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3/20/2011

REDEFINING MISSION WORK

There is often a disconnect between what groups mean with they use the terms 'missions', 'mission work', and 'missionary.'


For some, the activity is narrowly defined by an evangelistic outreach where emphasis on preaching, crisis salvation, and witnessing on streets, in bars, and in other rough areas.  Still others view it as going into a socially, economically, or culturally different environment to bring them salvation, to bring them Biblical teaching and to be involved in the elevation of the society through the gospel.


For some, the activity is narrowly defined as the political, social, and cultural outreach where emphasis is on improving the quality of life, improving medical standards, and expanding the ability of a people to be self-sustaining.  Still others view it as revolutionary assistance to change, by force, the negative processes of a political or economic system.

Who is right?  The truly be reflective of the Biblical concept of mission work requires there be more depth to how we envision mission work.  

Centuries of the Western Church sending missionaries to 'save the heathen' also tended to reflect a paternalistic attitude.  The unspoken message was also sometimes racist.  How, after all, could the pagan ever be supervisors of the work in their countries?  This messiah-like and paternalistic attitude tended to influence all mission work from the 1700's and in some groups continues to this day.

Take responses to catastrophe in recent times.  We go to Central or South American, we go to Haiti and preach but do we roll up our sleeves and help in the rebuilding?  Do we take medical groups along to provide needed medical assistance as we witness of God's love through actions and words?  Do we go to feed, clothe, and care for the unloved and share the Gospel in our actions and not just our words?

What of our everyday opportunities just down the street?  The Infant Crisis Center, the Homeless Shelter, the Literacy Project, the Jobs Program, the Meals on Wheels, the Homebound Visitor Program, the Big Brother or Big Sister and so much more.  Are we being 'light' in the darkness of our own local backyards?

It is always easy to sweep in someplace with a superhero cape flapping the breeze behind you, looking important, feeling sanctimonious, and yet do nothing purposeful or meaningful to really be the hands and heart of Christ to those in need.

Sometimes it is good to reflect and in reflection redefine what we mean by 'mission work.'  Mission work is merely discipleship beyond our comfort zone, it is sharing the gospel and then empowering individuals to assume their roles as evangelists into their world. To do more is to create co-dependent ministry rather than wide spread redemption.


3/18/2011

SMALL THINGS MAKE A DIFFERENCE

There is a story in the book of Judges about a land dispute between two tribes, Ephraim and Gillead, who both needed access to a particular river crossing. As the conflict grew, the litmus test they devised was based on a form of credentialing to to allow access.

You see, the next to the last letter of the Hebrew language is pronounced differently depending on the placement of one small dot (Shin or Sin). The Gilieadites hit upon the idea of having persons who wished to use the ford pronounce the Hebrew word "Shibboleth". The Ephraimites would, by comparison, use the other pronunciations of "Siboleth." It was a simple test - answer correctly you crossed the river and answer incorrectly, by this test, and you died.

How ironic that the great letter, so to speak, they held in common was eclipsed by a small dot.
Now, how does this speak to us today?

Most of Christianity shares one great letter - a belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, a loving God, and redemption and atonement for sins - yet often we allow the small, tiny dot to divide rather than unite us.

Most of America shares one great letter - a love of country, state, community, family, and friends - yet often we allow the small, tiny dot to divide rather than unite us.
More importantly - any church - should also share the "big letter" and not be devisive and argue over the "little dot." When we argue over the minor, unimportant things we shame Christ and we are a false witness to the community. When we can't get along because we can't get our way - We are totally unChristian. we are "sinning". Such action requires - no demands - that we repent and we ask forgiveness of those we have wronged.

Could we- personally, corporately, communally - do what those tribal brothers could not do? Can we celebrate today a fresh determination to not allow the tiny dot to eclipse the great shared letter?

CHURCH FIGHTING

While researching another topic, I happened on this intriging little website. The blog entry of the title caught my eye because it seems lately that churches from all over are all complaining of the same thing: in-fighting, bad feelings, hurt feelings, power plays, and thinking of self. Pastors AND church people are complaining of church bullies and a lack of unity in their congregations. Hmmmm.

