Religion Resources Updates

Ever since my ADRIS Newsletter days, I’ve become more intrigued by economic and sociological data around the practices of global Christianity, my particular tribe (especially the economics of denominationalism, but I digress). News arrived via the Evangelical Studies Bulletin that the Wheaton College is closing the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals and that the Missions Dissertation Database formerly hosted at Yale will be moving to the Overseas Ministries Studies Center.

I learned earlier this year that Nicholas Holland had bought the building that formerly housed the Glenmary Research Center (said Center has moved to Cincinnati, OH).

The Alban Institute has recently relocated to Duke University.

Gary Holloway Appeals on behalf of World Convention

December, 2011

Dear partner in Christian unity:

Great news! Thanks to a generous donor, if you give to World Convention by the end of December, your gift will be matched up to $10,000!

So even if you have already given this year, I ask you to give again. If you have thought of giving but have not, now would be a great time.

These gifts will assist people like Martin Phiri. For years he has worked faithfully as a minister in Kenya, tirelessly spreading the good news of Jesus. With few resources, he is managing (with God’s help) to produce a self-sustaining ministry. What is more, he is on the board of World Convention.

But he does not have the resources to attend our Global Gathering in Brazil next year.

And he is not alone. From Latin America, Asia, and other parts of Africa, we receive numerous requests for assistance to attend the Gathering.

That is why I write you. The question is “Are we a World Convention?” Or are we only a first world convention? Will we have a Global Gathering? Or just a gathering of Brazilians and those from North America, Australia, and other places who can afford to come?

For the next eight months, all donations to World Convention in excess of our annual expenses will go toward funding travel grants to those who want to attend the Global Gathering.

Last week I heard a presentation on the shift of Christian numbers to the Global South. There are now more Christians, and more members of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Latin America, Africa, and Asia than there are in North America and Europe. Yet the overwhelming amount of financial resources is still in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Will we share with our brothers and sisters in need? One way to do that is to give generously to World Convention, to allow us to see them face-to-face in Goiania.

I hope you have registered to attend the Global Gathering. If so, would you help make it possible for others? If you cannot personally attend, you can be there in the person of a brother or sister from another part of God’s world. And whatever gift you give supports our continuing ministry of Christian unity.

God is at work among us! He asks us to join in his work worldwide.

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Mission Alive believes that church planting and church renewal must

  • demonstrate the in-breaking of the kingdom of God into contemporary social fabrics so that God’s will “is done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
  • replicate the simple patterns of equipping and sending illustrated by the ministry of Jesus (Luke 10:1-9; John 20:21).
  • embody the incarnation of Christ so that the gospel comes near to sojourners, that is, “spiritually curious but disoriented God seekers” (The Tangible Kingdom, p. 116).
  • refocus the church from a hierarchical, modern pyramid, with religious leaders providing goods and services to the already saved, to a missional wedge sending maturing disciples to serve and speak to the unsaved.
  • move intentionally from theology to spiritually-formative practices to redemptive structures.
  • Mission Alive exists “to discover, equip, and nurture church-planting leaders who will plant Christ-formed churches in suburbs, city centers, poverty areas, and university contexts with unbelievers as the primary target and to partner with churches to plant churches”  We do this by (1) equipping church planters through Discovery, Theology, and Strategy labs, (2) providing church planter care through coaching, spiritual direction, church planter forums, retreats, and conferences, and (3) partnering with churches in missional renewal and church planting.

    Missional renewal of local churches takes place in a ministry called reVISION—Initiative for Missional Transformation.  ReVISION is designed to walk with leaders of existing churches as they pray, think, and plan for leading their churches to more fully express the Mission of God in their communities.  As part of reVISION, ministry leaders and shepherds participate in the Theology and Strategy Labs and take these missional moves to their full church leadership.  Mission Alive then works personally in post-lab orientation(s) to help them reVISION the mission of God and practically equip them to participate in His mission in their communities.

    Currently 15 church planting movements are emerging in six states.

    Learn about missional church planting through this video.

    5th International Digital Curation Conference “Moving to Multi-Scale Science: Managing Complexity and Diversity” Call for Papers

    We invite submission of full papers, posters, workshops and demos and welcome contributions and participation from individuals, organisations and institutions across all disciplines and domains that are engaged in the creation, use and management of digital data, especially those involved in the challenge of curating data for e-science and e-research.

    Proposals will be considered for short (up to 6 pages) or long (up to 12 pages) papers and also for demonstrations, workshops and posters. The full text of papers will be peer-reviewed; abstracts for all posters, workshops and demos will be reviewed by the co-chairs. Final copy of accepted contributions will be made available to conference delegates, and papers will be published in our International Journal of Digital Curation. Accordingly, we recommend that you download our template and
    read the advice on its use
    .

