Great Communion Celebration invite to the West End Church of Christ, 4 p.m., October 4, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ in Middle Tennessee,

200 years ago Thomas Campbell was a lone voice crying out in the wilderness, calling for the unity of believers based on the commitment to Jesus Christ shared by all Christians. He decried the divisions that separated believers and reminded them of God’s gift of One Church. The fall of 1809 saw the publication of this clarion call in the form of his Declaration and Address; a breathtaking vision of Christians loving, worshipping and serving together in every locality-allowing the Spirit of Christ to form themselves into humble servants. That call eventually led to the formation of what has been known as the Restoration or Stone-Campbell Movement, a fellowship of people and congregations comprised of the Christian Churches, Churches of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Today that early vision of Christian Unity is one for which increasing numbers of believers long and is a major thrust of movements all across Christianity. A reappropriation of the spirit of the Declaration and Address in the churches of the Stone-Campbell Movement may be one of the richest contributions we can make to the emerging world of Christianity – and a gift we can give ourselves!

In celebration of the bicentennial of Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address Christians all over the world are gathering around the Table to share the Lord’s Supper – which Campbell called that great ordinance of Unity and Love – on Sunday October 4, 2009. The name given to this celebration is Great Communion in recognition of our Movement’s belief in the centrality of the Lord’s Supper, the place where we demonstrate our greatest unity. For more information on Great Communion go to www.greatcommunion.org Here you will find a host of downloadable resources for use in the local congregation.

In Middle Tennessee Christians of the Stone-Campbell Movement are invited to share in their heritage and be a part of a new call to Christian Unity by gathering for a Great Communion Celebration at 4 p.m. on October 4, 2009 at West End Church of Christ, 3534 West End Ave, Nashville. The service will feature brief messages by David Fleer and John York, a Unity Choir, and fellowship to follow. The central focus of the day will be a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. 

For more information or to participate in the Unity Choir contact the office of World Convention at 615-331-1824 or email at worldconv@aol.com 

The Nashville Area Great Communion Planning Task Force 

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.

    Kevan Peer Update

    Hey Family!

    Thanks to those of you who prayed about the elder / deacon sessions, and followed it up to ask about it all.

    Turns out I had the date incorrect. I had only copied part of it off a church's bulletin board. It was not "1", but "15"! So, there are still chances to pray. And please do. Perhaps you can ask our Congregation there to pray for the unity efforts in Tennessee this week. So, it is this coming Saturday!

    The E Main St CoC is one of the older Congregations here in my area of middle TN, and even had Pres. Garfield preach there once back in the 1860's! Pres. Garfield is one of 4 US Presidents to be affiliated with our Brotherhood. E Main has taken up hosting Elder / Deacon / leader "lectureships" one Saturday each Summer, and usually the topic deals with a focus on those areas.

    For the last 30 years, all 3 streams / aspects of the RM / SCM have been trying to understand what went wrong, that a "unity" movement could not hold it together. Many have tried differing methods without establishing the ground work of a Biblical framework to allow such. And since it was not part of a Biblical hermeneutic, several left to start more conservative or liberal wings, or just left, in part due to the inconsistencies.

    And our a cappella aspect has seen this even moreso, with there now being 26 different "sects" within that tradition of our Brotherhood. Those 26 align into 6 camps who cannot work and worship together. The result for them is not only do they say the CC / DoC are not the "true Church", but they also say the CoC up the street is not the "true CoC". The world looks at that and says, "why bother going there, I can find that anywhere!" And so the CoC's have been losing members steadily since the 1980's at least. (So have the DoC's as well as the CC's until the 1990's when we started turning things around, yet in some areas, we are still losing members — just like other old school faith groups. That is one of the hopeful dynamics of returning to the Matthew 28 Approach to Scripture, that it allows us to use many of the "Emergent" trends [not so much Emerging school] which embrace much of what this generation seeks from community, and what our Brotherhood started out doing in the first place.)

    Seeing their situation as needing remedying, the CoC's have returned in many recent "lectureships" to deal with what they feel are the key issues, the "elementary teachings" of (Heb. 6). So, this lectureship focuses on what the see as key components of their return to their "foundations". The 2 doctrines in question are:

    1) 1st AM session – the "Doctrine Of Authority" (known as RPW by most Reformed Church faith groups). It suggests that the way to approach the Scriptures is to see that we "do not add to" or "subtract from" the Scriptures, Further, that if you "go beyond", then you have sinned. I say this so-called doctrine is "DOA"! ha!

