In the last post, I suggested that “reproducibility” can subtly disguise a common idol—time. The modern missionary zeal for reproducible methods may be more about speed than reproducing faithful Christ followers Perhaps there are other more subtle reasons why people treat reproducibility as the measuring stick for missionary methods. Frankly, it may simply be because the many missionaries themselves don’t understand so much of the Bible; they themselves need simple formulaic methods or else it would be over their heads…. Read more

Contemporary missions literature places a high value on reproducibility.The acceptability of a methodology is judged in large part by how reproducible it is. Even if a method is biblical, contemporary missionaries are increasing demanding that it be easily reproduced by local believers. The idea is that a new or uneducated believer could leave our training and reproduce what they were taught to others. Among recent books, Steve Smith’s T4T (WIGTake, 2011) may be the most forceful in emphasizing this point…. Read more

I teach Romans in Chinese. It’s painful sometimes. Don’t misunderstand me. I love Romans. Much of my PhD research focused on this book. Why then can it be hard to teach? The most prominent translation in China, the HeHeBen (和合本), literally deletes an overwhelmingly large number of the logical words Paul put in the original text. People are sensitive to interpretations and translations that add to the original text; however, I have heard little to no complaints by people about… Read more

David Brook’s latest NY Times editorial, called The Learning Virtues, explores how Asians and Westerners view education differently. Here is an excerpt— The simplest way to summarize her [the researcher’s] findings is that Westerners tend to define learning cognitively while Asians tend to define it morally. Westerners tend to see learning as something people do in order to understand and master the external world. Asians tend to see learning as an arduous process they undertake in order to cultivate virtues… Read more

Here is funny little something comparing how Chinese kids grow up versus how an Western, American child. You don’t have to know Chinese to get the contrast. The Chinese children are on the left. The Western kid is on the right. The ages are bolded in the middle of the graph. Oh, the blogs that could be written on this comic alone. Read more

Legalism is an honor shame problem. Why? Consider what Brene Brown says in her incisive article “Want to Be Happy? Stop Trying to be Perfect.” Continue reading Read more

The future of the global church is Open from Distant Shores Media on Vimeo. What do you think about this? Read more

Theological debates are often fueled by a lack of clarity about both the terms we use and the question being answered. Consider the doctrines related to salvation. Much of evangelical theology focuses on mechanism (how salvation works) rather than teleology (why God saves). One group of people speaks about the parts that make the whole work. For example, forgiveness is an essential component to salvation. Another camps focuses on God’s end goals––for example, we could mention Gods glory and new… Read more

I get asked about book recommendations a lot. I hesitate to give out “recommendations” because I always want to qualify my suggestion. Instead, I’ll just offer some thoughts on some of my recent reads in case someone is looking for something on these topics–– Tim Gombis’ The Drama of Ephesians: Participating in the Triumph of God This is a short but well written narrative reading of Ephesians from an expert on the book. It’s not a commentary but in many… Read more

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