Archive for July, 2011

Shadow Dancing

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Matthew 11: 16-17 “. . . to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, ‘We piped to you and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’”

Listen . . . Can you hear the sound of music? Can you hear the children laughing? Can you hear the cries of grief and despair?

Someone stole a necklace from our Ilula Orphan Program display at the Pike County Fair. We emphasized that the proceeds from the sale of the African handcrafted memorabilia were to benefit HIV Aids orphans. Pure religion is enacted by caring for orphans and widows. Jesus indicated that as you do not help the least of people you have no part of him. Some people dance to a different tune. The price of the necklace was made up by a volunteer.

A misguided Norwegian assailant murdered 77 men, women, and children last week because of religious differences. Deliberate acts of killing innocent children along with a seemingly lack of remorse complicates our abilities to comprehend rationality for such atrocities as a just war or capital punishment. Where are those among us who cannot weep as the world wails? As you mistreat others you mistreat the Christ.

A former missionary to New Guinea explained that part of her mission service training involved in-depth study of tradition and religious culture. The God of the indigenous people just might be your God. Why can we not dance to the sound of the pipers? Can we hear the beat of pluralism in the drums? Those to whom Jesus was speaking could not hear the music either. The ways in which we withhold love and solidarity from others, we withhold it from Christ.

Can you hear the sound of the music? Some in this global village may be on the verge of shadow dancing.

Of course this text is intended to reflect a Pharisaical comparison of the emphatic teachings of John the Baptist with the compassionate instructions of Jesus. In the larger context, Jesus noticeably emphasizes love to all peoples regardless of religion, culture, and tradition.

How are you sharing faith with persons of other cultures and traditions?

How can Christians and persons of other religions be in mission together?

Is pluralism relevant in our global village?

How can Christians practice pluralism and be faithful to the gospel?

Minot Mission

Friday, July 29th, 2011

In response to an urgent priority appeal from Bishop Coyner, UMCOR, The Dakota Conference, and Faith UMC in Minot, North Dakota, we are planning a flood recovery work team to begin work in Minot, North Dakota on 15 August. 

The following information comes from Rev Debra Ball-Kilbourne pastor of flood ravaged Faith UMC in Minot:

 “Work teams are very much needed, particularly those who come self-contained because housing is at a premium. Schools, camps, churches were all impacted in this flood and there are no motel rooms–survivors are in them. However, we have a large farm in Max (somewhat close to Minot), owned by the Trustee Chair of Faith, where we have an open invitation to house self- contained teams working either on homes or our church. You would find it quite easy to commute to and from Max.

 Snow falls early in this part of the world and people will soon be ill from our flood conditions once cooler weather sets; please come as soon as possible, John. We have more than 4,000 homes and Faith Church that need to be gutted. Most teams come and work during the week days and travel on the week ends. Five days of hard work is about what a team can really do; but if you want to stay longer we will surely welcome you. Tetanus and Hepatitis A shots should be up-to-date before coming. Bring tools with you, such as hammers, crow bars, good, filtered masks, gloves (include surgical gloves to wear inside work gloves), work boots, and long pants. This is very dirty work.”

 We do have to be badged. There is a way to take an online course and get a temporary badge in order to work alongside someone that has been through the training.

 Pastors, please publicize this urgent mission appeal in your church newsletters and bulletins.

 If you are interested in serving on this flood recovery team please contact John Windell at or 812-499-3849 or 812-536-2332.