Leadership in the 21st Century: ‘leaders everywhere’

Opportunities to lead…..Are you ready?

Matthew's Journal

Do you consider yourself a leader? Then read this.

And if you don’t consider yourself a leader – well, you still need to read this.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the leadership secrets of the Jesuits and of Ignatio Loyola, their founder. A core idea the Jesuits lived and acted by was/is that everyone is a leader. I wrote:

“A different leadership model emerges that flows against the tide of most contemporary models. It rejects quick-fix approaches that equate leadership with mere technique and tactics. Their approach scraps ‘command and control’ models that rely on one great person to lead the rest. It finds leadership opportunities not just at work but also in the ordinary activities of everyday life. The Jesuit approach examines leadership through a very different prism, and refracted through that prism, leadership emerges in a very different light. Four differences stand out:
– We’re all…

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Call2All Compassion and Justice Network in Mumbai India 4-8 November 2013

Thanks for your heart of compassion, justice and self-sacrificing love like that of our model, Jesus Christ.

Call2All is about fulfilling the Great Commission, through the Great Commandment and the Discipling of Nations through every sector of society in our generation. Call2All is about collaboration and partnership, it is about servanthood, it is about an intentional  focus upon those who have yet to taste and see the goodness of God once in their lives. Most of these would be unreached, the poorest, the ones living in the most challenging places on earth.

Call2All is about looking at models and examples that are working like the city of Mumbai, India. There are several thousand churches that are reaching out to their neighbor, engaging with the major themes of the city like human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, housing and economic development through integral mission. There is much to be learned from our brothers and sisters in Mumbai as we convene in city of global influence.

There are also wonderful models of self-sacrificing love from around the world that will also be reflected upon to see how we can grow and multiply in our combined efforts. We sense that the Holy Spirit is already doing many things in Mumbai and that these are going to be days where God meets with us in a variety of practical ways. Come, bring your gifts, your skills and those things God has placed upon your heart to impart.  We really want to focus upon Jesus and how he engaged with the poor, needy, outcasts of his day through a new model of love and compassion.

Thanks for registering as it will a limited group of people.

My name is Steve Goode, Ambassador for YWAM Mercy, Compassion and Justice living in Bangkok, Thailand as well as on the steering group for Call2All. I have never been more encouraged that the Great Commission through the Great Commandment and the Discipling of Nations can be completed in our life time. Come and join us in the historic event.

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Why can’t you be one person?

 
 
 

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How You Can Be “One Person”

Posted by Karla Colonnieves on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 @ 10:13 AM
 
 

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“Ghandi was one person. 
Martin Luther King was one person. 
Mother Theresa was one person. 
Why can’t you be one person?”

Convicting words, huh? You’d be surprised to know that they came from the lips of an 8-year-old girl.

Vivienne Harr is a little girl who decided to make a stand against slavery and free 500 child slaves through the nonprofit Not For Sale. How much does it cost to free that many child slaves? $150,000. How is she doing this?

A lemonade stand.

Rain or shine, she would sit at her lemonade stand, “selling” glasses of lemonade for free. According to Vivienne, her lemonade is “not for sale because people are not for sale,” encouraging people to pay whatever is on their heart.

After just 52 days, she got the world’s attention, from New York Times to BBC World News to media outlets all over the world. She had thousands of people following her on Facebook and Twitter, and she raised a whopping total of $30,000! You can read the whole story here.

753f015ecfbb11e1839c1231381b3106 7Vivienne and her parents have turned her lemonade stand into a business, or rather a “giveness,” as they call it, as 100 percent of the profits goes to Not For Sale so they can give freedom to people. Now that Vivienne has reached—surpassed!her $150,000 goal, she is bottling up her #MAKEASTAND Lemon-aid and plans to “not” sell them in stores, making her lemonade one of the only mass-market products that is “not for sale.” Right now, you can order your own lemonade to be delivered right to your doorstep!

Now how inspiring is that? I’ve been thinking a lot about how God uses the small things in our lives, like our talents and experiences, and makes big things out of them. How He takes the little that we have and multiplies it into something huge.

Consider the woman who poured her perfume on Jesus’ feet, doing all that she could to honor Him with all that she had at the time. Or the boy with five loaves and two fish and Jesus multiplying the boy’s offering to feed 5,000 people.

These people saw a need and did what they could with what little they had. In the same way, Vivienne saw a need and decided to do something about it. She took what little she had – her special lemonade, her experience (“I’m only 8 and the only business experience I have is a lemonade stand!”), and her compassion – and she did what she could. And wow, has it multiplied into something big!