    Papers should be original and innovative, probably analytical in approach, and should present or reference significant evidence (whether experimental, observational or textual) to support their conclusions.

    Subject matter could be policy, strategic, operational, experimental, infrastructural, tool-based, and so on, in nature, but the key elements are originality and evidence. Layout and structure should be appropriate for the disciplinary area. Papers should not have been published in their current or a very similar form before, other than as a pre-print in a repository.

    We seek papers that respond to the main themes of the conference: multi-scale, multi-discipline, multi-skill and multi-sector, and that relate to the creation, curation, management and re-use of research data. Research data should be interpreted broadly to include the digital subjects of all types of research and scholarship (including Arts and Humanities, and all the Sciences). Papers may cover:

    • Curation practice and data management at the extremes of scale (e.g. interactions between small science and big science, or extremes of object size, numbers of objects, rates of deposit and use)
    • Challenging content: (e.g. addressing issues of data complexity, diversity and granularity)
    • Curation and e-research, including contextual, provenance, authenticity and other metadata for curation (e.g. automated systems for acquiring such metadata)
    • Research data infrastructures, including data repositories and services
    • Disciplinary and inter-disciplinary curation challenges and data management approaches, standards and norms
    • Promoting, enabling, demonstrating and characterizing the re-use of data
    • Semantically rich documents (e.g. the “well-supported article”)
    • The human infrastructure for curation (e.g. skills, careers, training and organisational support structures, careers, skills, training and curriculum)
    • Curation across academia, government, commerce and industry
    • Legal and policy issues; Creative Commons, special licences, the public domain and other approaches for re-use, and questions of privacy, consent, and embargo
    • Sustainability and economics: understanding business and financial models; balancing costs, benefits and value of digital curation

    Important Dates

    • Submission of papers for peer-review: 24 July 2009
    • Submission of abstracts posters/demos/workshops: 24 July 2009
    • Notification of authors of papers: 18 September 2009
    • Notification of authors of posters/demos/workshops: 2 October 2009
    • Final papers deadline: 13 November 2009
    • Final posters deadline: 13 November 2009

    Baptism in the Early Church: History, Theology, and Liturgy in the First Five Centuries

    <ed.note>Mark and I were housemates at ACU.</ed.note>

    Dr. Everett Ferguson, professor emeritus of church history at ACU, has just released a major book from Eerdmans, “Baptism in the Early Church: History, Theology, and Liturgy in the First Five Centuries.” To celebrate the launch of this book, the Graduate School of Theology is hosting a reception on April 28 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 115 of the Biblical Studies building. Professor Ferguson will give a brief talk entitled “Baptism: what I learned and what surprised me.” Refreshments will follow. Books will be available for sale, and we are sure that Dr. Ferguson will sign as many as you like!

    We will be delighted to see you at this event honoring the research of one of ACU’s most illustrious professors. Come be part of this significant moment.

    Blessings,

    Dr. Mark W. Hamilton
    Associate Professor of Old Testament and
    Associate Dean
    Graduate School of Theology
    Abilene Christian University
    Abilene, TX 79699
    Editor, The Transforming Word
    http://www.transformingwordcommentary.com

    Bontha Esudas on an Indian Christian School and Children Home

    India has been placed in a special position in the world and is
    becoming an economically rich country. This development is limited to a
    select group of rich Hindu in the country. The Rich higher caste people
    are receiving educations while the lower caste are being denied these
    opportunities. There are many challenges borne by Christians and lower
    cast people. Special quality education, health and common needs are
    limited to select groups only. Education and Healthcare have become
    thriving businesses. The more fortunate people sell education and
    Healthcare for a cost that the Christians and lower caste citizens
    cannot afford. Education is in the hands of Hindu higher cast people.
    Many private or corporate schools have been established and they are
    collecting large amounts of money to get quality teachers and are able
    to provide a good education to those who are able to afford it. This is
    a great problem for the Christians and Lower caste people because they
    cannot afford this education.

    Why we have Established a Christian School and Children Home:

    1. Christian parents are uneducated and cannot teach their children.

    2. They live in rural areas and are agricultural laborers.

    3. Their incomes are very low and suffer from extreme poverty.

    4. Education is financially unattainable.

    5. Poor children contribute to feeding the family. The opportunity cost
    of sending a child to school is more than a family can endure.

