I grew up in a wee church in rural Wisconsin, and one of the community grandmother figures to me was Sara Smith. I know I have a good friend in Sara, because today she sent me a card in the mail and included a little bulletin that she thought I would enjoy. It’s from the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in St. Paul, and seems like an ordinary worship bulletin. But I’m amazed at Continue reading →
Subtitle: The Mission Field as field. . . and forest and river and mountain and topsoil
by Lowell Bliss, guest contributor
Ed has asked me to re-post this article from a recent issue of our Environmental Missions Prayer Digest, in particular as a means to discuss one way in which
creation care can affect how the Church goes about doing missions: evangelism, discipleship, and church-planting. “Go and make disciples of ta ethne, all nations,” the Great Commission says. Even the Greek renderings of the words indicate that making disciples occurs among ethnic groups, or people groups. Political nations may grant missionaries their passports and entry visas, but ministry occurs among smaller cultural and linguistic communities. But what about ministry in something we would define as ecoregions? To what extent should the local biosphere inform how we preach the Gospel to a particular people group?
A 1982 Lausanne Committee meeting in Chicago offered the following definition of a people group: “A significantly large ethnic or sociological grouping of individuals who perceive themselves to have a common affinity for one another. For evangelistic purposes, it is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.” A creation care perspective looks at this definition from a number of assumptions. One is that these “individuals” are homo sapiens, and thus not disembodied souls floating in a simple construct of culture and language. People live, and they live somewhere. That physical “somewhere” means something; it creates a valid “common affinity for one another.” It also greatly affects how one hears and interacts with the Gospel.
It’s a legitimate question: The news is getting worse by the day for those of us many miles away, and no doubt by the hour for those living in the area of impact. This morning we learned that some experts believe the amount of oil leaking may be much more than even the revised estimate of 5,000 barrels per day. More worrisome than that, there is now real concern that the oil may join the Gulf stream ocean current, which would send it around the tip of Florida and all the way up the East Coast of the United States, staining beaches and killing wildlife as it goes. Continue reading →
A Conversation about God, His Creation and Our Role in Creation