saturday brought an (almost) full day at mcnw. we had two workshops in the morning at 11 and 12:30. becky and i both attended 'get on your boots' by kerri kenyon, a talk on spiritual warfare and preparing for meeting our trials by being rooted in scripture. it was a great lesson, and my biggest take-away was when kerri said that putting on the full armor of God was important, but you have to start with your boots because 'at least then you are standing', ready to start fighting. good stuff! the second workshop i attended was 'fundraising without fear' by ron frey. it was a good class and challenged some of my apprehensions in raising funds for missions. i have always felt like by asking for financial support was burdening others. i don't feel burdened when people ask me for money, so don't ask me why i think that about myself!!
the first session we went to was richard twiss, speaking on the subject of missio dei. richard is a native american man whose perspective on missions is really interesting to hear. growing up on a reservation he was exposed to a lot of missionaries who, in coming to 'share the good news' ended up causing a lot of pain in him and his people. they were told they had to abandon their traditions, learn english and assimilate to the 'american' way of life. this caused richard to grow up hating christianity and white people. he told us a story of how in the seventies he was part of the take over of the bureau of indian affairs office in washington dc and had plans to blow up the building. this is a man who had so much bitterness in his life stemming from missions gone wrong.
he then went on to talk about how missions can and should be done, and how it is most successful. the theology of missions that richard talked about was missio dei, which holds that God is the sender of missionaries and we are a participant in His spreading of His word. i think with this idea of what missions should look like, we end up asking ourselves what God would have us do, where He would want us to go and how He wants us to do it. our goal is no longer just to win souls but to share His love, be His physical hands and feet and to care for the poor, fatherless, widows and aliens. we need to realize that making people to conform to our way of thinking, acting, dressing is not missions. making the 'savage indian' into a WASP is not the goal of missions. we were all created unique with all people groups having diverse cultures. just because they are different from what we are used to does not mean that it is wrong. i'm not even doing justice to the message of this talk, so i will stop...i think you are all intelligent enough to understand where i am going : )
as i have stated in some of my previous posts, my values and ideas on certain areas of life have been challenged a lot over the last year or so and missions was one of them. hearing richard speak was really great because i was able to identify my thoughts with a name and see that i'm not just getting cynical :)