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Archive for the ‘denkschrift’ Category

Changing while God does not
All-Africa Institute for Excellence in Christian Leadership Development
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 4 May 2011

In one of Jesus’ briefest and least quoted parables, the Master commends to his listeners a very fortunate man. Jesus explains to us with striking brevity one of this man’s virtues:

He is capable of making good and even reverential use of those features of God’s economy that come from the past.

The same thing might be said of many human and beings, no doubt. Yet this man stands out from the crowd, as it were, because of a second quality that he exercises together with the first:

He finds it possible to recognize and embrace the new thing that is by God’s grace becoming possible.

You will recognize these words, from the thirteen chapter of the gospel of Matthew:

(Jesus) said to them, ‘Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.’ (Matthew 13:52 NIV)

We come together this week to discuss institutional sustainability and organizational change. Together, the challenge they present can be threatening and ominous, not least because we engage this challenge as frail human beings who struggle to make the best of things even as they now are. Change lies one horizon beyond and can seem a bridge too far. (more…)

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El 31 de octubre 1517, es la fecha que se conmemora la Reforma Protestante. Este hecho nos recuerda el gesto de aquel monje agustino, doctor en teología, quien luego de un proceso de reflexión y lucha interna, decidió exponer sus ideas. Su intención original era convocar a un debate teológico con los eruditos de su tiempo. ¡Estos fueron sus famosas 95 tesis! Lo cierto es que Lutero jamás imaginó que las verdades expuestas en esas cartillas, no solamente tendrían valor para el círculo académicos de ese entonces, sino que saltarían como bandadas de palomas puestas en libertad, impactando a todas las esferas de la iglesia y el pueblo, hasta nuestra actualidad.

Claro está, la reforma no inició con Lutero; fue un proceso que empezó a gestarse siglos atrás por distintos movimientos conformados por hombres y mujeres disconformes con las influencias que dejó el emperador Constantino. Este hombre se había convertido al cristianismo y en el año 313 promulgó un edicto de tolerancia religiosa hacia los cristianos. Dichas acciones pronosticaban el cese de casi 300 años de persecución y el advenimiento a tiempos de paz; pero en realidad era el presagio de nuevas artimañas que amenazaban con destruir la identidad de la Iglesia. Como reacción a esta alianza: “Iglesia e imperio”, se empezó a notar cambios que en nada contribuían a fortalecer las bases del cristianismo, mientras la iglesia se marchitaba por la aridez de su trato. (more…)

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The seminary or theological college finds itself today under more fervent attack than perhaps at any time since the modern seminary became a fixture in Christian circles.

Its critics are many, articulate, and sometimes scathing. Let me enumerate three principal criticisms to which seminary staff and leadership must respond if they are to remain viable.

First, the seminary’s critics allege that the seminary has uncritically adopted a university model that privileges academic pursuits over training for ministry. Second, the seminary’s traditional focus on biblical studies, systematic theology, and ministry skills such as counseling and preaching comes under criticism as irrelevant to modern ministry and incapable of training adept servants for the modern or post-modern church and world. Third, seminarians are told that their institution has become inaccessible to most trainees for Christian service and—not an entirely separate concern—slave to an economic model that is no longer viable.

If these allegations are sustainable, then it appears that the seminary—and its younger brother, the Bible institute or Bible college—is doomed either to decline or collapse. (more…)

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If you had told me a year ago that I’d be sitting in the third row of a stadium-like conference venue with 37,000 pilgrims who’ve gathered from the four corners to listen to Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger scrape their chairs up to a table and answer questions for a day, I’d have wondered what you were smoking. Or curious whether you’d glimpsed my impending early retirement.

Yet thanks to a Buffett disciple who’s simultaneously joined the board of the Christian non-profit organization I direct and become a friend-for-life, the invitation to do just that came into my hands. Out of respect for my host, I joined the airport queues of the faithful making hajj in Omaha.

I shall not soon forget what I saw in that city, heretofore known to me chiefly as the source of mail-order steaks. (more…)

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Mrs. Banuo Z. Jamir, Addl. Chief Secretary & Commissioner Nagaland; members of the board of Clark Theological College; Rev’d Dr. Takatemjen, principal of the College; Faculty and Staff, Graduands and Students; Family and Friends of the Graduands; Supporters and Well-wishers of the College:

A strong rain hurled its refreshing liquid onto the roof of my guesthouse room last night, as it did upon the roofs of your homes and hostels. After a day rich with conversation, good food, music, prayers, comedy, parody, story, and laughter, it sounded like a symphony. (more…)

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On an Indianapolis afternoon when it seems as though Spring my have decisively wrenched the world from Winter’s icy grip, human need runs deep in the streets. As in this poor man’s heart.

iTunes, as is parroted in the way that becomes truisms with their undeniable kernel of truth, has changed the way we listen to music. And talk and sermons.

So does this battered survivor’s heart find itself caressed this afternoon by the alleged randomness of iTunes as it works its way via its own inscrutable logic through my embarrassingly bulging iTunes library. (more…)

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As we speak, my oldest son beavers away at a history degree at a fine university in this country’s Pacific Northwest. Our telephone conversations and Spring Break bike rides on Indy’s wonderful Monon Trail are punctuated by discussions of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the continuing relevance of Plato’s Republic as well as the merits of road over mountain bikes and the fitness benefits of pushing along really fat tires.

Why history? Because First Son’s strong but uneven education at the British School of Costa Rica brought him into contact with the curmudgeonly but brilliant and engaged ‘Mr Wolf’, an historian with a stubborn and inelegant fixation on making history relevant for high school students in what others of his ilk might have dismissed as an intellectual and cultural backwater. (more…)

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