Tag Archives: Australians

Australia: Land Down Under Water

All the flooding in Australia, Brazil and elsewhere has set me to pondering. We humans are an odd lot.  Even though we know better, we build our houses and cities on the slopes of volcanoes, in floodplains, below sea level, on top of fault lines and in the paths of bushfires, tornadoes and hurricanes. Every year tragedy strikes. Volcanoes erupt, rivers flood, fault lines shift, bushfires, forest fires, tornadoes and hurricanes leave a path of destruction. When it is over, we rebuild in the same dangerous places. We usually do this out of necessity…most of us can’t afford to live where we choose. We are fly-trapped by sticky financial necessity.

For example, If your job requires you to live in Los Angeles, San Francisco or some other shaky place, do you abandon your livelihood to seek terra more firma?

If the only place to grow your crops is on the slopes or in the vulnerable vicinity of Mt. Blowapart, do you give up farming to starve on safer ground?

If the only place to build a shelter is to squat on a dangerous piece of ground or be homeless, what would you do?

On the one hand, I feel little pity for the folks with funds to live where they want but build holiday homes on the beach and then get upset because a storm spoils their fun. And then they have the cheek to expect us to help them rebuild. I question the sanity of those who have the resources to reside above sea-level but choose to live below it. Those who carelessly and perilously build in the forest because they love trees must understand that they have surrounded themselves with flammable materials.

On the other hand, there are the disastrous floods in the states of Queensland and Victoria in Australia. I have been in some of these stricken areas in the last year. No one could have foreseen the unceasing deluge that has killed, destroyed and changed lives forever. The sheer size of the flooded areas boggles the mind.  But I know something of the Australian psyche. They may have to live in the same place but Australians are tough folks. They will mourn their dead and then get to work.  After reminding each other, “She’ll be right, mate!” they will sluice out the mud, rebuild and reclaim what they can. God bless them every one!

1 Comment

Filed under Australia, Current Events, Natural Disaster, South Pacific

The Jesus Method

jesus-carrying-manDoing it like Jesus

The church is growing. Souls are being saved, lives are being changed and God is being glorified. The facts speak for themselves. In poverty-stricken, war-torn third world nations, the gospel is being proclaimed and souls are being saved. Praise the Lord! Too bad it isn’t happening in Europe, the United States, Australia and other “first world” nations.

In these areas, it is not so easy to reach people. It requires something different than what we’ve been doing. “Missional” is the new catch-phrase. We are talking about the necessity of “becoming missional” in order to reach modern, well-off, comfortable Americans, Europeans and Australians. I just finished reading a series of articles on being “missional.” One writer proposed the following:

The thesis I would like to propose is that at its most basic level, a missional hermeneutic is concerned primarily with the articulation of questions–questions that we ask of the text–and more importantly, questions that the text may ask of us. A missional hermeneutic should not be characterized primarily by methodology per se–that is, as something akin to, albeit an improvement on–traditional form-, redaction-, or narrative-critical approaches to the Bible. Rather, in my estimation, a viable missional approach to Scripture will involve asking missional questions–fundamentally, questions about purpose–God’s and ours. [1]

Since I understand some “academese,” allow me to interpret. He says, “We Christians should ask ourselves the question, “What does God say we should do?” Then, without getting fouled-up in methods, we should just do what God says.” Simple enough?

I may be guilty of over-simplification but it seems to me that, as the people of God, we would fulfill our mission if we simply learn what Jesus did and do likewise.

The point needs to be made: this is not anything close to complicated or academic. It doesn’t take a theologian trained in missiology to understand what Jesus meant when he said, “Go, preach, make disciples, baptize them and teach them.” Here’s the point: we’re not failing to fulfill the Great Commission because we don’t understand it…we’re failing because we don’t want to do it. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. It’s expensive. Can’t we just all “go to church” and get along?

The answer is no. We can’t. Consider all the stuff we’re doing now: hiring preachers (and staff for every imaginable purpose), constructing church buildings, university buildings, schools, hospitals, gymnasiums (a gym by any other name still smells the same), “attending services” (the list goes on). While these may be beneficial on some level, they’re really distractions from the main job Jesus gave us to do. We tend to forget that Jesus and His apostles did none of these things.

Can a hospital, school or gymnasium be used for evangelism? Certainly. But do we really use them for evangelism? I personally know of two instances where the idea of building an expensive, well-appointed gymnasium was sold to the congregation as a means of outreach. As far as I am aware, in neither case has even one conversion resulted from their construction. Who are we kidding?

If we build a gymnasium that has so many rules and regulations that you need a lawyer to schedule its use six months in advance, is that an outreach?

If we build a school that no one can attend unless their parents are wealthy or they get a scholarship or incur life-long debt, is that evangelism?

If we build a hospital that excludes or expels those without adequate insurance or an auto-maker executive’s salary, is that an evangelistic tool?

If we build a building that lost, broken and marginal people feel uncomfortable to enter, is that going to reach the thousands living around it?

So, how’s all that working for us? Let’s take a moment to get honest. Let’s admit that we are doing a lousy job of fulfilling the great commission because we are too busy not fulfilling it.

The Jesus Method means doing what Jesus did. It means doing things as Jesus did them.

Next time: What Is the Jesus Method?

[1] “’Located’ Questions for a Missional Hermeneutic” Accessed November 19, 2008 at http://gocn.org/resources/articles/located-questions-missional-hermeneutic, on the Gospel and Our Culture website.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christlikeness, church, discipleship, Hypocrisy, Jesus Christ, Kingdom Growth, Missions/Evangelism, Preaching/Teaching, Religion, Salvation