Christians Missions ≠ Westernization

I this article on one of my friend’s Facebook pages and I’m sharing with my readers here, and adding my own comments. It’s Stuffing Shoe Boxes for the World’s Poor? Maybe You should Reconsider by Blake Tommey. In a nutshell it is about the problems with giving to organizations like Operation Christmas Child (OCC). Operation Christmas Child is VERY big in North America, and tries to give to children in developing countries by sending them shoe boxes filled with toys and gifts purchased by people in Western Cultures.
While giving to charities like OCC feels good, and is done with good intentions, it really isn’t addressing the economic challenges in the places the shoe boxes go. If anything, it breathes in more problems because instead of building up a developing country so that its culture is preserved with a sustainable economy to keep it going, OCC’s shoe boxes push for westernizing the children, and eventually the broader culture.

Sorry to all the people I know who give to OCC with the best of intentions, but it really isn’t helping like you want it to. Westernization isn’t the same as spreading God’s Kingdom. It simply isn’t. God’s Kingdom transcends human culture, while at the same time encompasses a diverse range of people.  I’ll say it again: Westernization isn’t the same as Christian missions. If anything, marrying Christianity to Western culture in the form of Christendom/Roman Catholicism  and Protestant Missions during European colonization back fired in many ways: Residential schools in Canada and the USA, Apartheid in South Africa, genocides in Rwanda, way the Hindu people were treated in India, and etcetera. All examples of Westernizing non-European cultures that lead to the Christian efforts nearly destroying the people they wanted to help.

Cultures have good and bad aspects to them, and none are above any of the others. They’re just different. The challenge with  helping the poor isn’t assimilating everybody into one culture, but building the people group in the country up so they’re in economically stable conditions. In this way, they have the dignity to provide for themselves and not depend on others, specifically Western others.

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“Christian” Conferences = Homophobia 101 Lessons

​I am ashamed at myself because there was a time when I would’ve endorsed what the theology faculty at Acadia University allowed to happen. 

 When I first went there, I would’ve clapped at the fact the school I got my master’s at sends students to conferences where the speakers not only openly endorsed homophobia, but taught the attendees how to do it and “get away” with it. I would’ve been glad and followed those lessons to the letter.

Now I’m disgusted. Completely and utterly disgusted that the school allowed it to happen. And this time, I’m calling them out on it and refusing to hide my disgust at such an injustice. A part of me wants to light my master’s degree on fire in front of a webcam turned on in protest. But I won’t because that would be $1000s and 4 years of my life gone. 

What I will do though is use the gift of writing God gave me and ask pointed questions on a public forum for all to read: Is it really a shock LGBT students taking courses through YOUR school keep quiet? Is out any wonder they’re ostracized when they come out unless they agree to be celibate because celibate gays and lesbians are more comfortable for you? What do you tell transgender students? Do you tell them it’s okay to police genitalia, instead of learn about gender studies, which is only a Google search away?

 What  is wrong with some of the instructors there, that they think going to a homophobia 101 conference is a great teaching opportunity for your students? Where were the higher ups when the decision was made in September? What do you think that says to the LGBTQ students that go to Acadia University?

 I guess it’d says persecuting Baptists are bad, but persecuting LGBT people so long as God is tact on it somewhere is just fine, right? And it says your LGBT students can be harassed into celibacy by their peers, right? Don’t challenge their prejudices, or teach them to value diversity! Don’t tell them that LGBT people are made in God’s image and should be respected. Just assume God is happy and patting you in the back for homophobia 101 conferences, and harassment in His name!

(Just don’t remind God that Jesus had lots to say about treating the marginalized, and demeaning fellow humans, while said boring about LGBT people. Then His pat on the back might be revoked.).

If the school overall knew this, would that be your answer? Would you be able to look Acadia Pride in the face of they knew that’s one of the requirements in a course is go to a “Homophobia 101 Conference”?  You should be ashamed of yourselves and resigning. 

But they won’t because they  bought the line that it is godly to endorse injustice: sexism, racism, and homophobia from the Baptist denomination whose early history included persecution.   Well I’m done watching on the sidelines. I’ll find Acadia Pride’s email, and let them know what goes on up the hill with Jesus tact on top for good measure.

Maybe they’ll be Jesus to Acadia Divinity College’s and Acadia University’s LGBT students?

Aside About Church

Ah the Christian Church…

A house of prayer, refuge, and peace; representative of God’s people, King Jesus’ subjects, and those moved by the Spirit; and the voice for the poor, outcast, and society’s must vulnerable?

Ha! More like a den for those who hold on as tightly as they can to their own prejudices including, but not limited to, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, sexism, and all things before the 1960s.

