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Census and Sensibility

By Mitiku Adisu Ethiopian intellectuals have a history of wishing to have their cake and eat it too. They want to do away with religion or grant recognition only to Orthodox Christianity. They are relentless in wanting to deny space to Protestant Christians while decrying democratic and human rights are not being respected in Ethiopia. They equate Protestantism [which is centered on the Person of Jesus Christ and testimony of scripture] with an alien disuniting force to simply overlook the diversity and relative unity one witnessed in the country. Not infrequently, the argument turns to separation of church and state but invariably seeks to usurp the sacred to advance a secular, ethnic or ideological agenda. One reason for such a confused stance is that many refuse to make intellectual commitment to Christ or do not quite understand the essence of Christianity [be it Orthodox or Protestant] beyond unsubstantiated word of mouth. In other words, Ethiopian intellectuals gener

Indifference

WHEN Jesus came to Golgotha they hanged Him on a tree, They drave great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary; They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep, For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap. When Jesus came to Birmingham they simply passed Him by, They never hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die; For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain, They only just passed down the street, and left Him in the rain. Still Jesus cried, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do," And still it rained the wintry rain that drenched Him through and through; The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see, And Jesus crouched against a wall and cried for Calvary. [G. A. STUDDERT KENNEDY, 1927]

Repent, Restore

Ethiopia's former prime minister Tamrat Layne was freed just few days ago after serving twelve of eighteen-year jail term. According to news report he was involved in major corruption scandal. What is interesting is that he came out of prison a transformed person. He was a criminal and a communist going in; he now publicly confesses he is a Christian. Certainly, some of us are familiar with a story like that. Indeed, brother Tamrat must have outgrown his atheism to let Christ the Savior find him. What is even more sobering is the remark that his one regret in life was his atheism. Now that is repentance. But repentance needs to be followed up by restoration. Any misappropriated funds should be restored and public apologies issued. [see Luke 19: 8] Equally appropriate may be a book retelling his journey from unfaith to faith. In the meantime, our prayers are with him and his family as they regroup once again to face the future. Godspeed.

The Times They Are a Changin'

So much is going on. What was unthinkable just a few months ago is now a reality. Job security for many is slipping away. Home foreclosures are sharply on the rise. Rumors are of wars and the breach of trust. We could go on. In the midst of all this we are once again reminded to meditate on Jesus. Mary could not find a place to deliver him; and he was born in a stable. He had said, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head?" At his death he was buried in a borrowed grave. He came offering himself -- as a peace offering in a troubled world, to troubled hearts. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus knows what homelessness, hunger, ridicule, and death are and because of that "he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near t

In the Beginning

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

Silent Night, Holy Night

Silent night, Holy night All is calm, all is bright Round yon Virgin Mother and Child Holy Infant so tender and mild Sleep in Heavenly peace Sleep in Heavenly peace Silent night, Holy night Shepherds quake at the sight Glories stream from Heaven afar Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah Christ, the Savior is born Christ, the Savior is born Silent night, Holy night Son of God, love’s pure light Radiant beams from thy Holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace Jesus, Lord, at thy birth Jesus, Lord, at thy birth

What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ?

"‘What are we to make of Jesus Christ?’ This is a question, which has, in a sense, a frantically comic side. For the real question is not what are we to make of Christ, but what is He to make of us? The picture of a fly sitting deciding what it is going to make of an elephant has comic elements about it. But perhaps the questioner meant what are we to make of Him in the sense of ‘How are we to solve the historical problem set us by the recorded sayings and acts of this Man?’ This problem is to reconcile two things. On the one hand you have got the almost generally admitted depth and sanity of His moral teaching, which is not very seriously questioned, even by those who are opposed to Christianity. In fact, I find when I am arguing with very anti-God people that they rather make a point of saying, ‘I am entirely in favour of the moral teaching of Christianity’ — and there seems to be a general agreement that in the teaching of this Man and of His immediate followers, moral truth is

Jesus the Christ Child is here

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirin'i-us was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will com

Census, Religion, and Ethiopians

Census, Religion, and Ethiopians By Mitiku Adisu A 2007 Census approved by Parliament yesterday has new figures out. Not including those living abroad Ethiopians now number about 77 million [though a UN estimation is higher by more than 4 million.] The report also says, The Christian population rose to more than 46 million, or 62 percent of the population, up from 32.7 million in 1994. The census highlights a decrease in the number of Orthodox Christians, traditionally the dominant church in Ethiopia. They now comprise 43.5 percent of the population, as against just over 50 percent in 1994. The erosion is mainly due to the rising influence of Pentecostal churches in the country. Membership of Protestant churches as a whole has increased from 5.4 million to 13.7 million. What is interesting in the above statement is the choice of the word "erosion" to explain decline in membership in the Orthodox church. Why people are not part of a church community or p

