31 May

The second wife

The hope was that after the ethno arts workshop, we would have a couple of days break and then start recording songs and stories onto mp3 players and sd cards and the like. Since the Canadian team unable to come, we took the decision to postpone the recording but still to run the arts workshop. Lots of people came to get involved, so it was very exciting.

While at the arts workshop, an interesting situation came up. One of the ladies present is the second wife of a man. As a result, she is allowed to attend church and make an offering, but she is unable to be part of the choir, or attend other events, or be part of church life in any other way. There was quite a discussion about her participation in the arts workshop. She has an excellent voice and loves to sing, and was very excited about the idea of writing songs. However, not everyone was happy with her participation. In fact, an elder drew the line at her being involved in the recording. Apparently, it would jeopardise the ability to distribute the recording because people won't listen to it if she is involved.

I was mystified, maybe even a bit pissed off about it. How dare they judge a lady for that! How dare they decide who is and isn't worthy of worshipping God! How dare they decide who can and cannot come to a church programme!

And what of the man? He has the two wives! What sort of church are they when they say 'no' to someone? God is love, and I believe Jesus wants to hear her songs – to glorify him.

The problems:

  1. Talk about pot and kettle!
  2. The Bible does have guidelines and standards, but who are they for? What would I do if a gay or a lesbian wanted to join my church band? I know it is not the same thing, but multiple wives is a cultural problem. It is banned by law in England ad so we don't have to deal with it. The UK is about to allow same sex marriage. How are we going to deal with that?

We're struggling to differentiate between culture, theology, law, preference and interpretation of all the above!

What would you do?

  • Allow attendance but not recording?
  • Say no to it all?
  • Allow participation in everything?

It is very easy to judge through our own cultural filters – different isn't wrong simply because it is different, but it might be wrong when measured up against the Bible.

Time to read up on the apologetics of multiple wives.

27 Nov

Living water

I’m in abuja helping out with the Hillcrest choir tour (We live opposite the choir leader Mrs Rasche – besides it is my youth work fix for a while!) The kids just did a great job singing glory to God.

The pastor preached in church this morning about the women at the well, under the title “the man I met”.

I was struck by these verses.
John 4:10-11
10 Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?

the well is very deep – metaphorically she is correct abut the well of our Lord and saviour, but I have learnt far more about wells since living in Nigeria. This well where the woman was sat is famous because ti never ran out, it never ran our because it was so deep that even if the water tael dropped, you could still get water. But deep wells come at a price. They are hard to dig. The cost a lot to create. They require more effort to get the the out – there was not pump at this well! She was joking Jesus because she knew all these things (as did Jesus right!). and at that point where she thought she had the upper hand, Jesus made his move and challenged her in a way that no one else could. I understand more now about how central to life wells are. I have witnessed them as that central meeting point. We have had our share of water supply problems – who eve drinks this water will thirst again – SOOO true. We are in dry season, and there is talk that our well will dry up because there wasn’t enough rain this year.

God’s living water will never run out. Even though I am a missionary in Nigeria, I do wonder how well am I doing at trusting God to supply all our needs. Some may look at us in wonder the fact we left up the Uk, Ali left her job, moved away from everything we knew, but still I wonder – do I trust God for that living water every day? Does the well run dry in my life, because I am trying to get from the wrong well?

The choice the woman feed wasn’t about water or no water. Her well had never run dry in the history of the well. The choice was really between temporary and eternal.

The person offering you something can indicate the quality of the offer. When Jesus makes us an offer it is a guarantee based on who he is. The Supply is continuous – unlike our power, and sometimes our water! His promise, his power to supply is unending, unchangeable, unbreakable, untappable, incorruptible and perfect for our needs.

03 Oct

Men's Bible?

I love Nick … i don’t always agree with everything he says, but this post, i am pretty much there!!!

ESV Study Bible – No Girls Allowed

Introducing the ESV Study Bible.

2,752 pages, 2 million words, 20,000 notes, 80,000 cross-references, 200+ full-color maps, 40 all-new illustrations, over 50 articles, more than 200 charts.

And no women.

read more    —    http://www.nickpage.co.uk/?p=225

09 Sep

Future of church?

I was sent thing video, very amusing at first, but actually a very good serious well produced video. This is why we need more youth workers!

