Simply Coping as a Calling

Vinoth’s words and words from friends are deep and touch the soul. ‘Honest grieving is your current vocation or your title Simply Coping is a Calling’. John Donne’s words are also deep and speak of someone who has walked through the valley of the shadow of death. Nicholas Wolterstorff’s words about helplessness and overcoming and the power of death but the last sentence speaks of the rawness and numbness and scars who overcame and will ultimately overcome this separation by death.

Thanks for your words about Karin and the testimony of those who attended her funeral just by their presence. That is the life of who Karin is and was, touching people all along the way. Receive a deep embrace from your friends in Bangkok.

This review is from: Midwife for Souls: Spiritual Care for the Dying (Paperback)
Midwife for Souls touched my three brothers and I deeply during the final days of our father’s life. We were introduced to this book by a Hospice Chaplain who gave us permission to ask any questions that we wanted to about what to expect in the days ahead from moving dad from hospital to hospice care. Her references to this book of what to expect were just what I needed to hear.

Kathy’s sensitivity, practical compassion and obvious calling to work with the dying was a source of deep strength and comfort to us all as we had not walked this way before. God used this book in helping us to address questions as a family that we do not normally talk about and to provide us with an environment of love and care to share our hearts.

Her practical insights from more than 20 years of experience helped us move from the unknown to the known in how to prepare ourselves for the uncertain days ahead of us not only with Dad but four other deaths of parents within a period of two years.

Midwife for Souls has been a constant resource for me as a Minister in walking with families who face the loss of a loved one both for those who profess faith and for those who do not. The sensitivity, prayer and comfort that Kathy offers in this book will help you and be a source of God’s care to you. God promises to walk with us through every situation and challenge that we face and He will be with you as well. Steve

Vinoth Ramachandra

My wife, Karin, fell asleep in Christ in the early hours of 6th May. Her funeral, two days later, was a celebration of a life lived fully and sacrificially.

Large numbers of people from all walks of life – the very poor as well as the very rich, the highly educated as well as the uneducated- turned up at the funeral home as well as the Anglican Cathedral in Colombo where the funeral service was held. It was a testament to the impact she has had on so many in this country. Not to mention the steady flow of emails and cards she received from all over the world before her death, and I have been receiving since.

Friends in London arranged a Thanksgiving Service for Karin a month later, at the church where we were married nearly twenty years ago. I repeated the tribute-homily I gave at the funeral…

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From Jerusalem to Timbuktu by Brian Stiller

Christianity started in Jerusalem. For many centuries it was concentrated in the West, in Europe and North America. But in the past century the church expanded rapidly across Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Thus Christianity’s geographic center of density is now in the West African country of Mali―in Timbuktu. What led to the church’s vibrant growth throughout the Global South? Brian Stiller identifies five key factors that have shaped the church, from a renewed openness to the move of the Holy Spirit to the empowerment of indigenous leadership. While in some areas Christianity is embattled and threatened, in many places it is flourishing as never before. Discover the surprising story of the global advance of the gospel. And be encouraged that Jesus’ witness continues to the ends of the earth.

From Jerusalem to Timbuktu is a must-read for anyone trying to understand Christianity in today’s world. Brian Stiller provides a practical explanation for the amazing growth of evangelical Christianity by identifying and unpacking five drivers of growth. His practical experience combined with exceptional research creates a powerful and informative read. After taking this ‘world tour’ on the growth of Christianity, you will be left asking . . . what will God do next?” (William M. Wilson, president, Oral Roberts University)

“While many authors have written ably on the shift of Christianity to the global South, Stiller offers a captivating personal story of remarkable connections with church leaders from all parts of the globe. His expansive vision for the Spirit, the Bible, indigenous Christianity, the public square, and a holistic gospel articulates a clear and hopeful direction for the future of Christianity.” (Todd M. Johnson, associate professor of global Christianity, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)

You can obtain from Amazon.

Love those who are foreigners in your land

Powerful article by Peter Randewijk.

Pursuit of Truth

I have been involved for several years with serving refugees in our country of Switzerland and have heard a lot of different opinions about what’s the right thing to do. Many people I work with tend to favor a welcoming approach towards the new arrivals while criticizing the strict Swiss immigration laws instituted by the Swiss Confederation. At the same time they do not want their monthly rents to increase or pay more taxes so the authorities can build new buildings to house refugees.

It’s complicated. It encouraged me to do some of my own research. How should a well thought-through biblical position on the current refugee crisis look like? It is a work in progress but here are some thoughts to start:

We need to love the foreigner in our land

We need to love the foreigner in our land. The Bible is overwhelmingly clear. The Hebrew word ‘ger’ (a guest; by…

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Buried For 780 Years

Powerful story indeed. May it happen again and again….. finding these threads throughout culture and the least likely places……

Encounters of Faith in Asia: Past, Present and Future

2015-10-25 13.53.19 It takes your breath away. It is stunning. For one man who has visited five times, he never fails to weep. Buried for 780 years, it is hard to imagine that it would ever see the light of day again. What is it? A 12 foot tall stone monument, called simply the Nestorian Stele. Housed in the Beilin Museum of the Chinese city of Xi’an along with many other treasures from the T’ang and other dynasties, the Stele is one of the most powerful evidences for the existence of Christianity in 7th century China.

2015-10-25 13.52.48 As I stood in front of this amazing artifact, first carved in 781, I wondered why it would not be one of the eight wonders of the world. It so clearly testifies to the existence along the Silk Road (of which Xi’an, then known as Chang’an, was the most eastern terminus) of various faiths, in this…

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Hidden in Plain Sight For Almost 1400 Years, Part 1

An amazing story and blog Steve Cochrane.

