I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure. (Psalms 119:162 NLT)
*Photo courtesy Tom Born
Changing corporate culture is never easy. There are many theories about how to go about it including a popular theory articulated by Peter Drucker, “Company cultures are like country cultures. Never try to change one and work with what you’ve got.”
In relation to our company culture at Wycliffe, one that started long before our founding in 1942, and rooted deeply in The Greatest Generation that experienced WWII, I can see what Drucker might be referring to: change, if it’s possible at all, does not come easily to an organization the size and age of Wycliffe. It’s a process taking time, making huge demands on leadership and on every member of the staff. Continue reading
Too often I’m afraid I am, and it’s not winsome–but it sure is easy because if I use them I’m probably not wrong! Of course “Jesus is the Answer” but to what? And is it really that easy? It’s easy to say.
My sister posted a link to an article on her FB page strongly suggesting every Christian should read it–3 Phrases Christians Should Quit Relying On. Never heard of the blogger, and apparently it’s not a new post, but I’m now following him on Twitter. In one Tweet he mentions seeing a bumper sticker on a car, “I’m Pro-life.” He says, “Prove it by not texting while driving” (as if talking to the driver of the car who was obviously texting). Ouch.
I don’t want to get off-track with this post–I’m not talking about hypocrisy. I am quite sure if you look closely at my life you’ll find the inconsistencies. I am talking how I express what are probably very well-meaning things that get lost in the moment because I don’t know what to say, or I use catch phrases at the wrong time to express accurate theology but it has a negative impact.
Not sure why I decided to reflect on this today, Sunday morning, and it’s far too complex to solve in a blog post, but it hits home with me–apparently does for followers of this blogger, too–he refers to this post as having one viral. Too often I am a hostage to the Church culture I grew up in. I was ‘socialized’ in ways of saying things that have, in some circles, lost their meaning–even in the subculture I grew up in.
The clichés just don’t work for me anymore.
This TED Talk will challenge your view of development in Africa.
In the Andes mountains of Peru, in a town called Abancay, a 12-year-old boy has just received one of the greatest treasures that he will ever receive – the Scriptures in his mother tongue. My wife, Dallas, and I had the privilege, along with several friends, of traveling by bus from Cuzco up and over two mountain ranges and down into Abancay to attend the celebration of this boy’s Eastern Apurímec Quechua New Testament.
One of the friends with us was Johnnie Moore, Vice President for Communications at Liberty University. Johnnie was sitting in the back of the room during the long, exuberant celebration when he noticed a copy of the New Testament on the plastic chair in front of him. That was his first glimpse of the Book, and since the 12-year-old owner was quite engaged in the worship service, Johnnie decided to reach down and grab the Book and take a look at it.
Out of the corner of his eye, the young boy saw him reach for the New Testament. He turned around and gave Johnnie a stern look. Then he pointed his finger at Johnnie and waved it from side to side, clearly meaning, “Don’t you mess with my Bible.”
Johnnie says, “He didn’t speak my language and I didn’t speak his, but the message was loud and clear. That was a precious jewel that he had been given. I sat there and thought, ‘Who is this kid going to be one day? What is he going to do for God, what is he going to do for his country, and what can he do now that he can read those words?’ He was one of the first children in all of history to own an Eastern Apurímec Quechua New Testament. I will never forget the experience.”
After the song service ended, the boy sat down, and Dallas happened to be sitting next to him. The boy held his shiny Bible quietly on his lap, not fidgeting or squirming. When the pastor instructed the congregation to turn to 2 Timothy 3, the boy started turning the pages from the front of the New Testament. Dallas leaned over to help him. He let her find 2 Timothy, but then he gently moved her hand aside and searched for the chapter and verse himself. He began to follow along with the pastor, his finger moving under each syllable of Quechua. People behind him leaned over and followed along with him.
This boy was equipped to start using his New Testament immediately because of a literacy program run by AIDIA*, a Peruvian-run organization focused on transforming the Apurimac region through the translation and application of God’s Word in Quechua. In fact, he was even conducting a literacy class of his own, his little finger running under every syllable, with Quechuan grandmothers and Johnnie Moore leaning over his shoulder, learning to read as they compared the audible word with the printed word.
Clearly this was not the boy’s first encounter with the Good News, but on that day in May 2013, Jesus sat down beside him in that row of plastic chairs, and gently, clearly spoke into his heart in a whole new way.