    Tied strongly to that approach is their view on Biblical silences.

    2) 2nd AM session – the "Doctrine Of Silence Forbidding". This is sometimes used by Reformed Church faith groups, but usually in a lesser formulaic version. The CoC version states that if the Bible says nothing about a topic and you do it, it is a sin. Our brothers limit it, as did Calvin (the man creditied with the origination of this approach to Scripture) to the work and worship of the Church. The Amish do not so limit it saying "all of life should be worship anyway", and so apply it to all of life. The Mennonites do similarly (e.g., rejecting zippers on clothing saying they did not have them in Bible days). And the Primitive Baptists apply it to worship in restriction on things like not have central heat or air in their worship buildings since forced air systems were not available in Bible days. The Baptists in using these doctrines are now 300+ separate denominations! We are fortunate that by God's grace we are simply 3. And it has been God's grace that He is allowing us to learn how to become one again, and in so doing, be a witness to what God can do, when we let Him lead. And since this false doctrine is used so widely, once our Brotherhood is into this a few years, we can start using what God has helped us with, to help them leave this false gospel as well.

    Fewer than 10% of these 450+ Congregations that I now visit are on this program. And it seems to take about 7 years to rid our lives of the old leaven, and then it just becomes part of the normal 7 year cycle of congregational regeneration that many of you are already using. For example, in our aspect of the Brotherhood, we used to teach, "well, we do so and so because the early Church did so and so". That was a generalization, but in the details, it is false. We used the doctrine of "CENI" (Command, Example, and necessary Inference) to say something was "authorized" or okay to do in all situations. And we said if the Bible specified one way to do something, then there was only one way to do it. (The more restrictive CoC's would say and if more than one way is specified, that does not authorize any method, but all those methods are thereby "authorized".) Another way our aspect uses this approach to the Scriptures is through "pattern theology" (quick note – in the OT, the "pattern" was seen to be physical, but in the NT, when speaking of the NC's "pattern", it is always Personal! – wow, now is that not what this generation cries out for – relationship!).

    So, again, those 2 doctrines:

    1) "Authority" is dead on arrival since Jesus, Whom the Scriptures testify was sinless, did not obey it. The early Church did not obey it. God did not obey it. And in fact, we find Jesus doing the opposite, in "going beyond" (often touted as the NT proof text that "authority" is required and that "silence forbids", but in reality is a misapplication of 1 Cor. 4:6, which actually refers back to 1:31).

    2) While I can disprove "silence forbids" with one Scripture (Jn. 12:48), they likely will not be satisfied unless I first disprove about 50 false scenarios. One classic scenario used is Moses in bringing water from the rock the 2nd time, strikes the rock. They take a quick look and say, "see, he added to God's command, and that was why Moses did not get into the Promised Land in his lifetime. Is that what Scripture says, or have our brothers "added to" Scripture in order to say that? This so-called doctrine says that if the Bible does not command it or even mention it at all, and you do it (again, limited to those two areas concerning the work and worship of the Church – which is why they allow a piano in their homes, but not in their Church's building – it tends towards compartmentalization of life), then it is a sin. (Heb. 7's) Melchizedek / priest not specified from Judah, or (Acts 15's) "we gave no such command" are often trotted out as proof texts for this. sample conundrum they would suggest is "can you have watermelon as part of the Lord's Supper to represent His fleshy Body?". 

    Oh, for those of you who wish to study this last topic in depth, an a cappella CoC brother, Al Maxey, has written about this weekly for 15 years now. He recently debated online a brother from a restrictive CoC preacher training institute, Memphis School of Preaching as to whether all the NT is "pattern" or the "NT contains pattern". You can find the archives of both online at http://www.Zianet.com/Maxey. (He is very close to my statement that "Silence does not exclude. Stating that something must be done that way and only that way excludes".) That should be interesting reading for any of our brothers who cling to "patternism". You can contact him. You can subscribe to his weekly e-letter. Either way, please thank him for his work.

