and lesbian clergy, look here.
For information about what the LGBT agenda for youth, look here.
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Other articles that may be of interest:
The following was written by Denise Rhodes Beck on Wednesday, June 1, 2011, and is re-printed with permission. She is serving as a missionary in Uganda
I am….(fill in the blank).
The white lady with all the kids.
The one that is married to the really tall white guy.The one who tripped carrying her groceries from the market (coordination is not my spiritual gift).
Tonight I was the friend sitting across from Emilie over a platter of Ethiopian food.
In between cleaning up spills and coaxing our children to finish eating, our conversation ended up where every other conversation over the past week and a half ended up…Joplin. My home town.
The place we both left exactly one year ago today.
The place my mom sent the email from that I awoke to on Monday morning entitled,
“We are all OK”
(those words are always followed by a “BUT”).
The place the tornado made famous.
To be so far away from people and places you love when they are suffering is heart wrenching.
I sat at the computer Monday morning (Sunday night U.S. time) and just sobbed as I read post after post and saw picture after picture.
My kids just stared and me (one brought me a vitamin…I don’t think they knew what to do with me).
I questioned so much why God had us so far away at this time.
So tonight Em and I shared our stories of weathering the storm from afar.
After a few stories in, I began to see why, and I thought you might like to hear, too. When tragedy strikes, those it strikes are put in an amazing position.
A terrible, awful, amazing position.
It is as if they have been given a microphone and their life is now being lived four times louder.
People will now stop, look, and listen….FOREVER.It is like my friend here whose eighteen month old daughter was accidentally killed by a teammate’s car.
Thirty years later my friend’s life story still quiets a room and fills it with goosebumps as she speaks of her choice to love and forgive…and stay in Africa.
Hundreds of churches have been planted as a result.Joplin…you have been given a microphone, and the world is listening.
I can say that because I am on the other side of it.
When I enter a local shop and one of my African friends has heard about the tornado and is questioning how there could be a God, I have an open door and we talk.
When the kids’ art teacher’s face drops when he hears I am from Joplin; he wonders if my family is OK, I share God’s goodness.I begin to listen to Emilie tell of a friend, a young girl from Canada, who stopped by so full of searching and questions.
She doesn’t believe in God but she is having trouble processing what she is seeing on Aljazeera (the international news channel).
“They are talking about Joplin.
“They are saying they have never seen anything like it before.
“People are taking in strangers from the street.
“People are opening their homes to feed and clothe anyone in need.
“They are saying it is the church!”
And Emilie is invited into this young lady’s heart to share with an openness that has never before been possible.
Joplin, you are his hands, his feet, his light to the world.
His glory is being shouted from your microphone.
So many of you have lived through a nightmare.
I pray thirty years from now your decision to give God glory in the midst of your hardest days will be the stuff that causes a hush to settle over the room.You have been given an incredible gift.
Thank you for sharing it with the world.
So…who am I today?
If Joplin is selfless love, loudly proclaiming his glory, I hope at the end of everyday, I can say…
“I am Joplin.”
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All of the photos may be enlarged by clicking on them.
“This is a dangerous planet. Only a politician would try to tell you otherwise. And I’m not talking about wars–we’re America, we win our wars. Plagues can appear out of nowhere and slaughter millions of people. Blights can wipe out our crops. A meteor the size of a bus could hit the earth and send us back to the Stone Age. An extraordinary solar flare could destroy our electronics or heat our atmosphere so much our crops all die and we starve.
“And whom do we put in charge of helping us prepare to cope with such disasters? People whose only talent is for getting elected, and whose entire future consists of the run-up to the next election.
“It’s not their fault–anybody who doesn’t think and act that way won’t win. It’s the fundamental problem with democracy. No long-range thinking. So we’re just sitting ducks, waiting for the next disaster…” (Emphasis added.)
This is the beginning “Hidden Empire” by Orson Scott Card, published in 2009.
I knew when I read those first two paragraphs of the paperback that I bought at so, so much off at the Crystal Lake Border’s going out of business sale that I was going to like the book.