With all the injustice in the world today, there’s plenty of need. What need could you meet? What has God already given you that you could use to meet that need? And would you be willing to be that “one person” and do something about it?

“Compassion is not compassion without action,” says Vivienne. “It’s why I ‘make a stand’ every day. When I thought of doing this, I didn’t think of all the reasons why I couldn’t. I thought of all the reasons why I must.”

Consider being an IJM FreedomMaker and start your own campaign to raise money for justice!

Prayer Idea: As Vivenne says, “Compassion is not compassion without action.” Is there biblical basis for this? James 2:14-26 is a good passage to read on the importance of accompanying deeds with faith, verse 7 saying, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” In the same way, it’s important to accompany action with our compassion for people living in oppression and injustice. Ask God to show you how you can be acting out your compassion in practical ways.

 

Photo: Vivienne Harr, 8 years old, and friends decide to make a stand until they free “all the slaves in the world.” By makeastandlemonade on Instagram. 

 

 
 
 
ZoomInto: Pictures, Images and Photos
 

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Discovering Christ by Henri J.M.Nouwen

Discovering Christ 
Fourth Sunday of Advent—December 23 

I think that we have hardly thought through the immense implications of the mystery of the incarnation. Where is God? God is where we are weak, vulnerable, small and dependent. God is where the poor are, the hungry, the handicapped, the mentally ill, the elderly, the powerless. How can we come to know God when our focus is elsewhere, on success, influence, and power? I increasingly believe that our faithfulness will depend on our willingness to go where there is brokenness, loneliness, and human need. 

If the church has a future it is a future with the poor in whatever form. Each one of us is seriously searching to live and grow in this belief, and by friendship we can support each other. I realize that the only way for us to stay well in the midst of the many “worlds” is to stay close to the small, vulnerable child that lives in our hearts and in every other human being. Often we do not know that the Christ child is within us. When we discover him we can truly rejoice. 

Sabbatical Journey: The Diary of His Final Year (Sunday December 24, 1995, Freiburg, Germany). © Henri J.M. Nouwen. Published by The Crossroad Publishing Company and reprinted here with publisher’s kind permission.

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Progress With a Purpose: Social Entrepreneurship and Effective Results

Progress With a Purpose: Social Entrepreneurship and Effective Results

Posted by Matthea Brandenburg

photo courtesy of Time

Holding a sign on a street corner, building a community library, and establishing the microcredit industry: can all of these actions be considered equal, or more specifically, examples of social entrepreneurship? In striving to find worth in our own social concern and charitable efforts, it can seem attractive and convenient to categorize our efforts under the same name as recognized drivers of social change, such as Steve Jobs and Muhammad Yunus, father of the microcredit industry. But placing all social actions under the banner of social entrepreneurship only adds to confusion about the aim and potential of each venture. 

Social Entrepreneurship has been gaining great recognition as of late, but what differentiates it from the work that some of us are already doing? In a Stanford Social Innovation Review article, “Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition,” Roger L. Martin and Sally Osberg distinguish between common public engagement and the more expansive social entrepreneurship efforts. 

Social Entrepreneurship is not a social service. The difference lies in the outcome of a project. A social service provides a community need, whereas social entrepreneurship yields a broad and long-term impact that extends beyond one’s immediate environment. Using an example, Martin and Osberg state,

“ Imagine that Andrew Carnegie had built only one library rather than conceiving the public library system that today serves untold millions of American citizens. Carnegie’s single library would have clearly benefited the community it served. But it was his vision of an entire system of libraries creating a permanent new equilibrium – one ensuring access to information and knowledge for all the nation’s citizens– that anchors his reputation as a social entrepreneur.”

Social Entrepreneurship is not social activism. Although characteristics such as inspiration, creativity, courage, and fortitude are vital in both systems, the orientation of participants’ actions is different.  Martin and Osberg explain,

“ Instead of taking direct action, as the social entrepreneur would, the social activist attempts to create change through indirect action, by influencing others – governments, NGOs, consumers, workers, etc. – to take action. Social activists may or may not create ventures or organizations to advance the changes they seek. Successful activism can yield substantial improvements to existing systems and even result in a new equilibrium, but the strategic nature of the action is distinct in its emphasis on influence rather than on direct action.”

Due to its broad impact and direct involvement in an issue, those taking part in social entrepreneurship have the especially great task of initiating progress, while involving and consulting with those closest to the problem. Otherwise, social entrepreneurship embodies a top-down approach that doesn’t truly recognize the abilities of the individuals being helped.   