    It has taken me years of study to try and sort out the sense from the nonsense.

    Since our aspects have been apart for so long, we have developed key jargon terms that have weighted meaning distinct from their normal sense meanings.And while& I may be close to being an expert in this translating of our traditions, I am not perfect. And since I work to support this outreach, I will not have lots of time to spend in preparation, but I tend to have Saturday free, so I am trying to do that.

    And so, with about one week left until this next opportunity for our Brotherhood to find healing, I continue to ask for your prayers:

    – that an opportunity will be granted to present questions to the gathered brothers,

    – that God's Spirit will prepare our hearts to hear His Voice over tradition's,

    – that I will be given the words to heal and they the ears to hear,

    – that I will serve in meekness and humility,

    – that God will help His Word not to return to Him void, but to accomplish Its mission.

    Please feel free to come if you live locally, the more the merrier.

    Registration in Murfreesboro, TN starts at 8 AM. Maybe you can ask a question or two as well. And if you have insight into any of this and wish to share it, feel free to forward that to my attention. And please pray. Thanks!

    Master, we believe You are not the author of confusion. Thank You for helping us start to recognize that old trickster up to his worst again, encouraging us to promote a false gospel in place of freedom in Christ. Thank You for allowing our Brotherhood the opportunity to embrace Your commands as repeated by Your Apostles and to use that to energize Your One Church. Thank You for praying for us to share in Your Oneness, and please give us the courage to do so, being Your bondservants. Help us always to be to the praise of Your glory! In Jesus' Name, amen.

    In HIS love,

    kevan peer, a servant 615.481.4503

    "for it does not yet appear, what we shall be"

    http://RestorationMovement.Bravehost.com

    Linux 4 Christians and Interpreting God’s Will

    Someone on the listserv asked:

    God's Word…Is it to be interpreted as it is or by some other means?

    Others responded:

    > It is impossible to interpret anything without bringing your own bias. Since I am not God, and can not completely understand his mind (it's much bigger than mine) I can only hope to interpret it with his help – which normally means leaning on the wisdom of others much wiser than me.

    and others:

    > This is what God gives us the Holy Spirit for:
    > http://bible.cc/john/14-26.htm

    My take (with some edits for clarity):

    Well, to put a fine point on it – this says that that is what the Holy
    Spirit is for – for the Apostles. To apply the same function to
    today's disciples is an act of interpretation (inference) – which was
    Taz's question in the first place. (BTW, I do make that inference –
    but I realize it is an inference and not in the original context). Taz's question is probably "why  do you feel comfortable or think it proper to make that kind of inference?"

    In Samuel, revelation came thru dreams, priests (Ephod/Urim and
    Thummim), and the similar "lots", and prophets ("burdens" or prophecies/proclamations). In Genesis and the
    gospels it came by angels, personal visitation by God (or the angel
    of God), signs, dreams, and the act of blessing or cursing. Judges had wet
    fleeces, etc. The Psalms record
    David's fascination with thunderstorms as epiphanies. There are probably others I'm missing.

    In the NT, you've got Paul telling us the "writings" were valuable in
    Rom 15:4 (and the parallel to Timothy {2 Tim. 3:16 ff}). Of course, in the LXX at that
    time there were the Apocryphal books included as well (and I would
    argue there is no way to know how much influence the Pseudepigrapha
    had in shaping the messianic concepts and expectations); Peter had
    dreams, Paul had a vision, apostles were chosen by lots, three had a transfiguration revelation, John the Immerser had a "dove' and a voice, the Holy
    Spirit spoke directly to Phillip, there was the "Joel fulfillment" in
    Acts 2:17, etc. Angels aplenty here, too (Elizabeth, Mary,  shepherds, disciples at the tomb, etc.)

    Most church traditions today are based on the acceptance or rejection
    of early church fathers' interpretations (whom they don't read
    directly) and/or councils, and later 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st
    century commentary writers; and most are ignorant of this — and
    loathe to admit it when they are informed.

    FWIW: Paul said during his day that "For everything that was written
    in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the
    encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." I infer this to
    apply to me. I pray to the Father that the Holy Spirit will discipline
    and correct me. And another inference from Paul is that he assumes a
    disciple will be somehow connected with a congregation (and by
    extension, the leaders and teachers God provides thru them).