Lemn and Native Culture

Prince Alemayehu at age 7  Adopting children outside their native culture does present some difficulties. How those difficulties are handled could depend on (a) the quality of the community to which the adoptive child is introduced and (b) how culturally aware the new parents are, etc. Prince Alemayehu's story is certainly a sad one. He was kidnapped by British invading forces and later died in custody. One way to prepare for the road ahead is to share stories of adoptive parents and their grown-up children. Please send us yours. Here is the story of the prolific poet Lemn Sissay for today: "When somebody takes a child from their native culture, that is in itself an act of aggression. People will often say, love is all you need." More . Let There Be Peace Lemn Sissay Let there be peace So frowns fly from foreheads Like seagulls from cliff edges So war correspondents become travel show presenters And magpies bring back lost property C

First Responders

Ethiopia is a land plagued by myriad of problems. Natural resources are all around but not always well-coordinated. Often needs are not well-articulated. This is not to say people are not resourceful. Indeed, it is amazing how creative people are considering the odds stacked against them. One inexhaustible resource Ethiopians possess is their faith in God. እርሱ ያውቃል Ersu yawQal The Lord is aware of this or that . Alas, over the past several decades, there have been a gradual erosion of faith in one another. Here then is where a real revival is needed. And churches should take the leadership in this. In other words, Ethiopians should not lose hope and turn over their responsibilities to outsiders. Well-meaning expatriate groups also need to reassess their role with the view to strengthening local initiatives and capabilities. This is especially so in the way orphaned and homeless children are being cared for. 

Ethiopian Cinderella Story?

Ethiopian Cinderella Story? by Mitiku Adisu  A brother Melaku Tesfaye has written an interesting article entitled, "Ethiopia - From Mengistu's Dungeons to Addis Stadium: An Ethiopian Cinderella story." In the article, Mr. Melaku a/ recounts the harsh treatment Ethiopian Protestant Christians received at the hands of the Derg (though he should also have included Emperor Haileselassie's regime to the list) b/ praises God and current authorities for the "miracle" of freedom of worship and c/ gently suggests that "there is so much more to do." Here then is our assessment of the article: 1. As far as we can tell, the opinion contained in the article is solely that of brother Melaku and not those of the Kale Hiwot church or Protestant churches in general. Brother Melaku as a private citizen and as a Christian (if he so wishes to identify himself) is entitled to such an opinion. Readers should resist the temptation of prejudging Ethiopian Protest

"Born Believers"

Children are "born believers" in God and do not simply acquire religious beliefs through indoctrination, according to an academic. Dr Justin Barrett, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford's Centre for Anthropology and Mind, claims that young people have a predisposition to believe in a supreme being because they assume that everything in the world was created with a purpose. He says that young children have faith even when they have not been taught about it by family or at school, and argues that even those raised alone on a desert island would come to believe in God. "The preponderance of scientific evidence for the past 10 years or so has shown that a lot more seems to be built into the natural development of children's minds than we once thought, including a predisposition to see the natural world as designed and purposeful and that some kind of intelligent being is behind that purpose," he told BBC Radio 4's Today prog

Obama Adoption

We've heard enough times that Obama's dad was black and his mom white and that he was raised by his white grandma. Now that Obama has won the US presidency and wants us all not to dwell on our 'blackness' or 'whiteness' [but on our American-ness and our human-ness] how is this going to affect the thorny issue of inter-racial adoption? Will Obama's presidency usher in the heyday for international adoptions? The quick answer is 'we don't know.' However, we do know that it is simply not in human nature to change so fast from institutionalized identities to take on new ones no matter how attractive the rhetoric sounds. So, let us wait until the dust settles. Also, Obama is not only inter-racial but inter-national. Kenya. Kansas. Indonesia. Hawaii. And Kenya borders Ethiopia to the north. Adoption of Ethiopian children has dramatically evolved over the past few years. First, the government of Ethiopia has allowed private agencies to operate such serv

