"Brian, you must work with man as God created man to be worked with..." said my uncle Wayne as he was trying to teach me how he works in the mission of God in India. The way we work with mankind reveals our "worldview" of mankind. Do we compartmentalize man into physical and spiritual parts as Paul Hiebert, an Anthropologist and Missions author, suggests? Do we seek to make "them" like "us" as paternalism demands? Do we "fix" man's problems with a little bit of "good old fashioned elbow grease and hard cash" as modernism is prone to attempt? Do we "accept" all points of view as equally valid as post-modernism is inclined to do? Do we give into "fatalism" as animistic worldviews assume that "really, we can do nothing"?
Holism has become an important word in our team's strategy. It attempts to address certain "blind spots" of older methodologies. This usually results - uncomfortably so - in a more complicated strategy. Yet, we believe holism expresses more closely a Christ-like strategy. It certainly recognizes the "way God made man".
"And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people."
(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson)
There are certainly "priorities" that need to be observed in working with man. But we ignore the reality of our created being at the peril of "superficial conversion". The fact is, we have a message as "Word" that speaks to "Whose God is true?". We have a message as "Sign" that shows "Whose God is more powerful?". We have a message as "Deed" that demonstrates "What works?" in this world that God created. And we have a message as "Life" that speaks to what we are to be in our "being". Against such, pagan religion pales in comparison.
"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made",
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson
Pictured: Uncle Wayne (Davis) - a fisher of men - teaching Noah and Bryson how to fish on our last furlough.