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Showing posts from October, 2008

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) is another. 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 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. Schaef

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