    Other folks may argue some other path but God blessed me with an
    analytical mind and I can usually spot a whole the size of a truck in
    their logic. Me seeing it and being able to point it out to them
    persuasive — well, those are two different things.

    Bonus: It is a good practice to
    talk to missionaries and ask what theological "things" they've learned
    by the questions asked of the biblical text by their fellow disciples
    in these congregations which differ from those asked by the "Western
    world".

    Note: Paul's end game was "courage". The "hope" was the necessary foundation (resulting from trusting God to act in the future as He had/has in the past — called "faith" in "churcheze") to produce "courage" so that Christians should do good works in thanks and praise to God — even if — and especially in — the face of opposition.

    In short: Persevere in compassion and excellence toward others empowered by the hope and courage produced by faith in the God whose compassion and "steadfast loving-kindness" provided|provides a Messiah for us in our time of need — even in , especially in, the face of opposition.

    The Fund for Global Environment and Conflict Resolution Call for Proposals

    Overview of The Fund

    The Fund for Global Environment and Conflict Resolution (The Fund) is the result of a partnership between Columbia University Center for International Conflict Resolution, School of International & Public Affairs and the Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea of the Italian government. Over a period of three years, The Fund will provide support for research, teaching and fellowships. Thanks to The Fund, CICR will promote research conducted by prominent scholars at Columbia University, in Italy and in other countries relating to the issue of the global environment and conflict resolution.

    The Fund has three major focus areas. First, it will look at the relationships between sustainable development and post-conflict issues in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Peru and Colombia—areas where the Italian Ministry has ongoing activities. Second, the research will focus on the prevention of potential conflicts over natural resources, paying particular attention to China, the Middle East and North Africa. Third, the research will focus on the relationship between climate change and international security. The Fund will also provide opportunities for fellowships and scholarships to scholars and students interested in these areas.

    Candidates must be from Italy, the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Peru, Colombia, China, the Middle East, and/or North Africa and/or be at Columbia University. Exceptions to this will be made on a case-by-case basis where the researcher in question has demonstrated excellence or expertise in one of the above fields or case-studies in a way not met by the other candidates.

    Call for Proposals

    The Fund for the Global Environment and Conflict Resolution at CICR would like to invite all interested applicants to submit proposals for research before June 30. Proposals should look generally at the Environment-Conflict nexus and specifically be related to one of the following areas of interest:

    1. Researching the prevention and control of potential conflict in the use of natural resources with particular reference to China, Middle East and North Africa. Paying particular attention, where possible, to afforestation/reforestation land use efforts in China or the impact of economic development as a direct result of renewable energy projects as an impetus to security and stability in Northern African regions.

    2. Researching environmental solutions and sustainable development policies in conflict and post-conflict areas, based on the ongoing activities of the Italian Ministry in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Peru and Colombia as case studies. Areas of research might also look into illicit land use for drug trade and terrorist efforts. Paying attention, where possible, to endeavors underway in Iraq, the Republic of Serbia, the Republic of Montenegro and the Amazonas region of Peru and Caribbean coasts of Colombia.

    3. Researching climate change and its relationship to international security as a whole with regards to water scarcity and food security.  Paying particular attention, where possible, to researching the consequences of the current worldwide financial credit crisis sand how this impacts security as a whole in both developed and developing/emerging markets as climate change adaptation forces transnational border trade and migration. Paying attention, where possible to climate change phenomena and water scarcity.

    The research should be problem driven and available, upon completion for wide dissemination in the form of policy papers, through books, journal publications, conferences and seminars both at Columbia University and in relation to avenues linked to the Italian Government.

    Applications

    1. Applications should include a cover letter stating the reasons for applying The Fund.
    2. A CV detailing all education, work experience and publications.
    3. One letter of recommendation
    4. A Research Proposal of no more than ten pages, including:
        a) Executive Summary
        b) Project Description/Field-work outline
        c) Rationale
        d) Objectives
        e) Outputs/Outcomes
        f) Challenges
        g) Budget

    CICR is able to provide support for research proposals of around $10,000 per project and two to four proposals will be awarded funding. However, exact amounts to be provided will be decided by the selection committee; all decisions are final.

