Muslims, Insider Movements and the Issue of Identity

Photo By Stuck in Customs
I enjoy very much following the Circumpolar blog and the much needed balance they bring to the too often over-heated and ill-informed debate regarding contextualization in mission among Muslims. I've spoken before about the "insider v. outsider" controversy and won't get into it all here (e.g. my response to John Piper).  I do, however, wish to direct you to a recent post by Warrick Farrah over at Circumpolar that is well-worth a read.

Farrah is reflecting on an article by Tim Green entitled "Identity Issues for Ex-Muslim Christians, with Particular Reference to Marriage".  Farrah focuses his reflections on Green's challenging of the so called "C-scale", which I have also challenged here.  Green raises issues particular to the Muslim context that are very helpful and form yet another compelling reason why we should abandon the "C-scale" paradigm in our discussions about contextualization in mission.

Read Farah's post at Circumpolar - "We need to change the model, change the debate, and make room for “identity transition” in MBB conversion experiences." 

Additionally, Circumpolar recommends a number of links for Muslims that I'd encourage you to take a look at. 


How Missionary is Your Church? (An evaluation)

By © Salim Photography/
The following comes from David Bosch's Transforming Mission.  Usually, I post extended quotations on my Scatterings blog, but felt this was worth posting here.  I found the list personally challenging as I reflected on my career as a pastor and church planter.  I encourage you to do a bit of self-examination of you are leader in a local church.  Forget about your seating capacity and offering plates for a moment.  How does your church measure up to Bosch's keys below:

Manifestations of the Missionary Dimension of a Local Church

1. True worship

2. Hospitality and welcome to outsiders

3. Pastor doesn't monopolize ministry, treating members as mere objects of pastoral care

4. Members equipped for their calling in society

5. Structurally pliable and innovative

6. Doesn't defend the privileges of a select group

7. Intentional and direct involvement in society

8. Moves beyond the "walls of the church" to engage in mission in areas of evangelism and work for justice and peace

So, how about it? How "missionary" is your church really?  Also, I'd be interested to hear from you if you have points to add.  What would you add (or challenge) to Bosch's list?


Give me your tired, your poor ... send these!

By Philocrites
As the power hungry grab for votes in this election year 2012, I feel so often that we in the United States have drifted from our calling as a nation.  I find myself increasingly uncertain if either party would embrace the words of Lady Liberty:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

It seems to me that no candidate is able to see the immigrant as anything more than a potential voting bloc.  As a nation, we've lost the ability to see those coming to our shores as the strength of a nation and the hope for tomorrow.

And I wonder if the Church in the United States isn't just as guilty.  During the past week, I have seen gifts of the Holy Spirit manifest in Bhutanese-Nepalis as we made visits house to house.  I have seen the power of God bringing deliverance to bound people during the all-night Ghanaian prayer service.  I have heard the testimony of an Indian leader who is in the midst of 40 days of fasting and prayer.  I have experienced the presence of the Lord again and again in fellowship with a precious Ugandan sister here for a visit.  And, as I reflect, I am fully convinced that God's movement of peoples from everywhere to the USA represents the single greatest hope for revival and renewal and mission that my nation now sees.  

May the Lord unveil our eyes to see a fuller picture of what He is doing!

I have linked below to a NY Times article which tells the story of a refugee summer academy that is focused preparing youth for school in the United States.  This academy seems to "get" the fact that such students are more than mere object of charity.  They are hope and they are the future.

Young Immigrants Helped by Refugee Youth Summer Academy - "This year, more than 100 students enrolled in the six-week program, which offered an academic curriculum supplemented by creative-arts classes, field trips and other activities. They hailed from at least 13 countries, including Nepal, Burkina Faso, Iran, Iraq and Cameroon. Some had been in the country for a couple of years; others, like the Diallos, had just arrived. They spoke at least 17 native languages. Some could speak and read English fluently; others could not write their own name in any language. Some had attended school in their home countries; others had never been in a classroom."