Being thankful for our "props"
Our Christian lives in America are very propped up by resources that people in many poor nations do not have. In the spirit of Ron Sider's exercise that helped us imagine what it's like to live in a poor nation, here I want to help us knock out the props of our Christian education to see how many Christians in foreign nations, and many of the poor around us live. I wrote the following while in Uganda working with a church planting mission team: Christian universities or preacher training schools no longer exist for you or your children. You no longer have access to Christian periodicals or books. Neither will you attend Christian conferences or workshops. The only book on your shelf is a tattered, dirty Bible with no cover and missing pages, so that it begins abruptly at Genesis 34 and ends well before the 'Come, Lord Jesus' of Revelation. Your only regular contact with Christians is your village church. And they have neither trained ministers, nor books, nor money to attend Christian schools or seminars.
You are now a rural African Christian who is hungry for Christian fellowship and teaching. You resemble a first century Christian more now. They didn't have complete Bibles, either, but they craved those letters and teaching from Paul and other apostles. The Holy Spirit was the driving force in planting both the first Christian churches and the Soga churches. At least three of these faith-supporting tools were used in the first century: epistles and gospel writings (publications), Paul's and Peter's teaching (schools), and the Jerusalem conference and the gathering at Cornelius' house (meetings). What props can help build your faith as a Ugandan Christian?
Props such as schools, publications, and meetings exist to help us stay anchored to Jesus, the foundation of our faith. I've wanted, however, to kick out this set of faith-props for the distance of this e-mail, so we might walk in a rural Ugandan's shoes. What props could help you and your fellow Ugandans grow in faith?
Here are three props which God has helped us use to brace up your faith on the foundation of Christ in Uganda:
- TRAINING: Because you desire to know Jesus, we plan three year's worth of preaching, church nurturing, and leadership training curriculum for you, and we'll come spittin' distance of your hut a couple times a month to teach you this curriculum.
- PUBLICATIONS: Because you thirst for reading and understanding, we continue to provide Lusoga Bibles, books, pamphlets, and a church newsletter which help brace your faith for the next millennium in Uganda.
- MEETINGS: Because you hunger for fellowship, we have planned the meetings, seminars, and leadership classes for both men and women.