In his article entitled “Is Social Entrepreneurship the Rich Saving the Poor?,” Martin Montero reinforces this point, saying, “Social enterprise empowers people so that they can amplify the great work they are doing already. It is not something done to people or for people. It should be a collaborative effort done with and chiefly by those people.” Partnering with locals to create solutions, rather than working with organizations that sweep in to provide temporary assistance, yields more sustainable results and affirms a work ethic based upon empowerment. Although social entrepreneurship is becoming increasingly trendy and is usually accompanied by extensive fan-fair, its aim relative to poverty should be very basic: reinforcing the idea that people have the capability to succeed, and presenting them with opportunities to flourish. 

Montero continues, “Social entrepreneurship is not about elitist fellowships, conferences, summits, accelerators, coworking spaces, or contests. Social entrepreneurship is not about charity or even about philanthropy, and it’s certainly not about wealth redistribution. Social entrepreneurship is about opportunity and power distribution.”

In the context of social entrepreneurship, power distribution should be seen as encouraging people to recognize their creative capacity and then opening channels in which these abilities can be unleashed. Of course, this mission should apply to all acts of public engagement, be they direct or indirect. But, those with resources great enough to shift societal trends have the especially great responsibility of making sure these developments consistently recognize the dignity of the human person and his/her ability to create prosperity. These trends may entail a dynamic change in the way one accesses a material good or service, or advance an opportunity that enables individuals and communities to gain increased economic standing. In any case, such initiatives must first and foremost engage those directly affected by their work. Otherwise, the parties involved, the recipients, and the project itself will not reach maximum potential.

 

http://www.povertycure.org/media/blog/progress-with-a-purpose-social-entrepreneurship-and-effective-results/

 

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Jesus – central to the Kingdom of God and all that we do…… Well said David and Pope John Paul II…..

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Why Christianity Lost America by Vishal Mangalwadi

Why Christianity Lost America?

Posted on December 10, 2011 by Vishal Mangalwadi

 

Why Christianity Lost America?[i]
Vishal Mangalwadi
(Author of The Book That Made Your World:
How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, Thomas Nelson 2011)
 
Christianity lost America because 20th-century evangelicalism branded itself as the party of faith. By default Secularism (science, university, media) became the party of truth. This is one reason why 70% Christian youth give up meaningful involvement with the church when they grow up.
 
* * *
Pentecostals, Jehovah Witnesses, and Baptists are the poorest communities in America. According to a study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life,[ii] less than 20% followers of these religious groups make more than $75,000 a year. By comparison, 67% of the Reformed Jews, 65% percent Hindus, and 57% Conservative Jews earn more than $75,000/year. The finding that American evangelicals[iii] are poorer than the Roman Catholics surprised Pew Researchers who had thought that the economic miracle of the “modern” age was Protestantism’s fruit. 
 
The study raises questions such as: Has American evangelicalism lost Protestantism’s original DNA? Do American missions still carry the “good news for the poor?” (Luke 4:18) Or, is their success, spectacular in some countries, a tribute to the original and still-lingering image of Protestantism? Why did Christianity lose the power that gave it influence over education and economy, government and law, press and entertainment? How can the Church recover the power to prevail over the forces of evil?
 
In November 2011, I met an American missionary who has served in Guatemala for 36 years. He described a recent (unpublished) doctoral study examining Protestantism in one part of Guatemala. The Hispanic scholar had hoped to substantiate Max Weber’s thesis on the connection between Protestantism and economic development. The data, however, drove him to conclude that the gospel taught by present-day American missions makes no perceptible difference to the economic life of the believing communities.
 
The Pew study found a direct correlation between college education and economic status of religious communities in America: poorer communities had fewer college graduates.
 
This is astounding, for classical Protestantism was synonymous with educated clergy.[iv] USA’s DNA, for example, was written by network of 140 university graduates who founded the Massachusetts colony. One hundred of these had studied in Cambridge (significantly 35 came from Emmanuel, the most Puritan college in Cambridge) and 30 in Oxford. Within six years of arriving, they established the college that became Harvard University, committed to Veritas – “Truth”. Twentieth century American missions have ignored higher education to the point that many Guatemalan Protestant pastors do not have even High School diplomas! In Argentina, Protestants (including Charismatic, Pentecostal, and evangelicals) have over 50 mission agencies and 500 missionaries but not one university.[v]
 
Why is the sun setting on the West?
This essay summarizes one factor: the brand Christianity.[vi]
 
In November 2011, I visited two classes at a Christian university in North America. I asked both: “How many of you would still believe Christianity if you found out tomorrow that Christianity was not true. That is: God never became a man; Jesus did not die for our sin; or, that he did not rise from the dead?”
 
