For the first time in several years, I didn’t have a blog post queued and ready to post this morning.
I could list the excuses (quite valid)—I went camping all weekend. I came home sick. The decongestants make my brain fuzzy. I stayed in bed and watched The Hobbit with Pete instead of getting up and traipsing downstairs to write. But in the end, it all comes down to this: writing a post was not my top priority, and it didn’t get done.
I think we’ll all live. And just to entertain you, I’m reposting this extremely pertinent little story I wrote back in 2010. See you Friday.
I’ve been commenting on an article by Shane Bennett that appeared several years ago in Missions Catalyst.
In his two-part post on Top Ten Myths about Missions , Bennett explained:
I want to understand how the average Lou and Sue, sitting in the pew, think about missions stuff. … From what I’ve seen there are some serious misconceptions floating around in our churches, at least some of our churches. We could call these collective assumptions, beliefs that simply don’t reflect reality, “myths.”
If you want to read all ten myths now, check out the article online. You can see my other articles on this topic by choosing God:World under “Categories” on the right-hand column of my blog page.
Last week I asked if the church is doing a good job of helping the poor and spreading the gospel.
In my own experience, many churches are at least trying to help the needy and unchurched in their own cities. (Their effectiveness at this is a subject for another day.) But what about the poor and unreached in more remote areas?
It is easier—and perhaps more appropriate—to send money in this case. (I’ll talk more about why I believe that’s true next month.)
As believers, we give to our local churches. A certain percentage of the offering is then designated for “benevolence” or “missions.” (I’ve seen “missions” mean anything from packaging dried soup mix, to helping the Hispanic church down the street, to “adopting” an unreached people group.) We trust the church leaders to spend our money wisely and responsibly.
Sitting in our Global Sunday School class yesterday, I listened while the speaker pleaded for everyone’s involvement in caring for orphans. He cited numerous statistics portraying the church as insensitive and uncaring when dealing with marginalized people groups. Then he read James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”
Meanwhile, I’m reading yet another book, written by a ministry leader from Asia, that scolds the American church for our misplaced priorities. Here are a few quotes to give you the idea:
I still cringe when I remember the year my parents decided to mess with family tradition. We’d always had a real Christmas tree, illuminated with those large, old-fashioned lights (now considered the height of retro-fashion!) and hung with lead-filled crinkled “icicles” (long banned by the EPA). But the year I turned ten, my mother decided it was time to update our decorations.
She and my dad went to our local Christmas tree lot, picked out a tall misshapen tree, and had it flocked. Spray-on flocking was quite the rage in the mid-60’s. (At least they stuck with white “snow” rather than opting for the very trendy blue, lavender or pink.) Hauled home in our pick-up, the tree went into our high-ceilinged living room. There it was spotlighted with a floodlight. Finally, gold balls were nestled in the fluffy white branches—tiny ornaments at the very top, giant shiny spheres on the sturdy branches at the base. I’m sure the tree was beautiful, with its avant-garde shape and mono-thematic decorations. I, for one, hated it.