It was late Thanksgiving Day when I got the word that a young missionary, John Chau, was killed earlier that week. John was attempting to make positive contact with a Stone Age indigenous tribe on North Sentinel Island in the jurisdiction of India. Reports from a local fisherman noted that the islanders had shot him with arrows in his final encounter with them. While there are many aspects to this story, the one that surprised me the most was the enormous negative coverage the media and critics are giving Chau.
The mild attacks simply focused on a fear of Chau spreading diseases foreign to the indigenous people while the cruder referred to John as a criminal adventurer, full of prejudice, and even lambasted him as xenophobic. One article even called him a villain and most attacked him as being arrogant and in dismay as to why he would feel a need to convert these people to his way of thinking about God. (more…)
I once had an English teacher begin the semester by proclaiming he never wanted to see the word, stuff, used in our writing. For him, the word, stuff, was too general and using it screamed of laziness. He wanted us to take the time and effort to think through exactly what we were writing about in very deliberate and specific language. Stuff is boring. It’s what accountants and dentists deal with.
But yet, isn’t that really what life is made up of? It’s those little details that build our days of which no one really pays attention to. The packing of lunches, mowing the grass, and kissing our families good-by before they head off for the day. Like quiet bricks in a building that no one pays attention to, they are so necessary for the completion of the project. All the attention is given to the corner stone but yet the building is made up of those boring pieces of stone which together keep the rain out and heat in. Isn’t that life? (more…)
Things are different. I’m at the stage in my life now where my two sons have grown and left the house but my younger two daughters are still with us. Because of that our Friday night family time usually finds us taking in movies of the Sabrina type genre rather than the Expendables. I’m dealing with it actually quite well.
A while back my oldest daughter ordered a movie called The Help through Netflix and while I wasn’t excited about the show itself, I wanted to be with my girls. So Hinton Tacos and a girly show is what I prepared for. The Help is a great show which is based off of a 2009 novel by the same name. The drama chronicles the stories of African American maids in Jackson Mississippi as recorded by a young white woman during the civil rights movement of the early 1960s. Two or three times during the cinematic narrative a motherly black maid lovingly grabs the attention of a young white girl she is responsible for and tells her that; “You is smart, you is kind, you is important.” (more…)
I’ve never really been a fan of religious verbiage. I especially hate it when people call me Pastor Steve. God doesn’t call me that. But the problem with the word pastor, in the English language, is that it means just about everything. Thus it sometimes doesn’t really mean anything. Anything specific that is. The problem with me is that I tried to do and to be everything associated with the word and it just about killed me. But maybe, in truth, the real problem belongs to all of us who call on the name of Christ. (more…)
Sometimes Boris would drive me nuts. I mean really drive me nuts. Ok, sometimes I suppose he just ticked me off if we’re being honest here. I remember well the afternoons that Boris would come into our office at the college we rented from in Moscow, Russia. We’d play chess and discuss everything from politics, to Christianity, to philosophy. I liked playing chess with Boris because he was just about the only Russian over the age of 12 that I could actually beat. The reason Boris pushed me to the edge sometimes was because he clearly had little interest in discussion for discovery, but rather just for the sake of being argumentative. Boris longed for the Communist to retake the government in the national elections of 96. Boris quoted Paul McCartney with as much reverence as the apostle Paul. Boris referred to both Vladimir Lenin and John Lennon with equal admiration while joking about Jesus. Boris would deny the credibility of the Bible while all the time never acknowledging the proofs I’d give for its inerrancy. Boris just liked to argue and I suppose that’s probably normal for a young man in his late teens and early 20s. I’m sure I’ve got my own history of annoying folks with my arguments as well. So if you’re out there Boris, please know that I really do love you and miss you.
One of the criticisms of Christianity that Boris would level at me periodically was the supposition that Christianity was simply not practical. “It didn’t do much,” he’d say. Maybe he was contrasting me to the Bolsheviks of old or something. But for whatever reason he had that idea, I tried to illustrate to him that Christianity is anything but impractical. (more…)
This past summer I was talking with one of my older friends from my hometown. In our conversation I discovered that she knew my 9th grade English teacher, Dan Johnson. My friend, Emadene, had taught school with Mr. Johnson’s wife and had nothing but good to say about the man. Likewise, when I think back to the year that I was in his class I have plenty of encouraging memories of my teacher. That year was truly an illustration of God moving in ways we don’t understand? Mr. Johnson was indeed a providential piece of the total equation for the man I am today. (more…)