Twelve hands went up in each class of about 25 and 45 students. These sincere and devout students had grown up in Christian homes, gone to church all their lives and studied in Christian schools. Some had been in that Christian university for three years! They respected their elders who taught them that Christianity was all about faith with little concern for truth.  
 
Christianity lost America because 20th-century evangelicalism branded itself as the party of faith. Secularism (science, university, media) became the party of truth. This is one reason why 70% Christian youth give up meaningful involvement with the church when they grow up.
 
In the second class, only one in four students perceived Christianity as disconnected with truth. This was because my host professor had taught them to believe because Christianity is true. Some professors and pastors do teach that, yet the “truth-less” brand is common perception because it is reinforced by most pastors, Bible teachers, and some Christian professors.
 
I asked both classes if they thought secular universities knew truth. Overwhelmingly the answer was positive. When I asked them to name one secular professor who claims to know the truth, both classes named Stephen Hawking. (No student, however, had read Hawking’s latest book which demolishes the God of Western logic but not the God who has revealed Himself.) Secularism acquired the “Truth” brand by default because evangelicalism began defining Church’s mission as cultivating Faith, not promoting knowledge ofTruth (compare 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Tim 2:25; Titus 1:1, etc.).
 
I asked these questions because two years earlier I had met students from that university on a mission trip in New Delhi. Their dedication was inspiring. Their love for Jesus was contagious. But they were “storying” not witnessing. That is, unintentionally they were rebranding missionaries as tellers of alien stories, not witnesses to Truth.
 
Jesus can claim trans-cultural authority, demand allegiance of all cultures and call them to repent only if all nations have actually been given to him as his inheritance (Psalm 2:8; Matthew 28:18). If he really is the “ruler of the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:5): the “ruler of God’s creation.”(Rev. 3:14). Jesus cannot be the Lord and have no say over social and political, work and business dimensions of life. The fact that some American missions to Muslims and upper-caste Hindus are backing away from Christ’s lordship over their cultures seems to be a result of their increasing uncertainty about Truth. 
 
To discuss the “image” problem does not mean glossing over the deeper problem of substance. Economic weakness is often a caused by intellectual and social poverty. In the long run, the image is created by theology – by the substance of faith. This essay can look only at the core theological issue: how American evangelicalism views the Bible.  
 
The branding or perception of Christianity as a religion of faith, disconnected with truth, is tragic given that the Judeo-Christian tradition is the only reason why any medieval, modern, or postmodern person talks about “Truth” that can be stated in rational words and propositions (creeds or equations). The secular academy and science acquired the truth-brand only because Secularism is a Protestant heresy. The university exists because the Church was committed to knowing and believing truth. Secularism didn’t create the university. It obtained that Christian institution because, liberal Protestantism surrendered to Rationalism and evangelicalism abandoned the life of the mind.[vii] That enabled Secularism to walk away with the brand Truth. The fact is that secular atheism and materialism leave no room for rational/propositional truth. That is why Secularism is dogmatic about relativism. 
 
In a culture that asserts that all religions are the same, even Christians do not know that:
 
  • Hinduism, like Greco-Roman religions, is based (self-consciously) on myths.
  • The Buddha rejected Hinduism’s mythical gods and goddesses in favor of mystical (non-rational) Silence.
  • Islam has words that are believed to be true. These words were uttered in a state of non-rational trance, called “prophecy.” Islam, therefore, rests on private, non-verifiable communications of an individual. Sometimes Mohammed went into “prophetic” trance in public, but no one saw or heard angel Gabriel talking to him. The power of his utterances rested on the sword, not on evidence. When his words about the past (e.g., stories from Old and New Testament times) contradicted documented history, his followers had to assume that contradictions mean that texts have been corrupted. Non-verifiable trance communications overrode documented history. 
  • Jewish revelation was remarkably different: No one was asked to believe Moses because of his private, albeit very rational, encounter with the supernatural at the burning bush. The sign that God gave to skeptical Moses was empirically and publicly testable: “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you. When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain” (Exodus 3: 12).
Not long afterwards, even those who doubted Moses’ meeting with God at the burning bush were worshipping God at that mountain. The entire assembly heard God’s words as He spoke and then wrote the First Commandment, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. [Therefore,] You shall have no other gods beside me” (Exodus 20:2–3).
 