Remind me again: Why do I have to set a foot in those hell holes?

Re-Blog: 8 Reasons Jesus’ Doesn’t Like Lists!

Jesus knew you can’t communicate meaningful content in a soundbite. If it took him three years of living and travelling with the disciples to teach them what they needed to know, then we need more people in MDiv programs and fewer numbered how-to Facebook posts. If Jesus ever dropped the mike, it was after […]

By Dr. Anna Robbins via 8 Reasons Why Jesus Doesn’t Like Numbered Lists for Doing Ministry Better* — Theology On Edge

Barack, welcome to Canada.

Watch Obama’s Speech to Parliament

Since returning to my homeland four years ago, I have struggled to feel Canadian. Living away for 15 years left me uncertain about what Canada was all about. I returned with eyes opened to the tragedies as well as the glories of Canada’s history. It was hard even to sing the national anthem: ‘O Canada, our home and native land…’

‘Ours’ is a stolen land. Today, we have two-thirds world conditions in some of OUR indigenous communities, who don’t even have clean, running drinking water in a nation that controls a fifth of the world’s fresh water. (Even though only half of that is usable and renewable.)

Canada is a far-from-perfect country. Our pluralism is unevenly experienced and applied. We can be insular and cynical about the world. Our colonial history is one of exploitation, injustice, and genocide.

We fight about whether the national anthem should apply to women as well as men. We are big on the ‘rah rah rah!’ of ‘isn’t it great to be Canadian?!’, and I struggle with that. A lot.

However, I have had to reassess my national identity in light of last week’s Brexit vote. So much of what I chose to identify with in taking on British nationality, and European identity, disappeared overnight and I wasn’t sure who I was anymore. Feeling newly ambivalent towards my British passport, I traveled to the US clutching my Canadian one, and wondering about it all.

Amongst North Americans, Canadians at my conference flocked together like bird of a feather (snowbirds don’t only go south in the winter). We were from very different backgrounds but something about the way we see the world drew us together. It’s an openness, a curiosity, a welcome.

It was summed up the day before yesterday as President Obama addressed the Houses of Parliament in Ottawa. The introduction was cringe-worthy, the speech full of the usual political rhetoric and platitudes. But what struck me beyond the rapturous appreciation for him as a person and a leader was the way that Canadians can just make people feel at home. Inviting him to speak, Prime Minister Trudeau offered, ‘Barack, welcome to Canada.’ No ‘Mr. President’ here. But a warm welcome, to someone who feels, and was welcomed, like an old friend. (And yes, most Canadians profoundly wish he had four more years.)

I hope we learned the Canadian welcome from our first nations people. I pray we will learn what it means to repent of an abused welcome. And my healthy cynicism can return on Monday. But today, on this Canada Day, I am especially and newly grateful, to be part of a country that is willing to err on the side of openness and inclusion, than of xenophobia and cynicism. May God keep our land glorious and free. In this age of fear and exclusion, He is the only one who can.

Source: Barack, welcome to Canada. By Dr. Anna Robbins

A Gay Christian Response…

To a wolf in sheep’s clothing!

I came across a Christian open letter to LGBT Americans. While LGBT Americans span the religious spectrum the majority of LGBT Americans are Christian. Something never acknowledged in this piece. In fact, the opposite is presumed throughout. As a gay Christian pastor I thought I’d offer some thoughts on the issues raised in the letter.

In your eyes, people like me are hateful bigots, not recognizing the validity of your marriages, not recognizing the depth of your relationships, not recognizing the beauty of your families.

While acknowledging the pain of Orlando, we get to this quickly. So quickly that I don’t see this a condolence letter. I see it as an apologetics letter. Most folks would be right to pass this letter by then. But as a Christian pastor I felt it important to consider the letter on its own merits. So my first question to the above statement is: is it true?

That is, do you not recognize the validity of our marriages, the depths of our relationships, the beauty of our families? If not, this is a source of alienation. If, in fact, you do, then who is the source of beauty, of relationships, and of love but God?

1 John 4:7  Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

So if you acknowledge the above, you could not move to the next statement

We tell you God has a better way, that it’s wrong for you to engage in same-sex relationships, and that, with God’s help, it can be possible to change from gay to straight.

In which case,we are right to believe that you do not acknowledge our loves, our relationships, our families. This may not be a concern for some if there was not an organized effort to support policies of discrimination, at every level of government. Over 200 bills, were submitted to discriminate against LGBT Americans, 29 in Oklahoma! Continue reading

Philippians 4:12-14, NLT

12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. 14 Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.

Philippians 3:12-14, NLT

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us (NLT).

Comment: One of my favourite verses on the road to recovery from mental illness. 

Hebrews 12:1, NIV

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,