“The early days of missions were sometimes marked by people who were unresponsive to new environments. They did not sense the worth and beauty already present in strange cultures. They responded to bare-breasted drum-beating Africans as if they were inchoate Europeans, swaddling them in inappropriate clothes and teaching them Martin Luther’s favorite hymns.
“Condescending love intrudes on the scene with a slick solution devised in a place far away from the human need. The best. most effective kind of love begins with a quiet listening, a tactile awareness.”
from “Fearfully & Wonderfully Made” by Dr. Paul Brand & Philip Yancy
From Dr. Paul Brand:
“As a former missionary in a helping role, I know too well the human weaknesses that lead to spiritual pride. Media evangelists and Christian speakers and performers have described to me their unique pressures. They can easily bask in the glow of warm acceptance and ego-satisfying comments from adulating fans. Executives in Christian corporations and pastors are subject to the same temptations of pride and status.
“None of us is exempt. Radical Christians who urge action in the inner city, politically conservative Christians who give large sums of their investments to missions, seminary students who glory in their new-found knowledge, church members who fill out committees within the church — all of us need to come back to the image of the Son of God kneeling on a hard floor and unbuckling sandals covered with choking Palestine dust.”
Fearfully & Wonderfully Made by Dr. Paul Brand & Philip Yancey
I’m rereading a favorite book by Phil Yancy and Dr. Paul Brand. “Fearfully & Wonderfully Made” recounts the marvels of our human bodies and how all our gazillion parts work in sync. The authors relate the intricacies of our bodies’ abilities and functions to that of the church as described by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 12.
Because it’s Sunday, I’ll share a church thought from C.S. Lewis that was quoted in the book. When Lewis first began attending church services, he disliked hymns, “which he considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But as he continued, he said, ‘I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit.'” (God in the Dock)
Dr. Brand says “It seems safe to assume that God enjoys variety. …Whenever I travel overseas, I am struck anew by the world’s incredible diversity. …Indigenous churches are bursting out with their own spontaneous expressions of worship to God. …And I think He, understanding the cultural backgrounds and true intent of the worshipers, likes the variety He sees.”
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:24
Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Psalm 95:6-7