I think I like Pastors

The past two days, I've been crashing some networking meals that our state Baptist convention has organized for Chicagoland pastors.  Lunch yesterday mostly with Korean pastors.  Dinner last night with a bunch of (mostly) Hispanic pastors.  Today was lunch with about a dozen African American pastors.

As I drove home today, it just occurred to me that I really enjoyed the gatherings.  There was something kind of sweet about the time together.  You know, I've actually been in ministry for 16 years now.  That's not much compared to some, but neither is it anything to sneeze at.  And really, I only bring that up to say that I've been around a lot of pastors and I know that a lot of them are real jerks.  And, I can say that because I know that I am sometimes a real jerk.  No kidding, sometimes I'm very difficult to be around.

But, well, I am just saying ... I've enjoyed being with these Chicagoland leaders during the past couple days. I like the old guys who have put in decades of service and who look confused when you talk about "retirement plans".  I like the young guys who feel pretty sure that God can do anything and probably will through their new ministries.

One guy today mentioned that he had just turned 40 and had two sets of twins.  Another had to leave before the meal so he could be at the hospital when one of his church members was taken off life support.  Another said he retired at the age of 80 but began pastoring again at 83 because a church essentially begged him to take the pulpit.

These are kind of remarkable people.  I'm not talking about the crooks with the mansions and the bling.  That's not most of them.  And, I don't know where I'm going with this.  Just rambling, reflecting . . .


Google + Comments on My Blog

Friends, just a notice that I have disabled Google+ comments on my blog.  I have given Google a summer to get the system figured out, but they haven't  yet.  I do not get notifications whenever a comment is left via that system, so I'm unable to join in the conversations.  Of course, I alerted Google to my problem, and received no reply.

Anyway, if you have commented on the blog during the past few months, your comments have been automatically removed.  That makes me sad, but it was the only way.  Feel free to go back in and add those comments back, or just stay tuned for new content.




Bridging the Divide between Hindus and Christians

By Guest Special Guest Blogger -- Lachi Adhikari

It is my pleasure to introduce you to a young leader who is developing into a great thinker even as she learns to write in English.  Originally from Bhutan, Lachi spent most of her life living in a refugee camp in Nepal before migrating to the United States in 2009.  She is a devotee of Lord Sri Jesus who lives within the Hindu cultural traditions that she has grown up with and loves.  Also, she is my sister. -- Cody

One time I went to a Nepali church.  I saw a child recite a passage of scripture in front of a large crowd.  She was speaking God’s words, but sometimes she became confused and forgot. Her mom said that this happened because Satan was disturbing her.  When I heard this, I was shocked.  As someone who comes from a Hindu background, I know that most Hindu people think that Christian people often blame Satan for everything.  We Hindus don’t understand this this kind of thinking.  This is an example of the kind of misunderstanding that happens between Hindus and Christians.  Christians who want to share the Gospel* with Hindus must realize that there is much conflict and confusion between these groups.

Hindu people and Christian people have very different cultures.  For example, Hindus and Christians observe different festivals. Hindus celebrate Dashain and Tihar but Christians celebrate Christmas.  They also have different customs.  For example, Christian brides wear white dresses but Hindus always wear red.  Hindus believe you should burn dead bodies while Christians want to bury them in the ground.  Additionally, Hindus criticize Christians for eating pork and beef and Christians criticize Hindus for eating fried goat blood.  Christian people feel that Hindu people dress immodestly by often wearing American-style clothes, gold jewelry, henna tattoos, and more.  Those who want to share Christ with Hindus should avoid criticizing Hindu culture because of its differences and instead watch, learn and even join in as you gain understanding.

Hindus believe that Christians are low caste people.  That means that Christians are considered ethnically inferior.  High caste people will not eat food prepared by people from low castes.  They also believe it is wrong to intermarry.  When a Hindu becomes a Christian, they are often automatically thought to be low caste.  Even if they were born in a high caste, they will lose their caste.  Followers of Jesus should not react to this with anger or hatred.  Instead they should try to respect and love their Hindu neighbors.

Hindus do not like the way Christians communicate the gospel.  This begins with their form of greeting.  Nepali Christians greet each other by saying “Jaya Masih” (victory to the Messiah), but Hindus don’t understand this greeting and don’t use it.  Most Nepalis greet by saying “Namaste” (I honor you).  Furthermore, Hindus often feel that Christians speak in a proud and boastful way when they talk about Jesus.  Christian pastors are sometimes criticized for preaching loudly and shouting.  Also, Hindus feel that Christians speak rudely about Hindus and Hindu customs by calling them “Satan” or “satanic”.  Hindus don’t like to listen to this kind of speech.  When talking about Jesus or the Gospel, Christians should speak humbly and focus on clear and simple stories about Jesus or their own experiences with God.  They should not call Hindus “Satan” or speak rudely about Hindu practices.

Hindus are actually very interested in Jesus and the Gospel message.  However, their attitudes towards Christians often prevent them from listening.  If followers of Jesus will become good cultural learners, show love and respect to Hindus, and practice sharing the Gospel with humility then much of the misunderstanding and conflict will be resolved and they will find many Hindus who are willing to listen to what they have to say. 

[*The term "Gospel" is used here to refer to the central message of the life, death, resurrection, ascension, and second coming of Lord Sri Jesus and how people can obtain fullness of life and salvation through Him.]