Thanks. AmasagNalau አመሰግናለሁ

Are Ethiopians a thankful lot? How often do we show gratitude? Do we tend to assume we deserve the good in life? The answer to these questions can be vexing. So what do we do? Well, we could sit around and complain. We could also listen to Scripture and be reminded about showing gratitude to God and to fellow humans. There is always room for improvement, of course; and it's never too late. If only we could commit to "live and move and have our being" in God, we certainly would Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. [Psalm 100: 1-5] Go ahead and thank someone. አመሰግናለ

A Good Translator of the Word

credit: OS James William Hammock - or Brother Jim, as he referred to himself -- touched the lives of many around him. From the churches where he ministered for more than 30 years to his missionary work in Nicaragua and Ethiopia, he lived his beliefs through his actions... In 2001, Hammock was the founding pastor of Compass Community Church in Apopka. The church developed a world vision, and Hammock led teams to Nicaragua, to build a mission school, and to Ethiopia, to drill a well for water. He referred to his ministry at Compass as "planting a tree under whose shade you will never sit." More here .

What is it you are looking for?

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. [Gospel of Matthew 13:44-45] What is it you are looking for? Or may be you are running away from God ... Well, stop . Turn around and let him find you. I FLED Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the arches of the years; I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears I hid from Him, and under running laughter. Up vistaed hopes I sped; And shot, precipitated, Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears, From those strong Feet that followed, followed after. But with unhurrying chase, And unperturbèd pace, Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, They beat—and a Voice beat More instant than the Feet— ‘All things be

Maranatha!

ማራናታ! Maranatha! For those of you who haven't yet heard, it is with great sadness that we share the passing of Evangelist Ato Mesfin Tesfaye this past October. All who knew him remember his boldness and the clarity with which he preached the Gospel, his "Maranatha!" trademark, and his love for books. He was rarely seen without a book in hand. In fact, we are told, he often missed his plane as a result of being totally engrossed in a book. Our deepest condolences and prayers go to the family. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Write, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them." [Book of Revelation 14:13] You may read a sketch of his life in the Dictionary of African Christian Biography . We have also dedicated a book review of the Amharic translation of Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life in Eth

To Talk or Not To Talk

By Mitiku Adisu Someone talking and walking behind me. I turn around hoping his words are directed at me. Nope. The fellow is talking on his cell phone to someone over there. The next day, I see a friend walking ahead of me and hasten to catch up. I slow down close behind him not wanting to interrupt his conversation. Apparently, he had seen me before I did and knowing I was close behind was actually talking to me. How am I supposed to know all that?

Do Not Worry

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek f

Abortion, Adoption

"In almost the entire continent, ending a pregnancy without some extenuating circumstances is illegal. Ethiopia recently liberalized its law, but performing a routine abortion remains a criminal act, punishable by up to three years in prison. Pressure from anti-abortion activists purportedly trained in the United States blocked efforts at further liberalization. A ban on the books is one thing. Reality is another. Women determined to end their pregnancies will find a way, sometimes with devastating consequences ... " Abortion is a sensitive and politically-charged issue. In the US it is tinged by race and political ideology. In a recent interview with Pastor Rick Warren, the responses of the two presidential nominees, Obama and McCain, is instructive. In Ethiopia, however, the boundaries regarding life matters is pretty much clearly defined [marriage is between male and female; terminating life is wrong, etc.] Looked at from this vantage point, there seems to be a complete

Truth and Light

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. Gospel of John3:16-21

Trust and Distrust

"Religious organizations are the only national entities to garner trust from a majority of respondents (68%) ...The national government garners trust from just 28% of Ethiopians, and the judiciary fares as poorly, eliciting confidence from about one-quarter of respondents. But participatory politics prompt the lowest levels of trust, as only 13% of Ethiopians have confidence in the honesty of elections." Thus goes another depressing poll conducted by Gallup in 2007. What is interesting is that the church is/ought to be the glue in a society fragmented along ethnic, class, gender, and generation lines. Here then is a great opportunity for the church to build and provide institutional leadership. To provide leadership based on a decidedly Christian ethics, however, requires that churches work hard to gain the trust of society at large. To gain trust one needs to identify with mores the public relates to; to not get caught up in worldly and alienating cultures, and