    Candidates shall be hired as Consultants, or given Honorariums, depending on the specific tasks decided upon. Timeframes and financial compensation will be decided upon on a case-by-case basis. CICR cannot provide office space but will provide access to libraries on Columbia University campus.

    All applications should be sent to Josie Lianna Kaye at cicrapplications@columbia.edu on or before 30 June.

    Kevan Peer: Campbell-Stone Churches Respond to Tornadoes

    Good Morning, mid-state Family,

    Most of this will detail how we can dovetail into what our Sister a cappella
    Churches of Christ are already doing. I have asked our IDES ministry to
    partner with them, but that approval takes time, and I have not heard if they
    will. And the Disciples group, "Week of Compassion" is also expected to
    contribute in some form, but again, they are a committee type organization,
    and it has not been determined how, or if they will help.

    At this point, here is what I know.

    Scene:

    After hitting Arkansas the night before with similar results,
    the tornado hit M'boro, TN. on Good Friday :
    1 tornado,
    2 killed,
    15 mile long path of destruction,
    30 homes demolished,
    100+ injured,
    519 structures in all were damaged (Bldg & Codes Dept report Sunday),
    1000's without water & power as of Saturday,
    many people had to stay elsewhere temporarily due to lack of utilities,
    damage estimates continue to rise.

    Here is the AOL report:
    http://news.aol.com/article/tornado-kills-2-in-tennessee/398528
    their pics http://news.aol.com/article/tornado-kills-2-in-tennessee/398528
    Here are photos of a local church helping in initial clean-up:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/37313167@N04/sets/72157616595940117

    In terms of our Churches, I am still receiving reports, but so far:
    1 family staying elsewhere due to utilities being down,
    2 families with some damage,
    14 families had significant enough damage that they had to move out,
    2 families lost their entire homes,
    and all 3 streams of the Restoration Movement were affected.
    Accordingly, all 3 are helping in recovery attempts.

    The Churches of Christ delivered their 1st truck Saturday, and will have
    another tractor trailer Wednesday. The Christian Churches are looking to
    partner with the CoCDRE in this part of the recovery effort. And the Disciples
    of Christ are looking at an additional partnering, but have not come up with
    a formal plan yet (typical committee boards type of process).

    In my Church / State cooperation role, part of what I do as ambassador
    for our Churches, I serve on the Murfreesboro Mayor's Disaster Preparedness
    Task Force. While that coordinates all the official responses and procedures
    for such events, my task is simply to help coordinate efforts with our Churches.

    While some in our Congregations are not comfortable with "mutual efforts"
    or "cooperative ventures", there are other options listed here as well, so feel free
    to plug-in anywhere in this matrix.

    And, as always, thanks for your efforts for our Lord in your part of His Vineyard.

    Below, I have listed 6 ways you can participate, set under 4 "Office" headings.

    In HIS love,

    kevan peer, a servant

    (615)481-4503

    "for it does not yet appear, what we shall be"

    http://RestorationMovement.Bravehost.com

    Church Offices

    (A) In addition to giving funds earmarked for recovery efforts to your local
    Congregation, we also have 1 major coordinated effort going on
    already for you to plug into in M'boro, and 1 just starting to come together:

    (B) Church of Christ Disaster Relief Effort (CoCDRE)
    is providing food boxes, cleaning supplies, yard hand tools
    being distributed through 2 local Congregations:

    1)
    Kingwood Heights Church of Christ (starting last Saturday, Apr. 11, 2009)
    115 E. MTCS Rd (off Memorial Blvd. across from the school – MTCS)
    Murfreesboro, TN. 37129
    (615)893-8618
    http://www.KingwoodHeights.com/
    Elder (Shepherd) in charge – Doug Hutchins
    Supplies distributed through the back side of the building in their
    fellowship hall. They are open 8 AM to 9 PM and expect to have
    to be there through Friday. They anticipate receiving another
    truckload Thursday, and may need help unloading, but say they
    are staffed for the regular ongoing efforts well enough.

    They are also providing some meals through their kitchen. A Church team
    out of Florida is doing the cooking! A second Church group out of Florida
    is asking if they can come help. This "Disaster Response Team"
    will help with the clean-up efforts ongoing, and especially Saturday.