    6. Christians and the poor are at the mercy of higher cast people for jobs and wages.

    Most of the Christians are lower cast people in India. Because of
    widespread poverty and illiteracy, the church cannot became self
    supportive. Many missionaries are trying to do good works and
    evangelizing India. Due to poverty churches who depend on foreign
    support disappear daily. As Christians become educated they will become
    healthier and wealthier people. So they will be able to support the
    church through the contribution thereby causing the church to be self
    supportive.

    Challenges of establishing a Christian School and Children Home:

    A school capable of this will not be established in a short time frame.
    And it will not be possible to do it with a single man. This is going
    to require the hard work, patience, time and dedication of many people
    working together. There are few basic needs in order to start a
    Christian School and children's home. A Christian school has been
    started by Esudas thanks to the generosity of his supporters but it has
    a long way to go in order to meet the goals set before it.

    We are in need of 3 main things on a continual basis.

    1. Physical Resources. There are physical needs like land, buildings,
    furniture, play ground equipment and other items for teaching purposes.
    Most of these things are in the hands of the Hindus now and cannot be
    obtained by the lower caste people.

    2. Human Resources. There is a need of staff fulfilling positions of
    headmaster, superintendent, teachers, clerk, night watchman, janitor,
    cook and other workers.

    3. Financial need. We need to find supporters who will fund all of the
    things we plan to achieve on an ongoing basis. Small, medium, and large
    donations will be useful. We are able to purchase many things for very
    little money; with a single cent we can purchase a slate pencil.

    School and Home plan:

    The School plan acts as an important role in the quality education. For
    the quality education we need to have a good atmosphere and location.
    If the atmosphere is good children will be attentive and studious.

    1. Facilities will have an affect on children's health.

    2. School plan needs to outline the running of the school in right manner.

    3. Adequate facilities ensure efficient learning.

    Different requirements of Christian School and Home plan:

    1. Class Rooms: We have to construct the class rooms based on the
    number of students. Correct size and ventilation are very important.
    Thanks to the contributions of many, this process has only just begun.

    2. Staff Room: We have to have staff room for the school to function at
    a high level. The room will be useful as a break room and resource room
    to prepare lessons. The teachers will keep their books, other valuable
    things in that room.

    3. Principal room: The principal will be there to organize the school
    and to take care of the children. This room will serve as an office.

    4. Front Office room: All of the administration things like record keeping. The Clerk and all other files will be in that room.

    5. Toilets: We need to construct toilets on the basis of students.

    6. Library room: A library is needed for the students to research for reports.

    7. Rooms for Children home. We will need a room for boys and a room for girls and one room kitchen and dining hall.

    It requires much hard work to see it come into existence. If we have all of these items then we will have reached our goal.

    Who we Consider as Orphans

    The groups we are trying to reach are the marginally poor, living
    outside mainstream society, and illiterates. We are also trying to
    reach those families that can afford to offer a meal once a day and
    those who are able to send their children to school. If we can bring
    these children into our fold and then train and nurture them in the
    Gospel from childhood we will have reached three generations of
    Christians.

    The new school has started with a limited number of students, few
    teachers, and little funds, so it will start small and will, Lord
    willing, grow each year so that it will become a large school in the
    future. We have started with basic school with three primary grades.
    The grades include LKG, UKG and 1st Class or in the United States
    kindergarten, first and second grade. We hope to add one class per year
    and build a new classroom for each class each year based on funds
    availability.

    We have started this program at the bare minimum and as of now it is
    operating from Esudas home. In the future we hope to add the other
    rooms as the facility grows. Lord willing, it will contain a front room
    which would serve as an office. Behind that there would be a
    kitchen/dining hall for feeding the children. And along side of those
    two rooms a classroom would serve as classroom/library. A possible
    fourth room could be located above the first floor which would be an
    open room to house boys, or it could be placed behind the
    kitchen/dining hall. It is important to note, feeding students is a
    custom in India. It would be equivalent to a school in America not
    having a cafeteria. The school cannot exist without feeding the
    children.

    For now we have started this project in my house by constructing two
    temporary rooms where he purchased some land by the side of his home.
    This school has been made possible only by the generous contributions
    of my' supporters. This school will not continue to exist without
    support. It is beyond the financial capabilities of the lower caste
    people to sustain this facility. I needs continual support in order to
    maintain this work. If you would like to be a part of this work and
    help the poor children of India in this area receive a basic education,
    We need your praters.