These rational words reminded the Hebrews of what they knew first hand; empirically, not in a trance:
  • Moses did not kill the first-born of Egypt – he didn’t have a sword!
  • Moses did not part the Red Sea.
  • Moses did not drown their enemies
  • Moses was not feeding them with Manna.
  • Moses did not bring water out of a Rock.
For the Jews, history confirmed revelation. On Mount Sinai, the Hebrews heard God corporately, just as the Apostles heard the words from heaven, “This is my beloved son.” No one asked the Hebrews to blindly believe a prophet. They knew Who their deliverer was through His wonderful works in their history and through His power over physical nature. God communicated in words because His works in nature and culture cannot always be understood unless He also explains them. Nor can His word be understood unless we also examine His works.[viii] Human communication works exactly the same way: words and works explain and confirm each other.
 
The Lord Jesus used this same Old Testament epistemology: He asked skeptics to believe his words because of empirically observable works that demonstrated who He was. (John 5:35–37; 10:25 & 37–38; 14:11–12, etc.) 
 
Some American missions are going seriously wrong because they misunderstand Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Is hearing simply the impact of sound waves on eardrums and their transmission into nerve impulses in the auditory sector of the brain? Or is it understanding? Is understanding (or believing) sensual, or is it intellectual?
 
Many who heard Christ’s own words did not believe because their hearing was without understanding. The faith that saves is spiritual illumination. (Matthew 16:17; Isaiah 6:10, etc.) Understanding and believing are not natural outcomes of physical experience of hearing. A monkey also hears, humans can understand and believe because God takes the trouble to confirm His word. John summarizes his witness in 20:30–31: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” Jews and Christians believed God’s words because of empirically observable and testable works.

 

God commands us not to believe what is false because He has confirmed his Word by His works. Human beings are created to seek and to know the truth. Believing what is false was the greatest sin that a Jew could commit. John summarized what he saw, heard, touched, and handled, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory . . . full of grace and Truth . . . For the Law was given through Moses; grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1: 14 & 17).
Original Christian settlers in America chose Truth as Harvard’s motto, because it is a central theme in the Gospel of John. Words such as “true” and “truth” appear over 40 times in 21 chapters. Facing crucifixion, Jesus states the rationale for his coming into a world that was lost in darkness of ignorance: “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37) After his resurrection, Jesus baptized his disciples with “the Spirit of Truth” (John 14: 17; 15:26; 16:13) and sent them out as witnesses: truth-tellers.
 
Greeks and Romans had better stories than the Old and New Testaments. Christianity conquered the pagan West because Jesus and his apostles unleashed the power of Truth. It birthed universities and research labs because it was passionate about Truth. Evangelicalism is losing America because although it celebrates grace: it has no hymn to celebrate “Amazing Truth.” It has handed over the “Truth” brand to Secularism.
 
Why did Christian universities (medieval and modern) study culture and nature along with the scriptures? They understood that to know truth we need to read both the book of God’s words as well as the book of God’s works. To the Sadducees who did not believe in resurrection, Jesus said, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matthew 22:28–30).
 
How does one study “the power of God?” The Psalmist says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” (19:1). It was this biblical rationale that prompted Galileo to study the stars.
 
Paul agrees with the Psalmist, “. . . what may be known of God is manifest in them [the pagans], for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead . . .” (Romans 1:19).
 
The current biblical-worldview movement becomes less than biblical when it focuses on the idea that in order to know truth, a believer needs only read the book of God’s words (Special Revelation). The Bible’s own teaching is that a righteous man also studies God’s works (General Revelation) in nature and culture: “Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them” (Psalm 111:2). Christians started science laboratories, planted botanical gardens, and dug up archeological sites and fossils in order to settle scientific issues by studying nature.
 
William Carey, a British cobbler-turned-linguist, came to India and pioneered the modern missionary movement. He was trying to reach oral learners. Therefore, he did for them exactly what God had done for illiterate slaves – given them written texts, not oral stories.
 
In India, cobblers (Carey) repaired shoes and carpenters (Jesus) made ploughs and door-frames. They had no need to learn to read or write. A Protestant cobbler, like a Jewish carpenter, learnt to read because God had given written text. God had also commanded illiterate peasants to write His word on door posts. Every carpenter, shepherd, and fisherman was required to meditate upon the text that God had so graciously given and to teach it to his children. No wonder, synagogues became centers of literacy and the Temple became Israel’s law university.
 
God’s requirements created an intellectual culture in which a 12-year-old Jewish boy, Jesus, was not content with religious festivities. He stayed in the Temple to inquire. Protestantism imbibed this biblical culture and made literacy a universal religious obligation. 
 