    They, along with several other agencies, also have clothing if needed.

    2)
    Franklin Rd Church of Christ (starting Wednesday, Apr. 15, 2009)
    3700 Franklin Rd.
    Murfreesboro, TN. 37133
    (615)895-7955
    http://www.FranklinRoad.net/
    Minister – bro. Clyde Franklin
    Elders – bro. Greg Daniels and bro. Fred Gaston

    They will also distribute starting Wednesday, but the times are not
    yet known to me.

    Our folk can come help the CoCDRE as they again pack boxes this
    Tuesday at 10 AM there near Thompson Ln., right off Nolensville Rd (behind
    Whitt's BBQ), on 410 Allied Drive, Nashville, TN. 37211. Their number is
    (615)83-0888. Packing a set of boxes should take about 2 hours and they
    will even offer you a lunch for helping out there!

    (C) Also, I have heard that T Harville is organizing the clean up and move out at
    Diane and Ben Austin’s house. His number is 427-3606. In a few days we will
    have to move everything out of their house.

    Mayor's Office

    They are coordinating volunteers through this phone number (615)890-1934.

    Saturday, the police will allow volunteers into the affected areas
    past the barricades to help in the clean-up efforts. Presently, a pass must
    be issued for entrance if you are not a local resident in that neighborhood.

    You can call, leave your name and number, and they will call you back when
    they have the plans and locations lined-up for volunteers.

    They are also coordinating things with the Governor's Office and TEMA.

    That number is also good for those seeking help. (615)890-1934.

    Red Cross Office
    (615)893-4272, provides humanitarian aid in these situations.
    there are two other agencies who will also try to provide spiritual assistance.
    The M'boro Salvation Army (615)895-7071,
    and Greenhouse Ministries (615)494-0499,
    are providing assistance, and will all welcome your contributions.

    Greenhouse may be collecting furniture and appliances again as they did for
    Katrina victims a while back.

    The Highest Office
    We ask that you not only remember in prayer those of our own who have suffered
    loss, but also those of the community – both those who suffered loss, and those
    who will see our incarnation of Messiah's ministry into their lives.

    And pray that God will use this to His glory. CS Lewis said, "God whispers to
    us in our pleasures, but He shouts to us in our pains." God has already taught us
    that when we are one, He will receive glory, and this is one way we can express
    that oneness through meeting fellow human beings' needs.

    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

    Repentance, Prayer and Stimulus Packages

    <ed.note>Listening to President Obama’s Stimulus Package speech recently it struck me how fickle as citizens we are. It is so difficult for politicians to be leaders if we are not willing to be lead. I’ve often said that we have a crisis of leadership brought on by the crisis of followership. One of the toughest jobs for a leader is to point out the need for repentance. Obama broached the subject that we, as consumers — not just the bank leadership,  have acted imprudently and for that I’m grateful. It brought to mind the time of Solomon’s Prayer of the Dedication for the Temple of Yahweh. In a nutshell, he acknowledged that the people would walk willing into sin and begged God that when they had turned back to Him that He would hear their prayers. The people of Israel had pretty much the same challenges* as we do today. I’d urge us to learn from their experience and pray for our leaders and for each other — as well as those in other nations.</ed.note>

    *A summary list (of the Second Chronicles account) I found on a site I googled by a Paul J. Bucknell:

    1) Sin against a neighbor (6:22-23)
    2) Defeated before an enemy because of sin (6:24-25)
    3) No rain because of sin (6:26-27)
    4) Famine, pestilence, blight, mildew, locust, grasshopper, enemies, whatever plague or sickness (6:28-31)
    5) For God-fearing foreigner who pray (6:32-33)
    6) Wage war against enemy (6:34-35)
    7) When they sin and taken captive (6:36-39)

    Ignacio Valdes: Call for ban on Federal Money for proprietary EMR’s, Open Letter to Don Detmer

    From the American Medical Informatics Association Open Source Working Group Listserv:

    I am calling for an amendment/ban on the expenditure of any federal money for the purpose of purchasing proprietary Electronic Medical Record software. I am calling for an amendment to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that states that any federal money for the purpose of purchasing of Electronic Medical Record software must be licensed under the Affero General Public License.