Sometimes we tend to want to look at things from a management viewpoint ("if they ran things right around here..."), a leadership issue ("if I was in charge..."), a peace perspective ("..if we can just all get along..."), or the old standby of tradition ("if we did things the way they used to..."), or a fear of change ("they are ruining things!).
In truth, all of these are symptoms of a problem.....but not one solved by meetings, committees, or by study groups. The problems are SPIRITUAL ones...or in truth a lack of God's Spirit in the midst of the congregational life.....some, like demonically incited attitudes of control, ego, unforgiveness, disunity, even problems in accepting that things change over time in music, worship and chruch formats....that can only be solved through "prayer and fasting"....

Let the CHURCH actually be the CHURCH OF GOD and GOODNESS and not EVIL.
"Be angry - but sin not. Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. ..Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up...And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God....put away all bittnerness...wrath...anger...and wrangling...and slander, together with malice...and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as GOD IN CHRIST HAS FORGIVEN YOU."-- Eph 4: 25-32.

3/16/2011

COUNT IT ALL JOY

A family had a small boy in kindergarten and chose to keep him ignorant of all the negatives of society, despite the fact his father would be shipping off for Iraq.   They did not do their child any favors because there are lessons we have to learn, things we have to come to accept, and things we have to face head on.  What happens when  this child runs straight into harsh reality?  When a father is wounded or killed?  When someone dies? When a marriage breaks up?  When things do not go as smoothly as mommy and daddy had led them to believe?   

They are all around us, Christians who believe that to be Christian is to live a life free of problems, free of issues, or tragedy.  When confronted by these realities of life the answer is to blame the individual: if you had more faith, if you had prayed more, if you had lived a better life...    The construct they have created denies them ability to accept that being a Christian might include suffering or sacrifice.

It is the sour which brings meaning to the sweet.  Without the one the other simply has no meaning.  Christian faith is not a pass to a life free of problems but assurance of companionship through the problems.  The three Hebrew youths made a decision to serve God in spite of the threat of a death in the fire.  They determined that they would do so and if God rescued them fine and i f not, they would be the most faithful men ever consumed in a fire.


3/14/2011

REVISITING THE EAGLE


Christians often like the imagery of the 'eagle' found in scripture.  The concept of the bird flying high above the earthly concerns, its innate nobility and pride in the cock of its head, wheeling among the lofty spires, is attractive. For some, it is reflective of a desire to find retreat, to rise above the problems, trials, and burdens of normal life.  Is this the image of the eagle?


The eagle is a bird of prey. A hunter.  They soar among the heights but they also dive down to snatch their meal.

"Eagles soar through skies of blue and gray.
They tip their wings and then quickly fly away.
They are freedom and grace -
and something hard to name.
Yet,the eagle is a hunter.
It soars to seek its prey;
Soaring through the skies all day.
Food, a meal, a dainty morsel; are only moments away."

3/10/2011

WOMEN WHO SHOOT THEMSELVES IN THE FOOT


It's March and that means the most under-recognized special emphasis month around, Women's History Month.

As a woman who grew up watching June Cleaver clean stoves wearing a sweater and pearls, and recognizing how far from reality this was, I am increasingly dismayed by what I see today passing as 'liberation' or even 'equality.'

I see women smirking in a superior manner over their idiot husbands in a style made famous in the sitcom 'Bewitched'. Only through the superior skills and intellect of the wife could the husband cope or survive. So, the clueless man has become the stock character in commercials or television. She has migrated to the office, the job, and everywhere else. The cartoon image of the superior woman dealing with cartoonish men. They are so vile men must sequester themselves in 'Man Caves" to escape.
Bang! One bullet down.

I see women wriggle their behinds and roll their hips as they gaze seductively into a camera all while doing erratic pelvic thrusts spouting lyrics rated 'R.' They have ceased to fight being a sex symbol and have embraced their symbolism making it almost caricature. They wear their body scultping, implants, and injections like badges of honor defining their worth. They spout nonsense about doing what they want.....but they are simply doing what someone has deemed important to market to a demographic to further support the stereotype that keeps women as sex objects.
Bang! One bullet down.