It was this version of Protestantism that Carey brought to India. He translated and printed the Bible for those who could not read. . . and began schools. In order to “reach unreached peoples,”[ix] to save their souls, Carey gave to Asia our first vernacular college. It became Serampore University.  Carey, the Bible translator, studied Indian plants, agriculture, and rocks. He taught botany, horticulture, and astronomy. He wrote well-researched essays on agriculture and forestry. 
 
Thankfully, the brand he gave to Christianity still persists. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus who are turning to Christ do not yet realize that much of today’s evangelical Christianity is very different from what 19th-century missions had brought to India. Some Guatemalans, like many converts to “Protestantism” in South and Central America, are confused and disappointed. They are sensing that Christianity they received is not the Protestantism that created history’s greatest nations. Indeed some American missions are simply the beneficiaries of the prestige of the classic brand even though the product they deliver is very different.
 
So, why has Christianity lost its passion for Truth and, therefore, the West? A short answer is because:
 
The Bible-believing Church has turned its sun into a silo
In November 1944, Oxford’s Socratic Club invited C. S. Lewis to speak to them on the topic, “Is Theology Poetry?[x] Since theological treatises are rarely written in verse, the question really was: Do Christians believe creeds because they satisfy their poetic imagination? Or, do Christians believe the Bible because it is true? The topic was selected because Oxford skeptics assumed that while science dealt with reality, Christianity was but a story, catering to believers’ imaginative fantasies.
 
Lewis was an expert on myths and a master storyteller. He knew that the topic “Is Theology Poetry?” implied that biblical theology is mythology, not truth. Lewis shocked his audience by saying that if Christianity he believed in is a story, “then I find that the mythology I believe in is not the one I like the most. I like Greek mythology much better, Irish better still, Norse best of all.” Indeed, anyone who reads the first page of the New Testament would know that if Matthew was writing a story, then he was the worst story-teller in all of history.
While pagan religions were based on stories, Jesus sent out “witnesses” (i.e., truth-tellers) to transform their world. Peter assured the believers that he and other apostles “did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).[xi]
 
Lewis explained that while Christianity dealt with truth, Oxford’s secular cosmology, which assumed that matter alone was real, was simply an academic myth. The secular (pseudo-scientific) myth explained nothing – not even science. Christianity shed real light on tough questions. Right there in Oxford, biblical theology had explained arts and science, myth and morality for centuries. It had guided Europe in matters of meaning, value, and the purpose of life – individual, family, and national.
 
Lewis pointed out that the new academic myth that nature was real but supernature was imaginary, had already admitted that it could not even explain science:  Why random chemical processes in our brains should be trusted to lead us to truth.
 
Lewis didn’t have to belabor that point. His listeners knew that Einstein had conceded that for those who deny supernatural Reason (logos), it was a completely inexplicable “miracle” that random chemical accidents in the human brain do in fact lead us to valid conclusions (truth).[xii]
 
Lewis reminded his audience that he grew up with what historian H. G. Wells called the “Scientific Outlook.” But this very outlook forced Lewis to progress from:
 
Materialism   (“mythical cosmology that matter is the ultimate reality”) to
 
Idealism (Reason that illuminates finite minds must precede matter) and on to
 
Theism (For creation to be rational and for reason to be trustworthy, there had to be a rational creator) . . . and finally to
 
Christ (The Gospel is an eyewitness account that Logos had come as flesh. He was crucified under a named governor and was resurrected on the third day.)
 
Lewis admitted that the so-called Scientific Outlook is real just as dreams are real. However, the world you experience when you are fully awake is more real. This is because in waking stage you can interpret aspects of the dream, but when you are dreaming, you can make sense neither of the dream world nor of the world you experience while awake. Scientism, like dream, explains nothing. Biblical theology (worldview) makes sense of everything – including science.[xiii] 
 
Lewis’ audience was savvy. They knew Nietzsche. They knew that without God the “Scientific Outlook” could not help humanity derive values or laws to regulate our social, economic, or political lives.
 
A century after Nietzsche, the world is just waking up to the realization that the post-Christian America that they trusted as a moral nation is dying. Its secularized capitalism has become what Oliver Stone portrayed in his film Wall Street (1987) and reinforced in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010). The Oscar-winningInside Job documents that (after God’s “death”) Ivy League business schools and Wall Street are so lost that they cannot grasp if “Thou shall not covet,” is superior business principle than “Greed is good.
 