    Thank You for your interest.

    www.churchofchristindia.com

    Two Million Minutes: A Global Examination, Robert Compton on C-SPAN

    <ed.note>Note: 1) China and India DO NOT emphasize junior high and high school athletics (because the chances that that will bring one out of poverty are amazingly low). 2) When a child shows an aptitude for a subject the parents hire a tutor (FWIW: South Korea sometimes hires from the States and Skylake Incuvest, a South Korean investment fund specializing in the technology sector, thinks there's money to be made here). Wouldn't it be weird if the US (the parents thereof) ACTUALLY valued STEM education (instead of just the politically correct rhetorizing about it)? Think of the boon a combined fiber and distributed clean energy generation smart grid build out model could be for rural economies and what a platform for virtual tutoring that eco friendly grid could be? BTW: I admin Project Net-Work Group on Linkedin.com — invite here if you're about more than lip service.</ed.note>

    Text from C-SPAN, links mine: Robert Compton talked about his documentary Two Million Minutes: A Global Examination (Youtube Trailer here),
    which compares and contrasts the education experiences of six students;
    two from each of the countries of India, China, and the United States.
    Video clips were shown as he talked about the statistics on the amount
    of time spent in the classroom, the influence of the students' parents
    on their decisions to pursue a certain career, and the degree to which
    those choices impact their free time during their high school years.
    Two million minutes is roughly four years, the amount of time high
    school students have to prepare for higher education and their careers.
    Mr. Compton talked about the importance of education to competing in
    the new global economy and that people in other countries took it much
    more seriously. He said that although many middle and high schools were
    using his video, schools of education had rejected any need to learn
    about the educational systems in competing countries.

    Venture capitalist Robert Compton's travels to India in 2005 and
    2006 laid the groundwork for his decisions to author a blog, publish a
    book called Blogging Through India, and produce the documentary.

    The Problem with Living Sacrifices Is that They Keep Trying to Climb Down off of the Altar

    Saul (Paul) of Tarsus to the congregation at Rome (mp3)

    Romans in a nutshell:

    On the one hand,

    Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith. For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members don't have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us, if prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith; or service, let us give ourselves to service; or he who teaches, to his teaching; or he who exhorts, to his exhorting: he who gives, let him do it with liberality; he who rules, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

    Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good. In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate one to another; in honor preferring one another; not lagging in diligence; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; enduring in troubles; continuing steadfastly in prayer; contributing to the needs of the saints; given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless, and don't curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Don't set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Don't be wise in your own conceits. Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is honorable in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men. (12:1-18)

    yet on the other

    For I delight in God's law after the inward man, but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will deliver me out of the body of this death?(7:22-24)

    while

    …it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy.(9:17)

    Fortunately

    …God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.(5:8)

    and

    Now it was not written that [righteousness] was accounted to [Abraham] for his sake alone, but for our sake also, to whom it will be accounted, who believe in him who raised Jesus, our Lord, from the dead, who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification.

    Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.(4:23-5:2)

    Reply to Susanna Dodgson RE: Broadband Build Out in Nigeria

    over at http://vcafrica.ning.com/

    Her post:

    This is all great, but the hurdles are still huge. I went to a
    Corporate Council on Africa Health Forum in November and was listening
    to a talk by a South African CEO of a pharmaceutical company. He said
    something astounding: he refuses ever to pay a bribe anywhere. This is
    the first time I have heard this said and it is exciting.

    What has this to do with highspeed internet in Nigeria? Everything.
    This is a country with daily power outages (and the power company
    employees demand bribes to provide even sporadic power, at least that
    was what I saw in BAV studios where I work in Surulere); a country when
    even canned tomatoes has to be imported (and Nigerian food has tomatoes
    in everything). Given that back-drop, is high-speed internet somehow
    avoiding all payment of bribes, avoiding corruption? I desperately want
    the answer to be yes. http://mjota.org.

    My reply:

    Technologically, of course, the answer is easy. WiMax and solar energy vendors should team up to build out the grid. One could avoid the ground by using blimps, drones, etc. RE: Bribes seen as a fee-for-service where there is no other meaningful industry exists, well, that's a catch-22. Broadband could bring knowledge work (if global employers would learn to pay for something other than butts-in-seats, i.e. driving into a plant in order to post on a wiki or write software {see Results-Only Work Environments at your local search engine}). Bribes purely for sloth, well, that's a theological problem, which, ironically, broadband could help (at least in delivering seminary curricula). The one anti-corruption benefit of broadband is the enabling wiki-eske ability to create "walls of shame" near real-time — both of the ones perpetrating the corruption — and of the law enforcement officials for not prosecuting them (in those cases where the actors aren't the same people). XBRL was just mandated yesterday in the US for firms over 5 billion — so getting to underlying data is at least theoretically going to be easier. Wish I had more optimistic answers.