Encounters of Faith in Asia: Past, Present and Future

It was hidden in plain sight. For almost 1400 years, a leaning, frail looking tower-like structure had existed on a wind-swept hill. Fifty miles outside the Chinese city of Xian, the Da Qin pagoda is another living testament to the existence of Christianity in China in the 7th century. (For more on Xian and the Church of the East in China, see my two posts from November, Buried For 700 Years and What Else Lies Buried?)

A few weeks ago I trudged up a muddy path with a few colleagues, amazed that I was finally going to see the structure that many scholars believe was built by a group of Persian Church of the East missionaries. Led by a monk named Alopen, they had come to China along the Silk Road, arriving in the Xian (then called Chang’an) area in 635 C.E, the capital of the T’ang dynasty. (The…

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A World Beyond Trump: Hidden in Plain Sight for 1400 Years, Part 2

You can find this incredible story in a book, Jesus Sutras by Martin Palmer… a Must read…..

Encounters of Faith in Asia: Past, Present and Future

What does the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and 7th century Chinese Christianity have in common? Not much. Except the fact that there is a world beyond Trump, beyond the bombastic rhetoric and the chasms of fear and racism some of his comments have opened.

For many people living in the USA (Republicans included), Trump being the front-runner at this stage is nothing short of a disaster. For many people outside the country, his candidacy and remarks only confirms some of their worst fears about the United States. I am a political independent, and don’t know whether to be more astounded at some of the things he says, or the fact that he is still has so much support with the primaries about to begin.

But there is a world beyond Donald Trump. And beyond the political discourse and future of the United States. As there was in…

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Thoughts from Doug Balfour on what does Good News look like……

Doug Balfour's Blog

Isaiah 61 1-2 

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,isaiah-scroll-l

because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn”

I always loved this passage of scripture. This and the corollary when Jesus quotes it in the synagogue in Nazareth as he starts his ministry (Luke 4.18-19). I am a fairly pragmatic guy. My attitude on becoming a Christian was “ OK, tell me what to do and I’ll try and go do it!” But with so many different and differing preachers, writers, interpretations, traditions and streams it often seems so difficult to know what to believe and what is the priority! So it was with relief that I read this and thought- well…

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Holy Saturday – Waiting…… From NT Wright

They tried to keep Jesus safely dead then, and they try it still today. Again and again, when the newspapers or the radio stations want to talk about God, they ignore Jesus. We hear experts pro- claiming that science has disproved God — without realizing that the ‘god’ you could squeeze out of the picture by more and more scientific discoveries is not the God whom Christians worship. Our world is still full of the modern equivalents of high priests going to the governor to have a guard placed on the tomb — the sceptics appealing for help to the powerful. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.
Sometimes, though, we Christians need to observe a Holy Saturday moment. On Holy Saturday, there is nothing you can do except wait. The Christian faith suffers, apparently, great defeats. There are scandals and divisions, and the world looks on and loves it, like the crowds at the foot of the cross. When the Pope visited the United Kingdom in September 2010, he spent almost all his time talking about Jesus while the commentators in the media spent almost all their time talking about sex. And where the church, through its own fault, has caused scandal, a time of silence may be appropriate. But God will do what God will do, in God’s own time. The world can plot and plan, but all of that will count for nothing when the victory already won on the cross turns into the new sort of victory on the third day. In many parts of the western world today, the church is almost apologetic, afraid of being sneered at.
It looks as though the chief priests of our culture, the Pharisees in today’s media, and even the political leaders, have won. Give them their day to imagine that. It’s happened before and it will happen again. The Romans tried to stamp out the Christian faith once and for all at the end of the third century, but within a few years more than half the empire had converted and the new emperor gave in. Many people in England were sceptical about Christian faith after the religious turmoil of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but great revivals of various different sorts took place in the eighteenth and nineteenth. Who knows what will happen next, after the sneering and scheming of the sceptics of our day? Our part is to keep Holy Saturday in faith and hope, grieving over the ruin of the world that sent Jesus to his death, trusting in the promises of God that new life will come in his way and his time. And there is usually something to be done in the present, even when times are sad and hard.
It took considerable courage for Joseph of Arimathea to go to Pontius Pilate and ask for Jesus’ body. Peter and the others had run away to hide because they were afraid of being thought accomplices of Jesus. Joseph had no such qualms, even after Jesus’ death. Some of Jesus’ followers might well have thought that, if the Romans had crucified him, he can’t have been the Messiah, so he must have been a charlatan. They might willingly have let the Romans bury him in a common grave, as they usually did after a crucifixion (always supposing there was anything left to bury once dogs, birds and vermin had done their work). But Joseph didn’t see it that way. A clean linen cloth; the tomb he had prepared for himself; and the security of a great stone. It all had to be done in haste, with the sabbath approaching (that’s why the two Marys were watching, so they could go back on the first day of the new week to complete what should be done to the body). But what was done was done decently. Sometimes, as we work for and with Jesus, it may feel a bit like that. We aren’t sure why we’ve got to this place, why things aren’t going as we wanted or planned, and the life seems to have drained out of it all.
That’s a Holy Saturday moment. Do what has to be done, and wait for God to act in his own way and his own time.
TODAY Help us, gracious Lord, to wait for your victory, and in the mean- time to serve you in whatever way we can.