06 Sep

Proud Daddy

Well a new term started, Ali back to school and slightly more scary is Dan starting school. There he is in his uniform, happens to be the very same uniform I wore when I started at that school 23 years ago!

I am also very proud of his grasp of complex theology. I know he is only 4, as far as we can tell he hasn’t understood enough about life sin and Jesus to make a commitment to him yet BUT, as i was putting him to bed tonight something quite profound happened. Every night we share things that have made us happy and sad and then we pray about them. Today’s sad thing was all the rain which meant we couldn’t play outside. So I prayer for some sunshine tomorrow. As soon as we stopped praying, he looked at me and said

“God made the rain and the sun, he can do anything”

As if that wasn’t enough, he then went on to explain that there are three bits but 1 God.

“A mummy and daddy and the holy spirit. “

I said ‘close!’,
Dan said

“oh yeah, sorry, Father, Jesus and the holy spirit. but they all make God.”

Okay so some of you reading would point out there are fine details of 1+1+1=1 but he is 4. I haven’t ever explained it to him! Maybe it was vegetales?

07 Jun

Dependency

What is dependency? I had to think about this. All the forms I fill in, they ask for dependents I have to mention my presently 3 year old son. He is dependent on us to supply all his needs. (all bar the need to cause trouble!). As a husband, inter-dependent with my wife.

David Ker wrote a provocative piece ..

Imagine for a minute some beautiful thing that you’d like to do to help the poor suffering people in Africa. Maybe you want to dig wells or hand out Bibles. Maybe you’d like to help protect small children or stop deforestation. Great stuff. Huge need. It’ll never work. In fact, in the process of solving these problems, I’ve seen again and again pie-in-the-sky optimists and goody two-shoes like myself crushed by the Aid Monster. The Aid Monster is this enormous demonic being that waits with its slavering mouth and grasping tentacles to divert aid from the needy and fatten its own belly.

The problem is we’re such easy prey. Idealists and change-the-world kinds of people are always blinded by their own self-righteousness to the human depravity that waits to divert their good intentions for personal gain.

Read More…

I am off to Togo in a couple weeks with a team of WYnet young people to visit a rather under-fund translation project that we’ve been involved in for the last 11 years. Three translators 1 office, a few churches, a guardian, a few computers, a server, electricity bills and soon The project set up is quite complex, or so I thought a partnership between a committee made up from a bunch of local churches, and the Bible Society Togo. Our involvement is to help with the committee’s contributions to the costs. I foresee three problems.

1) There obviously isn’t enough money
2) The translators wages are the 1st thing to be compromised.
3) The obvious answer is very root of the questions.

The easy solution is to throw money at it, but i am hesitant. I don’t want to continue the dependency. When we were they 2 years ago, we did some travelling around to encourage some of the churches and youth in the language area to get involved in praying and fundraising. They did for a while, but then not seeing the progress made, no more bible yet 🙁 Their interest has wained. There is talk of an income generation project, but a few people I have spoken too have said don’t bother, they generally turn out to be unsustainable.

So what do we do? Knowing that greater buy in from the local churches will result in more ownership, and eventually better use of the translated word. However, the churches don’t even have enough money to fix their own windows, how are they going to give more money to bible translation project?

I would LOVE a simple and quick answer, but i suspect there isn’t one. Anyone else had to tackle this kinda thing?

04 Mar

High on Mount Sinai?

http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSN0444950920080304?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews

I could NOT believe it when I read this. Apparently the Israelites were on drugs whilst Moses was up getting the 10 commandments.

Why do we find it soo hard to believe what the bible says is historical truth? why does the world spend so much time trying to disprove it the Bible? Why don’t people try to disprove the Koran? My only conclusion so far, is that cos we believe the Bible is the only truth (please excuse me sounds like a fundamentalist) The devil don’t like it, i mean us understanding the Bible, because when we engage with the Bible instead of simply reading it, it is a life changing experience every time. People describe the Bible as a living book, sounds a bit weird, but that is because each time you read it, God can reveal something new to you, even if it is a passage you have read 100 times before, he can still reveal something new! WOW. Pretty sure Harry Potter can’t do that. LOL

I guess that is why i love being part of a MASSIVE global team getting God’s work to people who don’t have it in a language they can understand!

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