Listening to the Majority World

At 3:30 AM last night, I got back from the Association of Presbyterian Mission Pastors Conference in Louisville.  Don Dawson took five students from the seminary to this event and it absolutely blew me away.  The best part of all was the chance to hear honest voices from the “majority world” – the world outside of western privilege and modernism.   Bishop David Zac Niringiye from Uganda challenged us as Americans to seek to do mission in the Spirit, rather that in the flesh.  Fleshly mission is when we (i.e. privileged American Christians) barge into other countries, assume we know what they need, throwing money at problems, importing our own western culture instead of respecting the culture of our brothers.  Mission in the Spirit, Bishop Zac said, is “finding our brethren.”  Instead of typical mission trips, Bishop Zac said Americans should go on “cross-cultural experiences” to listen to the voices of their “co-heirs” in the gospel, their brothers and sisters in Christ.  This is was the Associate Anglican Bishop of Kampala speaking honestly, bluntly even, from a post-colonial perspective out of love for his brothers and it was a blessing.

Other highlights and quotes:  Tim Dearborn of World Vision saying “We are utterly dangerous in mission if we do not know who we are.” 

Bishop Zac: “When I came to America, I could not understand how it’s possible to be an American and a Christian.  You are all too comfortable.”

Steve Hayner: “We need fearless humility.”

Karen Sloan and I also got to promote Presbymergent at lunch and dinner on Thursday, and I got to share for three minutes in front of the whole group about what Presbymergent is and how it can help missional pastors and new church developers.  When Bishop Zac got up to speak soon after I did, he said with a huge smile “We need a word for emergent Anglicans.  Count me as an Emergican.” 

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