Intellectual, social, and political darkness is engulfing the West because evangelicalism has put God’s word – the sun that illuminated all of life in Protestant nations – into a silo. Lewis concluded his 1944 lecture with words that have become classic:
 
“When I accept Theology I may find difficulties, at this point or that, in harmonising it with some particular truths which are imbedded in the mythical cosmology derived from science. But I can get in, or allow for, science as a whole… If, on the other hand, I swallow the scientific cosmology as a whole, then not only can I not fit in Christianity, but I cannot even fit in science. …And this is to me the final test. This is how I distinguish dreaming and waking. When I am awake I can, in some degree, account for and study my dream. . . But while in the nightmare I could not have fitted in my waking experience. The waking world is judged more real because it can thus contain the dreaming world: the dreaming world is judged less real because it cannot contain the waking one. For the same reason I am certain that in passing from the scientific point of view to the theological, I have passed from dream to waking. Christian theology can fit in science, art, morality, and the sub-Christian religions. The scientific point of view cannot fit in any of these things, not even science itself. I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.” 
 
 Lewis’ concluding statement above paraphrases Psalm 119:130.
 
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
 
By comparing biblical theology to the sun which helps us see everything else, Lewis implied that biblical revelation was a world-and-life-view, not concerned narrowly with our spiritual lives. The consequences of hiding the sun in a spiritual silo are unraveling every facet of American life that was built on the word of God. This essay can only illustrate the fact by looking at the academy.
 
Silofication of Secular Academy
In the summer of 2011, I asked a scientist at one of the world’s greatest universities, “Can you please explain to me the Big Bang? I see small bangs like firecrackers; I watch energy radiating from bombs and nuclear blasts, but none of these radiations seem to acquire mass. What caused the initial blast of energy to transform itself into matter?
 
The professor and his associate consulted for a few minutes before he replied, “This is a question for theoretical physics. They talk about these things. I am the head of applied physics; I’m not really sure of the current consensus on that question: that is, if there is a consensus among theorists.”
 
The department of applied physics does not know the consensus in theoretical physics partly because each academic department is now a distinct silo that puts up barriers for the uninitiated.[xiv] 
 
The West is not losing IQ; nevertheless, the sun is setting on Western academy because without divine revelation it is left with little besides a dangerous mix of human ignorance and ingenuity. Postmodern intellectuals understand that if there is no revelation; if the universe is silent; then universities have to reject all worldviews or grand narratives. Anything imagined by a finite mind cannot possibly be a true overview of reality. No man-made metanarrative could serve as a sun, illuminating all of reality.
 
Lewis described “scientific cosmology” and “universal evolutionism” as “myths” because his contemporary, D. M. S. Watson, the Jodrell Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy at University College, London (1921 to 1951) had admitted publicly that,
 
“Evolution . . .  is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or . . . can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.”
 
The absence of the sun is darkening the university. However, the darkness descended because 20th-century evangelicalism put the Bible into the silo of seminaries and Bible Institutes. Without a sun the church-established universities were left with no option but to turn every academic discipline into a distinct silo. Each department now maintains and asserts its own disciplinary perspective: each with its own logic, compulsion, and authority. Each says and does what is right in its own eye. History departments illustrate the problem: the academy has Black History, Feminist History, Gay History, Native-American History, but little “History” in a historic sense.  History no longer deals with truth. Every “history” is merely a point-of-view. The academy is a football field where points-of-view (vested interests) try to prevail over rivals. Little wonder, current sex scandals are damaging revered universities because the greater gods of football cannot be bound by moral inhibitions of inferior departments.  
 
The church created the university to train godly leaders who will look at all of reality through the light of the Truth (revealed by God’s works and words). Fundamentalism insulated Bible Institutes from other departments to study the Bible alone. It gave up the mission to seek public truth in favor of cultivating private spiritual lives. Once the Bible was put into the silo of Bible Institutes, the Bible teachers were isolated from the public life of the mind.  Preachers memorized the Bible but by and large they did not learn how to meditate upon God’s word in a way to shine its light on all of life.
 
This silofication of the academy that insulates reality from a common light has turned the university into a multiversity marked by intellectual and moral chaos. President Obama’s green agenda collapsed partly because there is no shared basis to enable scientists, economists, environmentalists, industrialists, and politicians to work together to “save” the earth from (alleged) looming environmental catastrophe.
 
Following George Washington, American presidents generally place their hand on the Bible when taking the oath of office. Sadly, however, the Bible no longer guides America. This is not because the Bible has no light, but because, by and large, the church reads the Bible mainly for private edification. Corporately, the Kingdom of Christ has ceased being the city on a hill.
 
Is Resurrection Possible?
The sun can rise on America again. Nothing prevents the church from recovering its obligation to be “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1Timothy 3:15). Baptists, Pentecostals, and Charismatic churches in America have plenty of energy and a pool of competent leaders that is greater than any other religious or non-religious community. That is why their missions have been crowned with remarkable success.
 
