In May 2018, my wife Rose and I travelled to the Netherlands for a week-long boat and bike. After completing the tour, we took the Saturday morning train to Dordrecht to visit my second cousins and the home of the 1618 Synod of Dort.
I “taught” (using the word loosely) Joy Jam at Jubilee Fellowship church recently to a roomful of third and fourth graders bumpily becoming fuller images of God, a.k.a, naughty boys. “Roomful” in this case is four, plus one imported first grader, for the longest 43 minutes of my life.
Since the 1980s Chris Hedges has written for The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, NPR and more from over 50 countries. After falling out with the Times in 2004, he has worked mainly for Truthdig, a gritty leftish, non-partisan, all-opportunity offender, writing gutsy books at one-a-year pace.
Since 2013, Gretta Vosper’s unfolding story has regularly appeared in Canada’s religious and secular media. As the atheist pastor of Toronto’s West Hill United Church, she has achieved what many consider paradoxical or simply contradictory.
BRITISH AUTHOR Robert Penn writes fascinating, unique explorations of common artifacts, which, coming from less adroit hands and minds, would be cliche.
“Patient Evangelism” (CC, Nov. 26, 2018) introduced two missionary families in a Muslim-majority West African nation. One worked in pioneering evangelism deep in the interior. In the more cosmopolitan capital, however, Christian witness is highly visible, with many churches and Christian schools part of the city’s fabric. There Antoine Kalebona* mentors pastors, school administrators and teachers. While I was visiting the Kalebonas, Antoine and I attended worship in the same building that is a classroom and office Monday through Friday.
The ten chapters and postscript “Open Letter to Christians Who Love Bonhoeffer but (Still) Support Trump” of Stephen R. Haynes’s Battle for Bonhoeffer are some of the densest I’ve ever read outside of graduate theses, but far more engaging.
In one West African Muslim nation that is open to Christian workers and missionaries, one sending agency is attempting to develop two distinct modes of working in that challenging religious climate. Eight hard hours by all-wheel drive vehicle from the capital city, the McIntyre family has been living in a modest house near the outskirts of a small village for over 15 years. (For the sake of security, all names used here are pseudonyms.) As the only Christians and Caucasians residing permanently in the region, they have spent their lives developing relationships among villagers and civil leaders in the town as well as in hundreds of other rural settlements scattered throughout the region. Because they are fluent in the regional language, they have established trusting friendships.
Early one morning in mid-March, two experienced North American ESL teachers and I stepped into a van in central Cairo for a three-hour drive to a city in Upper Egypt. Once past Cairo’s vast metropolitan area, traffic thinned. As we rode on the arrow-straight, six-lane divided highway, with endless desert on both sides, the women prepped me about their unusual work.
Perspective for reading Pope Francis’ With the Smell of the Sheep: The Pope Speaks to Priests, Bishops and Other Shepherds.
How should churches deal with political issues? That question has long sparked incandescent discussions among Christians. Many hold that God calls Christians to promote public justice. Yet we differ strongly on what those policies should be and which political parties, if any, Christians should support.
In Kenya, the Prosperity Gospel is a “heresy that attracts poor people,” Pastor Dr. Wang’ombe says, “but it doesn’t base its plan on any work ethic. Rather it tells people to pray and just wait for results. Worse, it exploits the poor by requiring them to ‘plant seeds,’ [which] really means, ‘give to enrich a few leaders.’ We need to give hope to oppressed people who need to see biblically sound values of God’s Kingdom in practice.”