*AIDIA is an acronym for “Asociacion Interdenomicacional Para el Desarrollo Integral de Apurímac.” In English, that’s “Interdenominational Association for the Integral Development of Apuíimac.”
“Bible translation is reconciliation work—bridging the gap for those who have long been marginalized educationally, spiritually, economically, socially, and politically. To have access to God’s Word in your mother tongue is to not only have access to God’s truth, it is also to have access to education and information…Wycliffe’s work because it serves the whole person and the whole community.”
Shamelessly ‘borrowed’ from Ruth Hubbard.
“It takes an extraordinary amount of discipline and maturity to live in today, walking step by step doing whatever I’m supposed to do today. It takes discipline to say “I don’t know.” It takes faith to trust in one-day-at-a-time. It requires me to lay down my desperate, freakish desire for control and trust He is at work.” Controlled by His Spirit, producing fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. One step at a time, one step closer towards our best selves, the people God wants us to be. Credit to Karen Yates–read more: This is how I’ve started looking at calling.
I grew up on Los Angeles Dodgers baseball. I was young, but I remember seeing my first game in 1961 with my dad when the Dodgers (the team had moved to L.A. from Brooklyn three season earlier), played their final season at the Los Angeles Coliseum. We would see a game the next year in a brand new stadium built in Chavez Revenue just outside downtown L.A.
Future Baseball Hall of Famers were on this team: Duke Snyder, Sandy Kofax, Don Dyrsade, and Walter Alston was managing the team. I remember the thrill of sitting in the stands eating the precursor to the Dodger Dog listening to Vin Skully on the radio calling the play-by-play.
By then, the “color barrier” had already been broken in Major League Baseball; a black man, Johnny Roseboro, was catching for the Dodgers. He played his first game for them approximately 10 years to the day after Jackie Robinson started with the Dodgers in April of 1947.
I was playing Little League Baseball at the time–second base–and not bad at it either. We had a catcher who, as my memory now tells me, moved away in the middle of the season and I was asked to go behind the plate. I’d never caught before in my life but there I was, learning a new position and fast! My role model becomes the guy catching for the team I loved–Johnny Roseboro. In 1961 I was a white kid who thought nothing of wanting to be like a black catcher.
Watching the movie 42 last night with my wife, Dallas, we both got emotional (as did others in the theater–people clapped at the end of the film). We haven’t yet talked about why; we probably got emotional for different reasons. But I’m sure, in my case, it was for multiple reasons. For one, just as we experienced when U.S. voters elected a black man to be the President of the United States and the following morning every black kid in America thought, hey, I could be President of the United States, too, so it was with every black male kid in America in 1947 after Jackie Robinson joined the Dodger–they thought, hey, I could play in the Big Leagues.
But it doesn’t stop there.
One line in the movies just jumped out at me. Branch Rickey who was the General Manager of the Dodgers at the time had a strong conviction (probably both religious/spiritual as well as economic) that it was an injustice for blacks not to be playing in the National Baseball League, and he was determined to break this barrier when he offered the opportunity to Robinson of being the first.
Robinson paid a heavy price for this opportunity and, according to the film, almost quit several times. One one occasion, Rickey says to Robinson, “You know what I saw when I was driving to the park today (Ebbits Field in Brooklyn)? I saw a kid pretending to be you–a white kid.”
Jackie Robinson was becoming a national hero; to black and white kids alike. While I didn’t know it in 1961, he’d paved the way for me, too, a white kid playing catcher in Little League baseball to idolize Johnny Roseboro, a black Major League catcher and not think twice about it.
Years ago I remember watching the movie Saving Private Ryan and being horrified at the brutality of beach landing. I found it very hard to watch. I knew my dad was involved in a beach landing on Okinawa as part of the 1st Marine Division during WWII so I asked him what he thought. His comment? “It was far worse than that.”
While my dad talked very little about his time in the U.S. Marine Corps, he was very proud of the Marines and of his service. He was not proud of the fighting but saw it as a necessary part of what his generation was required to do. He said many times, “I fought so you wouldn’t have to.”
That sentiment sums up my feelings for all those who have serve and are serving in the armed forces of the United States of America. WWII was supposed to be the war to end all wars (as was WWI) but, as we know, it wasn’t. There are those who would, if they could, bring an end to our freedoms. Thank you ALL who are serving and sacrificing. While there are many things I would love to change about America, this is still a great country rooted in freedom of expression (speech and religion) and grounded in a system of laws that give us recourse when we are wronged.
May we never forget those who have sacrificed so much for so many. Remembering and appreciating. Memorial Day 2013.