Peter Gzowski was a Canadian Broadcaster for many years, He wrote what I believe is the quintessential book on Hockey. It is called “The Game Of Our Lives”. It is the story of the 1980-81 season he spent travelling around the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers and a young up and comer named Wayne Gretsky. Gzowski went on to broadcast a magazine show for three hours every morning on the CBC and it used tp be some of the greatest radio I was privileged to listen to. It covered all things from hockey, to politics, to music and theater, to really esoteric stuff like the history of bells, the nature of a true ‘Dutch auction’ and the revival of ‘cults’ like the Mo Synod in Canada. That last is a story all it’s own but it will have to wait for another time. Anyway, when he was about to retire he said something that at the time I didn’t understand but now I do. He said, “I love what I do, it’s doing it over again that I can’t take anymore”.
Think of it. From 1972, to 1997 he hosted a three hour program that covered a multitude of subjects and at the end of that time he realized that he was doing the same stuff over again. I am beginning to feel that way with this subject. What we hashed over and discussed in 2004 in LCMS World Relief and Human Care, and debated with others for 10 years of a ‘mercy ‘ revival in the church body has to be discussed over and over again because frankly, too many people are late to the party. I don’t care if you come to the party late, but bring something to the table!
We have to keep discussing these things because the church is a dynamic organism called the body of Christ and right now there are people doing all kinds of things around the world that may or may not be helpful. We have discussed how many mission society type activities take place every year just from Missouri Synod folk in Minnesota North and North Dakota. Every time someone comes back from these the discussions have to be held – what are we doing and why? Does it help or hurt? What partnerships are we ignoring and what partnerships are we fostering that perhaps we shouldn’t? Is someone else doing this too and if so are they doing it better than we can? And on it goes.
North Dakota District had their convention and made some monumental decisions about “mission and mercy”. Minnesota North is about to have a convention at which will be decided some huge questions about mission and mercy and partnerships. Our LWML groups down to the smallest units in the smallest congregations monthly make decisions with their ‘mites’ that have an incredible impact and need to be acknowledged and followed. An informed discussion needs to take place. We are in the midst right now of a debate that has gone on since Acts 6 as to whether the church so be about preaching the Gospel, or caring for widows and orphans. For some people that idea of “both/ and” is obviously beyond their grasp.
Here is a portion of an article that is new this month, written by a man who studied with the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, now part of Africa International University, where he taught church history and conducted research on the problem of Western missions in the Global South.
The challenge in the West will be to convince evangelicals, who are often more passionate about planting churches than taking care of orphans and widows, that a larger percentage of Western money should be allocated to help their impoverished brothers and sisters in the Majority World. Questions remain. How can sharing be done without promoting a “dependency syndrome”. How do we offer accountability without lording it over those who are recipients of the generosity of Western donors? Mission agencies that are struggling to find their niche in the new global market may want to consider retooling in order to position themselves as specialists who help guide the process of partnership. If mission agencies can make these difficult changes, the wisdom and knowledge they have gained from their years of work out in the field could prove to be invaluable to the development of strategic partnerships. If they do not change, they will quickly become irrelevant. The African leaders and students I interviewed believed that if we are truly the body of Christ, we must find a way to share resources so that “there may be equality” (2 Cor. 8:14 KJV). As Isaac M. T. Mwase observes, “What world Christianity has to figure out is how to have interdependent relationships that are healthy and mutually rewarding.” ” A “New Breed of Missionaries”: Assessing Attitudes Toward Western Missions at the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology’F. Lionel Young III as found in International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Vol. 36, No. 2