I see women adopting stereotypes of people consumed by shopping, hair styles, high heels, and 'attitude'! They shop, they do not think. They talk, they do not think. They are content to merely be and not do. We do all we can to support the ethos that says pretty is better than smart, vapid is better than deep, and flighty is better than strong. We accept a role of butterfly even when we are meant to be eagles and why? Acceptance? Conformity? Expectations? To play to the twisted hyper-masculinity of some men that need empty headed, sex symbols, and not real human women?
Bang! One more bullet down.

"Women's History Month" - the leaders, the warriors, the thinkers, the healers, the women who lead by having the courage to be themselves and to be all they could be. They made the world a better place. They cast off the shackles of limitations, of stereotypes, and dared to be who they were and do what needed to be done. They did not demean themselves into caricatures of superior condescending creatures, sexy ' bitches', or shopping addicts with empty heads. When THEY said they were liberated it meant something else entirely. Self-worth, achievement, courage, and significant action.

Get some bandages; let's stop allowing women to shoot themselves in the foot anymore.

Marilyn A. Hudson

3/09/2011

PERPETUA THROUGH A PENTECOSTAL LENS. M. HUDSON

YOUR DAUGHTERS WILL PROPHESY
Perpetua and Pentecostalism

On a March morning in about the year 202, a twenty-two year old woman walked onto the warm sands of the arena in Carthage, North Africa. There she felt a sword shoved between her ribs and she took the ‘wavering right hand of the youthful gladiator to her throat.” Swept up in the purge of Septimus Severus and the edict outlawing conversion to Judaism or Christianity, it has been the

In 1907 a revival spread from a small mission on Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California. From humble beginnings, the activities and spiritual dynamic of that place would make its mark on the world. This event would become in essence a commissioning center for what would become one of the twentieth century’s most controversial movements and launch Pentecostalism. To this event people came to observe and took back to their churches both reports and the experience of speaking in other tongues, the experience of prophecy, the experience of signs and wonders not enjoyed in such an all encompassing a manner since the early church.

In one of the services a woman from Pasadena who was already a Christian of faith stood in a Pentecostal meeting, “I do not ask for tongues but I want to love God with all my heart and soul and my neighbor as myself,” and it was reported she “immediately began to speak with tongues.”

These early Pentecostals were accused of being heretics, aligned with the devil, and other labels used during the Azusa Street revival and in events following to malign the participants. To be certain there were extremes and theologies developed that created many problems for the nascent revival movement. One such episode occurred in Oklahoma City in 1906 and it was clearly understood that the people marching naked through the streets and into a hotel lobby were both crazed and ‘holy rollers.” Similar events were reported with various levels of humor, chagrin, or distain in newspapers across the country.

“Enthusiasms” was one term used to define these exuberant manifestations of both spiritual contrition and joy. The early church and its ‘enthusiasms’ had been tamed, labeled primitive, and the church of the new 20th century was hoped to be a place of culture and refinement.

What those early Pentecostals experienced was similar to the experiences of a Christian in the second century. The spiritual life and martyrdom of Perpetua of Carthage
________________________
‘The Passion of the Holy Martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas.” The Anti-Nicene Fathers, translation of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. Volume 3, Latin Christianity. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1976, pg. 699f.
Jackson, Samuel Macauley., ed. The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Volume VIII. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1959, pg. 466.
Corum, Fred T., ed. Like as of Fire, a reprint of the old Azusa Street papers, Wilmington, Mass.: Fred Corum, 1981, pg. 20 (The Apostolic Faith (November 1906): 2).

Biography

Biography
Noel Brooks: A Life Shining and Burning, 1914-2006

Waiting...Renewing...Moving

Waiting...Renewing...Moving

Huldah's Gate Badge - Men and Women Before God

Huldah's Gate Badge - Men and Women Before God
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Contact Information

If you would like more information on implementing a Daughters of Huldah or a Sisters of Huldah group in your church or community, or in starting a RFA chapter please contact:

Marilyn A. Hudson
marilynahudsonATyahoo.com
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