Religion in Global Affairs

The importance of religion in international development is gaining wider recognition by governments and multilateral agencies alike in recent years. The World Bank routinely talks about Faith and Development and has not shied away from funding religious groups. The fact that the religious and the secular are not compartmentalized as in Western societies could mean the West has finally grasped the realities of the majority world. The challenge will now be how not to impose a studied (and not lived) understanding of religiosity coming out of theological and academic centers. If not handled with care and in consultation with native traditions we may end up worse than our experiences of the past. Here is an excerpt: “The secular world is very unique to the U.S.”Development work doesn’t have to fly in the face of religious traditions, he added. Natsios recounted a project in Ethiopia for HIV prevention that used church and mosque leaders to promote marital faithfulness, which fell in place

Church Fills Gap

"Ethiopia's Kale Heywet Church – which fields 6,000 congregations and more than 5 million individual members - is the largest local provider of antiretroviral drugs for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV ... "

The Unjust Steward

Jesus told his disciples: "There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.' "The manager said to himself, 'What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I'm not strong enough to dig, and I'm ashamed to beg— I know what I'll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.' "So he called in each one of his master's debtors. He asked the first, 'How much do you owe my master?' " 'Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,' he replied. "The manager told him, 'Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.' "Then he asked the second, 'And how much do you owe?' " 'A thousand bushels of wheat,' he replied. "He told him, 'Take your bill and make it eight hundred.

Green Bible, Greener Faith?

 Green Bible, Greener Faith? By Mitiku Adisu The environment is now the rage. The way things are going, a Christian in Butajira, Ethiopia, would think it must be the dawn of Creation in America. Of the Green Bible (GB) where references to land, sky, rivers, etc. are in green letters, it is commented, This is the book we've been waiting for. Essential for anyone interested in a biblical basis for humane and sustainable living; (how about a quick translation for poor Africans?) The GB is a unique treasure -- The Sierra Club (a secular, political-environmental group) This is quite a contrast to thirty years ago. Thirty years ago Ron Sider's Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger (1977, IVP) provoked such a strong reaction that some had called him "a closet socialist"(which even in a post-Cold War world is a serious indictment). Earlier (1970) the late-Francis Schaeffer wrote Pollution and the Death of Man and few cared to even listen to him. Schaeffer

The Rich Fool

The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, 'You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God. [Luke 12: 13-21]

The Visible Hand

We have been hearing a lot, lately, about Interfaith Peacebuilding Initiatives (IPI) and the effort to bring together different faith communities in Ethiopia and around the world. A recent Memorandum of Understanding signed on July 24, 2008 states that The Peace Council is established by representatives from Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Ethiopian Islamic Supreme Council, Ethiopian Catholic Church, Ethiopian Evangelical Mekane Yesus Church, the Baha'i Faith and Interfaith Peace-building Initiative ... It is also agreed by all parties that Interfaith Peace-building Initiative will serve as the coordinator of the newly established Peace council. IPI, we learn, is a member of United Religions Initiatives (URI) and closely works with Council for a Parliament of the Worlds Religions . URI has links with United Nations organization and operates in several member nations. The Ethiopian government "through the Ministry of Justice and regional state authorities, continued to support the

A Little Humility From Global North

A Little Humility From Global North by Ethan Cole   Christian leaders from around the world recently met in Dallas to share how the American church is viewed by believers in the Global South. Many of the more than a hundred pastors gathered noted that though the support of the U.S. church is still needed, American Christians should understand and help foster local leadership instead of imposing its own model of church overseas. The Rev. Reuben Ezemadu of Nigeria, continental director of the Movement of African National Initiatives, said that it seemed that U.S. Christians in the past 15 to 20 years were trying to force its own church structures on the Global South, but that that hasn't worked. The African leader asked Americans to recognize the maturity and intelligence of other cultures, and called on American Christians to play a supporting role and allow Africans to take leadership roles. Similarly, David Ruiz of Guatemala, associate director of the World Evangelical

Religious Freedom

Here is how the Ethiopian government organ, Walta , re-arranged "International Religious Freedom Report 2008" put out by US State Department: The U.S Department of State said the Ethiopian government respects religious freedom in practice ... The law at all levels protects this right in full against abuse, either by governmental or private actors ...The Government, through the Ministry of Justice and regional state authorities, continued to support the Interfaith Peace-Building Initiative, the report added. And here is the actual document before Walta transformed it into a propaganda tool. Protestants reported inequities in treatment and access by local officials when seeking land for churches and cemeteries. Evangelical leaders felt that as perceived newcomers, they remained disadvantaged in the allocation of land compared with the EOC and the EIASC. The EIASC ... was favored for mosque locations ...The Meserte Kristos/Mennonite Church, Mekane Yesus Church, Seventh-day Adven