A political book by someone who knew something about politics.
A book about a politician who made decisions in the best interest of his constituents, yet who turns out to be a bit too ruthless for the sensibilities of most of us.
And, as an added bonus, Christians are not demeaned.
Christian action in Africa is a large part of the plot.
It doesn’t have to cost the $40 million that Oprah Winfrey spent. Illinois North Shore resident Lynn Cole heads up RISE International. She can show you how you can build a school in Angola for $12,500. RISE, by the way comes from Isaiah 58:10:
“…if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will RISE in he darkness…”
Actually, the residents in Angola do the construction. You provide the financing. Groups associated with high schools like New Trier, Wheeling and West Chicago, plus churches have done the heavy lifting to raise the $1.3 million spent so far. When the Angolan school year begins in February, 150 schools built with help from RISE will be staffed with Angolan Ministry of Education teachers. Naturally, I had to ask what could be done with $40 million. Cole’s answer:
“With $40 million we could do amazing things. I think we could change a country with $40 million.”
Cole and her husband Andrew were inspired when they went to Angola, her husband’s birth place, as part of their 25th wedding anniversary celebration. And in case the last name sounds familiar, Andrew’s father is Moody Bible Institute’s Pastor Donald Cole. But, let me let her tell the story. . .
The civil war continued in Angola for 27 years. The infrastructure lay in ruins, schools were destroyed or non-existent, and an entire generation has grown up unable to read and write. Our vision is to work together to rebuild lives and communities, reflecting Jesus’ charge to love others as we love ourselves.
Andrew, my husband was born and raised in Angola, the son of Don and Naomi Cole, missionaries there for 18 years.
After a 31 year absence, he returned with his Dad for a one time visit in 1997—they were moved by the people and the involvement could not end, but began anew.
This journey began for me in May of 1998, as Andrew and I traveled to Angola to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I had never been out of the US, never to a third world war-torn country, never to a place that gripped me like Angola.
Amidst the devastation, Andrew dreamed of building a school at Chilonda, the place he had grown up.
But in 1999, the war escalated and unable to enter Angola, we found Angolan refugees with whom we could be involved in the Osire Refugee Camp in Namibia, and thought it would be great to bring a “few friends” to join us.
Those “friends” became the first Pilgrimage of Service team in May of 2000, a group of 19 that traveled to Osire to work and serve.
Their experience and the relationships that were built moved that group to form a non-profit organization just one year later.
Subsequent mission trips to refugee camps in Zambia inspired passion and action. And when the war ended in 2002, the journey led RISE back to Angola, with a commitment to bring encouragement and hope through education.
We couldn’t get in so we went to refugee camps. When the war ended in 2002, we decided that we wanted to focus our efforts on rebuilding Angola.
The most effective way to do that was through education.
In the spring of 2003 a group of us sat in our living room to think about how this might unfold.
The first school was built just three and a half years ago and highlights what can happen when we take a small step. Our mission is to partner with Angolan churches, community leaders and government officials to build primary schools in rural Angola.
It is a very simple partnership where we raised the funds in the United States to provide building materials and books and local villages in Angola are chosen by local leadership teams we have established. This is based on a partnership agreement.
Then the village volunteers the labor and the oversight.
February is the start of their school year. There will be about 45,000 kids in 105 schools that would not have had schools yet.
The reason is that we are building schools in various rural areas where they have not schools or the schools were destroyed. They haven’t had schools for 25 or 30 years in some of these villages and in some villages there never was a school.
The places where we are working are where there was a lot of fighting during the war. So the entire infrastructure was destroyed.
We partner with a local village and a local church within the village and they provide labor and oversight.
The beauty of that is that the school belongs to them. They have ownership and investment.
The third part of the partnership is that the Angolan Ministry of Education provides and pays the teachers.
It’s really an effort to jump-start the educational system.
The task of rebuilding is so enormous when a country is destroyed. The government is beginning to build schools in the cities and towns, but it will be years before they will be able to get to the rural areas as well.