Yesterday, it took a denomination to establish a university. Today, thanks to technology, every local church can double as a college classroom, offering Truth and mentoring godly character as students obtain an accredited degree. A class no longer needs a professor. On cell phones, students can listen to multiple experts on any given subject. They can access hundreds of libraries and meet with a professor who may be on another continent.
 
America has about 100 Christian universities and colleges: collectively they disciple about 200,000 students every year. Those same universities can disciple 3–5 million students annually. What they have to do is to:
 
  • Pool their best talent to create world’s best curriculum
  • Make that curriculum available to the whole world for free
  • Train academic pastors to manage face-to-face classes in 100,000 local churches.
  • Equip academic pastors to mobilize locally available intellectual resources, industries, businesses, and service agencies to mentor future citizens and leaders.
  • In partnership with public, for profit, and non-profit service agencies train students to love their neighbors as themselves in order to become servant leaders.
  • As necessary, send students to university campuses or other church-based colleges to take short, intensive courses to learn what cannot be taught locally.
 
Using such an approach Christian universities can increase their enrollment from 200,000 to 2 million, and lower student-fee to 50%–75%. This will make it possible for poor students to access best college education, vocational training, servant-leadership, godly character, and life skills.
 
If students were educated to become shepherds by serving local community, the church would launch an education revolution, which will restore Christianity’s brand of Truth and Grace.
 
This movement has begun in some countries and in February 2012 a committee may be formed to initiate the effort to revitalize America.[xv]

 

 


[i] “Why Christianity Lost America” is the working title of my proposed book.  
[ii]PEW Forum on Religion and Public Life/US Religious Landscape Survey – http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report-religious-landscape-study-full.pdf#page=61
[iii]The study counts Baptists and Pentecostals as evangelical Protestants. For the purposes of this study, traditional black churches and Jehovah Witnesses are counted as Christian, but distinct from evangelicals.
 
[iv]Not all “Protestant” churches were Protestant in the same sense. Pew study allows people to define themselves. So, even if a person never goes to a Mass, but calls himself a Roman Catholic, the Study categorizes him as an RC.
 
[v]St. Andrews, started by a Presbyterian, is a great university run by good Roman Catholics.
 
[vi] My proposed book will study seven factors why Christianity lost America.
 
[vii] My proposed book will explore these developments in more detail.
[viii]A pilgrim in Jerusalem over the first Good Friday could not understand God’s work on the cross without someone explaining Isaiah 53 to him. Nor did the words of Isaiah 53 mean anything to a devout Ethiopian Eunuch without Philip relating those words to the work on the cross (Acts 8:26–28)
[ix]Carey, of course, did not use the language of “reaching unreached people groups.” This is American vocabulary, born of questionable eschatological assumptions such as: Jesus is waiting not for his enemies to be made his footstool (1 Corinthians 15: 24–26; Hebrews 10:12–13) but for the last unreached people-group to be reached (Matthew 24:14). A chapter in my proposed book will examine these eschatological assumptions and their role in the decline of American Christianity.
[x]C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (Touchstone, NY, 1980) pp. 90–106.
 
[xi]Jesus told parables as well as what Francis Schaeffer called “true truth” (“truly, truly I say unto you.”). From day one, Christians have communicated the Gospel orally. In 1957–58, when I was a child, I attended Sunday Schools where Bible Women taught us Bible stories using flannel graphs. So why have American missions suddenly rediscovered storying? It is promoted as a strategy to hasten the Second Coming by quickly reaching the illiterate “unreached,” but at a deeper level it is a surrender to Joseph Campbell who is now taught in every American university. Campbell is the intellectual guru to storytellers such as George Lucas, Dan Brown, and James Cameron. Following Carl Jung, Campbell taught that since the Enlightenment has failed, since the human mind cannot know the Truth, story is all that we can have. All religions are stories and the 21st century needs better stories. My new book will explore this theme.
 
[xii]For further discussion see chapters 3 and 6 in The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization (Thomas Nelson, 2011).
[xiii]See chapter 13, “Science: What Is Its Source” in The Book That Made Your World.
[xiv]Universities are deeply concerned about this problem and make plenty of efforts to promote inter-disciplinary studies. Such studies cannot help much unless a student has a coherent worldview with which to evaluate everything that she studies. It is not surprising that professors with a self-consciously biblical worldview find that often they are better equipped than their secular colleagues to interact across disciplines.
 
[xv] The movement will soon develop its own website, meanwhile you can follow this education revolution on http://www.RevelationMovement.com
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