The Father and the Two Lost Sons

There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father. But while he was

The Royal Month, Maskaram

  The Royal Month, Maskaram መስከረም By Mitiku Adisu   The month of Maskaram reigns royal in Ethiopia--preceded without fail by heat waves and a dry spell. And then come the heavy rains. Unlike other months Maskaram is also known for keeping its admiring subjects at bay five whole days (six each leap year) before it opens wide its gates. And while you wait you review the past, rehearse buh é and hoya hoy é and enjoy mul mul for appetizer. Immediately you pass through the gates (if you are lucky) you find all kinds of goodies waiting for you: enqutatash wrapped in the New Year; nosegays for your godparents, colored pencil drawings for your favorite uncle and so on. An air of expectancy permeates the  sun, the moon, the nights, the days, a gust of wind and adoring  ad éy flowers. Conversations take a new turn for what seems days on end. Nkwan adarasawo Nkwan adarasachew Nkwan adarasash, Nkwan adarasah Nkwan adarasan Ymasgun Maskaram is that time of the year when Nature

Church's prayer to beat crunch

Wealthy nations are fighting for dear economic life as they continue to see their pride and once unshakeable financial institutions crumble under the weight of corruption, mismanagement, and greed. The time of reckoning is here and its reverbrations will be felt across the developing world. Global fight against poverty and diseases will certainly be affected, if not take the backseat. Christian churches in the northern hemisphere are now calling members to prayer . May be they should have done more to speak up on the immorality of un-Christian consumption habits. No one is able to predict events about to unfold. The best minds appear to be groping in the dark. Could it be that the present world crisis is God's way of speaking to us? That we lose much by distancing ourselves from him and that we need to return to him so he can restore our moral moorings. Think about that.

Books and Evangelicals

Books and Evangelicals By Mitiku Adisu Recently, Christianity Today (CT, October 2006) put out its selection of The Top 50 Books published since the end of World War II that have shaped the ‘prayer, worship, witness, lifestyle, social action, church life’ of U.S. evangelicals. In prefacing the selection, the editors rightly acknowledged that “people and movements can be defined by the books they read and remember” and that the selections were made “with some trepidation” and after a vigorous debate. It is understandable that a task of this nature rarely elicits unanimity. However, we found it intriguing that the selection did not include a single book by authors from Africa, Asia, or Latin America. We do remember, to cite but one example, how Latin American “liberation” theologians (Gutierrez, et al) forced theologians in the northern hemisphere to rethink their view of church and society (see papers presented by missiologists Escobar and Costas at Lausanne 1974). In our opin

Bluetooth or Prayer

By Mitiku Adisu When you saw your elders mumbling you knew they were in the middle of offering a prayer. You did not want to interrupt; you respectfully stepped aside. This was before the 1974 Ethiopian revolution outlawed prayer and such altogether. No one had the courage then to admit prayer was the one thing revolutionists could not control and hence dreaded the most. At the height of the revolution you came across more and more people talking to themselves. It could be some were faking it. You did not want to take chances; you moved over pretending to have not noticed or heard a thing. Present-day Ethiopia has fewer and fewer of its elder citizens around. Now a youthful generation is torn between the past and the future or perhaps wedged between a whisper and a noise. In America you often saw a silhouette of a lone figure seated on a park bench or taking a casual stroll. As you drew closer you heard what sounded like a faint conversation. Could this be some prayer or

The Excitement of Hope

... The apostle Paul was apparently as fond of athletic competition as we are, and he often used it to impart spiritual lessons: "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training" (1 Cor. 9:25-27). "If anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules" (2 Tim. 2:5). Similarly, Olympians are examples of Christian hope—with some important differences. Christian hope, for example, does not have to filter out all that negativity, but in fact absorbs it and redeems it through Christ's death and resurrection. Our hope—for salvation and redemption and the kingdom fully realized—is not grounded in thoughts of our invincibility but of our vulnerability more..

Just Wondering...

.... how folks back home are doing this New Year's day.

Wishing You Hope and Peace in the New Year

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor-theologian who spoke truth to power and as a consequence was jailed in 1943 and two years later executed by hanging. Here is the 7th stanza of a poem he wrote from his prison cell for the New Year shortly before his death. While all the powers of good aid and attend us, boldly we'll face the future, be it what may. At even, and at morn, God will befriend us, and oh, most surely on each new year’s day.