We have begun in the rural areas and will meet in the middle.
That’s where this idea (comes from) that these kids would not have been in schools for years to come without outside assistance.
The schools we are building are about $12,500 apiece. They are in places where there is no electricity, no running water. The local village builds outhouses for the use of the schools.
And where does the money come from?
The financing to this point has been primarily relationally based.
By that I mean, people who have known us or people who have traveled with us to Angola are touched by the story and the need and want to make a difference.
Individuals, small groups, schools, churches and businesses have joined together.
It’s been an amazing process as well.
Initially we are involved in a number of schools. And there are several more becoming involved, including Prosser Academy, a Chicago public school.
The ones who have been involved to date have been New Trier, Wheeling High School and West Chicago Community High School.
The kids have been involved to raise money to build schools and to send shipping containers filled with school supplies and clothing.
We have very committed people in these schools.
They are engaged because they see the money they raise actually makes a difference.
These are the entities listed as partnering with the organization on its web site:
-Christian Heritage Academy in Northfield, IL
-Grace Community Church in Tucson, AZ
-New Trier High School
-West Chicago Community High School
-Wheeling High School
-Willow Creek Community Church – North Shore in Northfield
In addition to raising money stateside, the group sends people to Angola, for one of the unique elements of RISE is its focus on relationships.
We take teams in the summer and those teams (including some teens) participate in both building schools and teacher training workshops.
So they are personally involved and take pictures and we get stories and we get input.
They bring that back to the U.S. so that the kids in the schools see the schools they are actually building and the kids they are helping.
We have taken teams since May of 2000.
These teams, we call them a “Pilgrimage of Service.”
The idea is that we go to work and serve along side Angolans, but it is often those who go that are most deeply impacted.
Last summer’s cost was $4,700.
And the future?
Over the next five years RISE wants to impact 100,000 additional students, building 250 more schools, and work to help the schools provide the best learning environment in rural Angola.
Education empowers people—we will remain focused on rebuilding lives and communities through education.
The schools and churches offer a network to disperse knowledge.
Exciting partnerships continue to unfold, with a plan to provide training and materials to educate about life skills, literacy and the prevention of AIDS. Angola is unique, having the lowest rate of AIDS in southern Africa because of the isolation of war. We can and must make a difference–education can save lives.
Contributions to RISE International can be made via its web page.
Images can be enlarged by clicking on them.
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The top photo is of excited students at school in village of Kambiambia, Benguela Province. Beneath to the left is a close-up of some of the waving children.
On the right is the 2006 Pilgrimage Team helping build school at village of Balambi. The funds to pay for the school were raised by New Trier High School students.
Below, Lynn Cole is seen with students at school in Lomako, Benguela Province.
The photo on the right is a closeup of the children standing in front of the school at Essoquela, Benguela Province.
Next appears a teacher with his students at school in village of Kunje, Bie Province. A closer look at the teacher and some of his students can been seen directly below. To that picture’s upper right is another close-up of children in front of a school.
The three men are standing in the door of a school in Essoquela, Benguela Province. Did they helped build the school? Is that a hopeful mother in front of them?
Both the adults and the students below are from a school in Essoquela, Benguela Province. In the column of kids from the school, the tallest, dressed in blue, has a somber look on her face.
The little boy with his hands on the big brick is from the village of Balambi. This close-up was taken from the third picture from the top of the story.
Below the boy is a shipping container being filled with school supplies and clothing by those in the New Trier High School area. Besides raising money to pay for the building of schools, RISE International also encourages groups to donate such goods and material.
Next are enlargements of those who went to Angola to help build the school in Balambi, along with some residents whom they assisted in turning New Trier’s contribution into a school.
The young folks you see pictured among the photo credits are from the village of Kahondo, province of Benguela. This is the site of the new school being built with funds raised by Wheeling High School.
Finally, there is a map of Angola which shows the number of schools RISE expects to be ready for February classes.