    Why? The taxpayer is going to be soaked at least twice if the money is used to purchase proprietary EMR software. All those billions expended will create a huge, expensive, proprietary mess that has very weak provisions for privacy and security. Certification and the current law does not address at all software sustainability.  This could easily result in a proprietary cartel or monopoly at great expense that stifles innovation and does not achieve shared objectives of large scale improvement of healthcare quality and reduction of expense.

    Current proprietary vendors need not go out of business. They are free to dual-license their current software with both Affero GPL and proprietary licenses. I am aware that current proprietary vendors will fight or water down attempts to ban federal money for proprietary/Non-Affero GPL licensed systems for many reasons, mostly selfish ones. Specifically that proprietary licensing shields them from real competition and threatens their proprietary business models that create instant mini-monopolies, and stifle innovation at everyone's expense.

    I hope you and AMIA will join me in this effort for I know not the way to get the politicians to make wise use of your tax dollars.

    — IV

    # # # #

    Open Letter to Don Detmer

    Dear Doctor Detmer,

    Thanks for your efforts on our behalf. This is an open letter to you that I am posting to the AMIA Open Source Working Group list.

    Unfortunately it seems that crucial and difficult decisions remain unmade in this legislation and make this massive spending have little guarantee of a high-performance, secure, Health IT infrastructure.
    This legislation seems to be mostly saying to just do more of the same failed plans only this time throw massive amounts of money at the problem in an un-sustainable way. Further, it does so in ways that do not guarantee rights of patients and practitioners or guarantee privacy, safety and security. We can argue these statements but at the end of the day if medicine is practiced with proprietary EMR software, no one except proprietary vendors can really know if our medical data is garbage and our privacy, safety or security is guaranteed. Trusting our medical data, privacy, safety and security to proprietary vendor 'black box' software is not a risk I wish to take with anyone's money, much less the taxpayers.

    I call on you and AMIA to ask lawmakers for a ban on any federal funding for the purchase of proprietary licensed Electronic Medical Record software and to only fund software that is licensed with the Affero General Public License version 3 (AGPL) as published by the Free Software Foundation. Other Free/Open Source licenses, while laudable, suffer from inadequacies that are not a good fit for medicine. Proprietary Electronic Medical Record software is bad for everyone, including the vendors. AGPL software makes what everyone wants: a high-performance health information infrastructure that safeguards privacy and security possible. Proprietary EMR software is a major impediment to those shared goals.  Existing vendors need not go out of business, they can dual-license their proprietary offerings under the AGPL to receive federal funding.

    This is not something that we can compromise on. If federal funds can be used to purchase proprietary EMR's, it will only exacerbate the current problems, have a high possibility of failure, and will not secure the performance, privacy and security that is desired by all. Worse, without a ban on federal funds for proprietary EMR software it will make the taxpayer pay multiple times for essentially the same thing. It will make the nation and its practitioners renters of its software infrastructure that they have paid top-dollar for and that is generally speaking, un-examined and un-examinable by the public or 3rd parties for fitness, performance, privacy and security.

    I am aware that the ARRA of 2009 contains a provision for studying Free/Open Source. I do not want public rights to software dearly paid for by the taxpayer to be decided solely on the basis of a study or studies. No study and certainly not one done in one or two years can adequately decide the real question which is should our Health IT infrastructure purchased by taxpayers be a public good like a lighthouse (which it is) or a private good like cars or furniture (which it is not). No study can decide whether we live in a society in which patients and practitioners retain rights and freedoms to the Health IT infrastructure of the nation that the public purchased or whether we become controlled by an expensive, unresponsive cartel or monopoly full of 'black-box medicine' with our own money.

    Dr. Detmer, I call upon you, AMIA, our lawmakers and our nation to make a stand now for wise use of taxpayer money, a stand for rights and freedom that will ensure that a high-performance, privacy and security safeguarding health IT infrastructure can occur now and for future generations. This can only be done by banning federal funding for proprietary EMR software and mandating that all federally funded EMR software purchases be licensed with the Affero General Public License version 3.

    Sincerely,

    Ignacio Valdes, MD, MS
    Chair AMIA Open Source Working Group